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Antiochus IV Epiphanes

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Antiochus IV also known as Antiochus Epiphanes was a ruler of the Seleucid Empire. He was known for conquering most of Egypt from the Ptolemaic dynasty, for conquering Judea and Samaria and for losing a war to the Maccabees.

Rise to Power[change | change source]

Antiochus’s father Antiochus the Great ruled the Seleucid Empire and fought wars against the Roman Republic. After ending them with a treaty, the Romans took the younger Antiochus hostage to make sure that his father didn’t disturb the peace, since that was one of the rules in the treaty. After Antiochus’s father died, his older brother Seleucus IV Philopator became king so the Romans freed Antiochus and took Seleucus’s son. Someone named Heliodorus worked for the government of the Seleucid Empire so Heliodorus (minister) killed Seleucus to take over the Empire. Then Antiochus teamed up with King Eumenes II to take over and become the new king and Antiochus (probably) killed his nephew so that he could stay king.

Egypt[change | change source]

Antiochus fought a war against Egypt and won but didn’t want to scare the Roman Republic into thinking he was dangerous so he let Ptolemy VIII continue to rule Egypt.

Jewish revolt[change | change source]

Antiochus wanted to assimilate the Jews since he didn’t want them to rebel so he banned circumcision, used the law to make the Jews work on the Sabbath, put Greek idols in the Second Temple of Jerusalem, made the Chief Kohen sacrifice animals to Zeus and put a gymnasium in the Temple’s yard where the people would wrestle naked. Matityahu son of Yochanan was angry about this so he decided to lead a rebellion against Antiochus. Then Matityahu died so his son, Judah Maccabee led the revolt against Antiochus. Antiochus lost the war to the Maccabees.

Death[change | change source]

Shortly after the Maccabean Revolt, Antiochus got sick and died.

Legacy[change | change source]

Jewish tradition has Antiochus as the villain of the story of Hanukkah and most ancient books (including non-Jewish ones) also have him as a bad king even though there are some historians today who don’t think that he was that bad there are also some who think he actually was that bad.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Born: 215 BC Died: 164 BC
Preceded by
Seleucid King
(King of Syria)

175–164 BC
Succeeded by
Antiochus V Eupator