ATHALIAH, in the Bible, the daughter of Ahab, and wife of Jehoram, king of Judah. After the death of Ahaziah, her son she usurped the throne and reigned for six years. She is said to have massacred all the members of the royal house of Judah (2 Kings xi. 1-3), but a similar atrocity is also ascribed to Jehu (2 Kings x. 12-14); with both notices contrast 2 Chron. xxi. 17. The sole survivor Joash was concealed in the temple by his aunt, Jehosheba, wife of the priest Jehoida (2 Chron. xxii. 11) These organized a revolution in favour of Joash, and caused Athaliah and her adherents to be put to death (2 Kings xi.; 2 Chron. xxii. 10-12, xxiii., xxiv. 7).
The story of Athaliah forms the subject of one of Racine's best tragedies. It has been musically treated by Handel and Mendelssohn.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)