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Antiochus IV Rules

Antiochus IV Epiphanes was the son of Antiochus III and he ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175 B.C. to 164 B.C. which is where he appears on the World History Timeline.  His birth name was Mithridates, but he changed his name to Antiochus III Epiphanes once he took over the throne. King Antiochus IV didn’t become the king of the Seleucid Empire after his father Antiochus III had died. His brother Seleucus IV became the next king of the empire. Seleucus IV was the oldest prince and was supposed to take the throne. When he became king he gave his own son as a hostage to the Romans so that Antiochus IV didn’t have to live in a foreign land.

The former king Antiochus III had to make a peace treaty with Rome after he was defeated by them in 188 B.C. One of the major conditions of this treaty forced the Seleucids to give the Romans some of his male heirs to the throne. Rome did this so that they could keep control over their defeated enemies. Seleucus IV decided to give up his son as a hostage in his brother’s place.

Eventually, Seleucus IV was assassinated by a usurper to the throne in 175 B.C. and Antiochus IV then removed the usurper to become king. He forced Seleucus IV son to remain in Rome and he killed another one of his sons a few years later. He married a woman named Laodice IV and he had five children with her. Some scholars and historians claim that Antiochus IV was also an illegitimate ruler to the Seleucid throne. As a result of his actions, many people tried to take the head of the Seleucid Empire after he had died. This event led to a widespread civil war all throughout the Seleucid Empire. These events seriously weakened the Seleucid Dynasty.

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Statue of Antiochus IV

Even though Antiochus IV ruled only 10 years his reign would be one of the most memorable in all of the history of the Seleucid Empire. King Antiochus IV was considered a mad man and an evil ruler by many of his contemporaries. During his reign, he had a showed a lot of hatred toward the Jewish people. His father Antiochus III had temporarily turned against the Jews but stopped once he realized what he was doing. King Antiochus IV persecution of the Jews began when he accepted a bribe from a Jewish official named Jason who wanted to become the high priest and governor of Judah. He then continued a campaign to Hellenize Judea and he made it a point to desecrate God’s Temple. Eventually, the Jewish people rose up in opposition against his tyranny and gained their freedom from the Seleucid’s.

King Antiochus IV also defeated the Egyptians that were being ruled by the Ptolemy’s. He dealt with Parthian armies in the east to keep his empire together and he had to avoid making the Romans upset because of their treaty. King Antiochus IV died in 164 B.C. due to an unknown disease. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus V Eupator.

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