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Antiochus IV Epiphanes

(c. 215—164 bc)

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third son of Antiochus III the Great, became king in 175. He sought actively to reconsolidate the remaining huge Seleucid empire, from Cilicia and Syria eastwards, after the Peace of Apamea (188) had precluded the Seleucids from their possessions north of the Taurus mountain range. His attempt to incorporate Ptolemaic Egypt and Cyprus (170–169/8) failed because Rome's victory over Perseus of Macedon enabled Rome to order Antiochus from Egypt. His intervention in Jerusalem, overturning Antiochus III's ‘charter for Jerusalem’ (following Antiochus III's capture of it from the Ptolemies), guaranteeing the worship of Yahweh and the extensive privileges of all those involved in the cult, in co-operation with an ‘hellenizing party’, has, from the viewpoint of Seleucid historiography, resulted in a distorted and hostile picture of the king, presented in Maccabees 1–3, whereas in reality Judaea was strategically and economically of minor importance. Antiochus was active as a benefactor of cities of Aegean Greece and of indigenous cities within the Seleucid empire. The great resources of military manpower remaining are reflected in accounts of the famous procession mounted by him at Daphne (166/5), prior to his anabasis to the ‘Upper Satrapies’, a major military campaign, in which he met his death.

Guy Thompson Griffith; Susan Mary Sherwin-White

Subjects: Religion

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