Jewish pirates: hardly known group of buccaneers, active in the early first century BCE. The ancient Jews were not known for their qualities as sailors. This is not surprising, of course, because Jerusalem is at some distance from the sea, and the Jews were never really interested in the coast of Judaea. It was only after the Hasmonaean high priest Simon (142-134) had added Jaffa to his dominions that the Jews possessed a port of their own... Simon's son and successor John Hyrcanus (134-104) took Ashdod, and king Alexander Jannaeus added Gaza and Strato's Tower (later called Caesaraea). The hellenized population of these towns was usually loyal to the Hasmonaean state, and not a few of them accepted Judaism. In this way, a small group of Jewish sailors was created.
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