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John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon the Maccabee and nephew of the folk hero Judah Maccabee, hero of the Hanukkah story. Soon after Hyrcanus assumed power, the Seleukid kingdom marched on Jerusalem. Antiocus VII and Hyrcanus I negotiated a treaty that left Hyrcanus a vassal to the Syrian king. John Hyrcanus was the first Jewish ruler to issue coins in his own name.