Seleucid II/19c: 204BC- 167BC

DBA list:
1x3/4 Kn (General): Antiochus IV Epiphanes
1x 4Kn
4x 4Pk
1x SCh
1x El
1x 3Cm or 3Cv or 3Ax
1x 2Ps or 4Wb
2x 2Ps

Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Greek: "manifestation of the god") (ca. 215–163 BC) ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175 until his death. He was a son of Antiochus III the Great and brother of Seleucus IV Philopator. He was originally named Mithradates, but renamed Antiochus, either upon his ascension or after the assassination of his elder brother Antiochus. With the support of king Eumenes II Soter of Pergamon, Antiochus became king.

Because the guardians of Ptolemy VI of Egypt (a minor) were demanding the return of Coele-Syria, Antiochus decided on a preemptive strike against Egypt, and invaded in 170 BC, conquering all but Alexandria. He then captured Ptolemy, and agreed to let him continue as king, but as his puppet, which had the advantage of not alarming Rome. Alexandria in rebellion then chose Ptolemy's brother Ptolemy Euergetes as king. In Antiochus' absence, the two brothers agreed to rule jointly.

In 168 BC, Antiochus again invaded, and overran all Egypt, except for Alexandria, while his fleet captured Cyprus. Near Alexandria he was met by Gaius Popillius Laenas, who told him that he must immediately withdraw from Egypt and Cyprus. According to Livy,

"After receiving the submission of the inhabitants of Memphis and of the rest of the Egyptian people, some submitting voluntarily, others under threats, [Antiochus] marched by easy stages towards Alexandria. After crossing the river at Eleusis, about four miles from Alexandria, he was met by the Roman commissioners, to whom he gave a friendly greeting and held out his hand to Popilius. Popilius, however, placed in his hand the tablets on which was written the decree of the senate and told him first of all to read that. After reading it through he said he would call his friends into council and consider what he ought to do. Popilius, stern and imperious as ever, drew a circle round the king with the stick he was carrying and said, "Before you step out of that circle give me a reply to lay before the senate." For a few moments he hesitated, astounded at such a peremptory order, and at last replied, "I will do what the senate thinks right." Not till then did Popilius extend his hand to the king as to a friend and ally. Antiochus evacuated Egypt at the appointed date, and the commissioners exerted their authority to establish a lasting concord between the brothers, as they had as yet hardly made peace with each other." Ab Urbe Condita, xlv.12.

Antiochus then organized an expedition against Jerusalem, which he captured. After this, the Jews began the war of independence under their Maccabean leaders, defeating the armies that Antiochus sent against them. The exact causes of the Jewish revolt, and of Antiochus' response to it, are uncertain; the Jewish accounts are in the Books of the Maccabees, and the successful revolt is commemorated by the holiday of Hanukkah.

Antiochus returned in triumph to Antioch (166 BC) but soon had to turn his attention to serious challenges to his rule on his eastern border in campaigns against Armenia and Parthia. He fell ill and died while in Tabae, Persia (164 BCE).


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