LACEDAEMONIANS lăs ə dĭ mō’ nī ənz (Λακεδαιμονίοι). Inhabitants of Lacedaemon, more commonly called Sparta, in southern Greece.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The inhabitants of Sparta or Lacedaemon with whom the Jews claimed some kinship and formed alliances (1 Macc 12:2,5,6,20,21; 14:20,23; 15:23; 2 Macc 5:9). The alliance mentioned in 1 Macc 12:5-23 is based, among other grounds, on that of a common descent of Jews and Lacedaemonians from Abraham, for which the only probable presumption--suggested by Ewald--is the similarity of names, "Pelasgi" and Peleg son of Eber (Ge 10:25; 11:16). This has been reasonably objected to, and perhaps the most that can be said on this point is that the belief in some relationship between the Jews and the Lacedaemonians seems to have prevailed when 1 Macc was written. The alliance itself is said to have been formed (1 Macc 12:20) between Areus, king of the Lacedaemonians and Onias the high priest; but it is not easy to make out a consistent chronology for the transaction. For the renewal of the alliance (circa 144 BC) by Jonathan (1 Macc 12:5-18) and again by Simon (1 Macc 14:16-23), something can be said, as the Greeks had finally been deprived of independence in 146 BC, and Sparta was only obliged to lend assistance to Rome and may be supposed to have been doing so in helping the Jews against Syria. It is possible, too, that as against Syrian Hellenism the Jews were anxious to show that they had the assistance of distinguished Greeks, though the actual power of Sparta was much reduced from that of former times. The facts, at least of the alliance and the correspondence, seem to be sufficiently attested, though it is not easy to reconcile all the particulars. Josephus (Ant., XII, iv, 10; XIII, v, 8; XIV, xii, 2,3) gives the correspondence at greater length than the writer of the Maccabees.