Illustration from the Roda Bible, c.1050-1100AD
The Early victories of Judas
10 Apollonius now gathered together Gentiles and a large force from Samaria to fight against Israel.
11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him, and he defeated and killed him.
Many were wounded and fell, and the rest fled.
12 Then they seized their spoils; and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and used it in battle the rest of his life.
13 When Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had gathered a large company, including a body of faithful soldiers who stayed with him and went out to battle,14 he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honour in the kingdom.
I will make war on Judas and his companions, who scorn the king’s command."
15 Once again a strong army of godless men went up with him to help him, to take vengeance on the Israelites.
16 When he approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company.
17 But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, “How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and so strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today."
18 Judas replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few.
19 It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven.
20 They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us;21 but we fight for our lives and our laws.
22 He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them."
23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly against Seron and his army, and they were crushed before him.
24 They pursued them down the descent of Beth-horon to the plain; eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Philistines.
25 Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and terror fell on the Gentiles all around them.
26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked of the battles of Judas.
(1 Maccabees 3:10-26)
Biblia Sancti Petri Rodensis. Ms Latin 6 (3) folio 144v
Battle between Judas Maccabeus and Apollonius (166BC)/Click for a large image.
Army of Antiochus V
Note the staff slings and crossbow.
The Campaign of Antiochus V & Lysias
28 The king was enraged when he heard this. He assembled all his Friends, the commanders of his forces and those in authority.
29 Mercenary forces also came to him from other kingdoms and from islands of the seas.
30 The number of his forces was one hundred thousand foot-soldiers, twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants accustomed to war.
31 They came through Idumea and encamped against Beth-zur, and for many days they fought and built engines of war; but the Jews sallied out and burned these with fire, and fought courageously.
32 Then Judas marched away from the citadel and encamped at Beth-zechariah, opposite the camp of the king.
33 Early in the morning the king set out and took his army by a forced march along the road to Beth-zechariah, and his troops made ready for battle and sounded their trumpets.
34 They offered the elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries, to arouse them for battle.
35 They distributed the animals among the phalanxes; with each elephant they stationed a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and with brass helmets on their heads; and five hundred picked horsemen were assigned to each beast.
36 These took their position beforehand wherever the animal was; wherever it went, they went with it, and they never left it.
37 On the elephants were wooden towers, strong and covered; they were fastened on each animal by special harness, and on each were four armed men who fought from there, and also its Indian driver.
38 The rest of the cavalry were stationed on either side, on the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy while being themselves protected by the phalanxes.
39 When the sun shone on the shields of gold and brass, the hills were ablaze with them and gleamed like flaming torches.
(1 Maccabees 6:28-39)
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