The succession in 134 bce of John Hyrcanus, third son of Simon Maccabee, is generally regarded as the start of the Hasmonean dynasty proper. John succeeded his father by virtue of being the only one to escape the assassination attempt made on Simon and his three sons by the treacherous Ptolemy son of Abubus (1 Macc. 16: 11-22), and the succession in itself marked a new era of Hasmonean history in two ways. First, the leadership of the people had now passed on to someone who had had no experience of the persecution which originally gave rise to the Maccabean leadership. John was the first 'second generation' Hasmonean, as the previous three leaders had been the brothers Judas, Jonathan, and Simon who were all part of the initial resistance in the days of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Just as their leadership style and policy was determined by the experiences and circumstances of persecution, John's would equally be determined by the different and in some ways less urgent circumstances in which he found himself. He inherited an independent kingdom which had already started on a policy of territorial expansion with the aim of reclaiming its ancestral lands (1 Macc. 15: 33-4), and although politically speaking the Hasmonean domain's independence was rather insecure it was now a very different province from the persecuted, strife-torn subject enclave in the Seleucid kingdom which the Maccabees had known. The major threats to John's sovereignty now definitely came from outside the country, rather than originating inside its boundaries and being exacerbated by the intervention of outside powers as had been the case at the time of the Maccabean rebellion.
Secondly, John was the first Hasmonean not to be chosen personally by the people themselves as their leader. According to 1 Macc. 9: 28-31 and 13: 7-9 Jonathan and Simon had both