Antiochus IV Epiphanes Biography
(Macedonian Hellenistic King)
Antiochus IV Epiphanes was a king from the Seleucid dynasty, which ruled the Hellenistic Syrian Empire. His rule lasted for a little over a decade, between 175 BC and 164 BC. Before he took control of the Seleucid Empire, he was held as a political hostage in Rome due to his father, Antiochus III the Great’s loss to the Romans, but he was released in exchange for his nephew in 175 BC. Immediately after his return, his brother, King Seleucus IV Philopator, the incumbent ruler, was then murdered by usurper Heliodorus. Antiochus managed to oust Heliodorus and declared himself the co-regent with his minor nephew. A few years later, at Antiochus’s orders, his nephew was killed, and Antiochus became the sole ruler. After Antiochus was crowned the king, he waged wars against Egypt, tried to suppress the Maccabean revolt, and died during the campaign against the Parthians. During his rule, he promoted Greek religious practices and tried to oppress other minor religions, especially Judaism. A lot of Jewish pilgrim centers and temples, including the temple at Jerusalem, were attacked. Jews and people following oriental religions were persecuted and killed. Due to his intolerant religious policies, he is projected as a villain in the holy books of Abrahamic religions. The Jewish celebration of Hanukka marks the renovation, purification, and rededication of the temple of Jerusalem that followed his attack.