1-Maccabees covers nearly forty years from the rise of Antiochus in 175 BCE to the death of Simon the Maccabee (134 BCE). It begins with Alexander the Great conquering Judea, who was succeeded by Seleucid's Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and eventually capturing Jerusalem. It tells the story on the suppression of Jewish Law; whose violations therin are punishable by death including: the requisition of idol sacrifice, the prohibition of Jewish texts and circumcision, which is a symbol of the covenant between Jews and God by Abraham (Genesis - 17:10). This, and the destruction, defiling, and rededication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem lead to the Maccabean Revolt, which frees the temple. The reconsecration and restoration of the temple is celebrated in the festival of Hanukkah.
From the Hasmonean Kingdom the Jewish priest and leader Judas Maccabaeus' family and followers are known as the Maccabees. Derived from the Aramaic and Hebrew words for "hammer" in reference to their fierceness in battle. Also as an acronym from Exodus 15:11 of "Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?" (mi chamochah baelim Yehovah, me-cha-bae-Yod, Mem-Kaf-Bet-Yud, Macabee Juda)
Originally in Hebrew the oldest surviving text comes from the Septuagint in Koine Greek by a unknown Hasmonean Jew near the end of the 2nd century BCE.