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ATHRONGES:

Leader of the Jews during the insurrection under Archelaus (4 B.C.—6 C. E.). A shepherd and bold adventurer, without any other claim to power but that of gigantic strength and stature, he managed, in common with his four brothers of equal size and vigor, to rally large bodies of men around him, and, after assuming the royal title, to wage war both on the Romans and on the forces of Archelaus. After a protracted and brave struggle, he and his brothers were defeated. Rapoport has explained the name "Athronges" by the Hebraized Persian word "orange," or "melon" (see Fleischer in Levy, "Neuhebr. Wörterb." i. 77), and identified it with Ben Baṭiaḥ, "Son of the Cucumber" (that is, like a cucumber), the popular hero, the size of whose fist [] has become proverbial in ancient rabbinical literature (Kelim xvii. 12; Tosef., Kelim, B. M. vii. 2); the form of his hand having, as Rapoport thinks, given rise to both terms. At a later time, legend identified him with the leader of the insurrection, Abba Saḳḳara, the nephew of Johanan ben Zakkai.

Bibliography:
  • Josephus, Ant. xvii. 10, § 7;
  • B. J. ii. 4, § 3;
  • Schürer, Gesch i. 348;
  • Rapoport, 'Erek Millin, s.v.
G. K.
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