160 B.C. - Judas Maccabeus dies in battle. Two of Judas' brothers continue the war to gain Judea's independence.
147 B.C. - Judea gains independence.
63 B.C. - Roman troops, led by Pompey, occupy Palestine (Judea) for the Roman Republic. The fall of Jerusalem occurs.
There were originally five books of the Maccabees. The first book contains a history of the war of independence, commencing (175 B.C.) in a series of patriotic struggles against the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, and terminating 134 B.C. It became part of the Vulgate Version of the Bible, and was thus retained among the Apocrypha.
The second book gives a history of the Maccabees' struggle from 176 to 161 B.C. Its object is to encourage and admonish the Jews to be faithful to the religion of their fathers.
The third book does not hold a place in the Apocrypha, but is read in the Greek Church. Its design is to comfort the Alexandrian Jews in their persecution. Its writer was evidently an Alexandrian Jew.
The fourth book was found in the Library of Lyons, but was afterwards burned.
The fifth book contains a history of the Jews from 184 to 86 B.C. It is a compilation made by a Jew after the destruction of Jerusalem, from ancient memoirs, to which he had access.
The first two Maccabean books are included as part of the Old Testament in Catholic Bibles and a few fairly recent non-Catholic Bibles. They are part of a collection of non-inspired books known as the Apocrypha. Popular modern Bibles such as the NIV, KJV, NKJV, NASB and others do not include the Apocrypha.
None of the Maccabean books has any divine authority and are not divinely inspired like the sixty-six books that comprise most Bibles.