“1 And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece, 2 And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth, 3 And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted and his heart was lifted up” I Maccabees 1:1-3 – King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition)
Flavius Josephus, the Jewish Historian writes in his book Antiq. XII Chapter 6 Para 1 that there was one by name Mattathias, who was the son of John, the son of Simeon, the son of “Asamoneus” (Hasmoneans), a citizen of Jerusalem. He had five sons, one of whom was Judas and he was Maccabeus.
Although the whole family of Judas has taken the title as “Maccabees” strictly speaking the name applies only to Judas. Maccabees, also known as Hasmoneans were very famous because of their revolt against Seleucid dynasty.
Out of the four books of Maccabees only two are prominent, and other two are not so significant. These books are deuterocanonical books in the KJV 1611 edition.
The Books of the Maccabees are records of their life style, historical events from 175 BC to 134 BC, and related subjects. The books were written in Hebrew language, and St. Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin vulgate, had seen those books; however the Hebrew text of Maccabees is now lost. Latin vulgate and KJV 1611 edition have only I Maccabees and II Maccabees but Septuagint has III and IV Maccabees also in addition to I and II Maccabees.