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Antiochus IV Becomes King
||Having set out an ivory seat
in the Roman style (Antiochus IV)*
would pronounce judgment & decide disputes regarding
||Thus, to some he seemed not to
know what he wanted. Some simply laughed at him. Others were
saying he was doubtlessly insane.
||In two great and serious
matters, however, his was a really royal spirit: in
donations to cities & in cultivation of the gods...
||One of his truly great deeds
for the gods was the temple of Olympian Jove [= Zeus] in
Athens (which even) incomplete is able to be the one witness
on earth to the greatness of (this) god.
||But he also adorned Delos with
inscribed altars & an abundance of statues. And at
Antioch (he erected) a magnificent temple to Capitoline Jove
[=Jupiter], not only with a ceiling lined with gold but with
walls completely covered with gilded panels. And he did not
complete many other (projects) promised to other places,
since his reign was very brief.
||He also beat superior kings in
the magnificence of spectacles of every kind....
From the Founding of the City (of Rome) 41.20.1-10
||The classic Latin summary of
Livy's text includes the following overview: "Antiochus
(IV), son of Antiochus
(III), whom his father had given to
the Romans as a hostage, was sent from the City (of Rome) back to the kingdom of
upon the death of his brother Seleucus
BCE), who had succeeded their
father when he died. Apart from being religious,
which led him to erect many magnificent temples in many
places --- (e.g.) the one to Olympian Zeus at Athens and to
Capitoline Zeus [ = Jupiter] at Antioch --- he was very poor
at playing the king." -- Periocha 41.
& Greek Politics
||Now about this time
when the high-priest cHoni (III) died, Antiochus
(IV) gave the high-priesthood to his brother [Jeshu], because
the son of cHoni was still a child...
removed from the high-priesthood when the king was angered by
him. And he gave it to his youngest brother, (also) named cHoni
||Now then, Jeshu
changed his name to Jason and cHoni
(IV) was called Menelaus. Then the former
high-priest, Jeshu [called Jason], opposed Menelaus, who had
been appointed after him. And the (Jewish) masses were divided
between each. The sons of Tobias became partisans of Menelaus;
||but the majority of
the people rallied to Jason. Under attack by the
latter, Menelaus and the sons of Tobias retreated to Antiochus
(IV) and informed him that they wished to abandon their native
(Jewish) laws and corresponding (priestly) civic order for
those of the king and a Greek civic order.
||So they called on
him to support them in building a gymnasium in
And when (Antiochus) concurred, they disguised the circumcision
of their private parts so they might be Greeks even when
undressed. And abandoning all their other native (Jewish)
customs, they copied the practices of other nations.
||Now in the year 143 [= 169
after Antiochus (IV) had defeated Egypt he returned by way of
Israel and went up to Jerusalem
with a strong army.
||And in his arrogance
he entered the sanctuary. And he took the golden altar and the
menorah, with all its lamps for light;
||and the table for
the bread of the presence; the cups, the bowls, the golden
censers and the veil (to the holy of holies). He even stripped
the cornices and golden ornament from the temple facade.
||And he took away the
gold and silver and precious vessels. He also took all the
hidden treasures he could find.
||Now taking all of
this he returned to his own country [Antioch, Syria], having
committed murder and spoken with great arrogance.
1 Maccabees 1:20-24
Occupied & Hellenized
||Two years later [167
(Syrian) king sent a captain to levy tribute
in the cities of Judah.
And he came to Jerusalem
with a strong army...
||He plundered and set
fire to the city, destroying its houses and surrounding walls;
||he took the women
and children captive and confiscated the animals.
||Then (the Greeks)
built up the city of David with a high massive wall and strong
towers. And it became their citadel...
||Then the king wrote
to his kingdom; that all were to be one people
||and each (subject) was to
abandon his (native) customs. All the gentiles accepted the
||And many in Israel were content
with his culture. They sacrificed to idols and profaned the
||The king sent messengers to
hand-deliver scrolls to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah,
ordering them to adopt customs foreign to the land:
||To prohibit holocausts and
sacrifices; and libations in the sanctuary and to profane the
Sabbaths and feast days;
||to desecrate the sanctuary and
its holy ones;
||to build high altars and shrines
and idols; to sacrifice swine and unclean animals;
||and to leave their sons
uncircumcised; and to let their lives be defiled by every kind
of impurity and abomination.
||They were to forget the Torah
and change all their observances.
||And whoever refused to act in
accordance with the king's word was to be executed...
||On the 15th day of cHislev
in the year 145 [= 6 Dec 167 BCE], the king
erected the abomination that desecrates on
the altar of burnt-offerings. And in cities around Judah they
built high altars.
||And they sacrificed incense at
the doors of houses and in the streets.
||Also, when they found Torah
scrolls they tore them up and burnt them.
||And whenever someone was found
with a scroll of the covenant or observing the Torah, he was
put to death under the king's decree.
||And many of the Jews followed
the things the (Syrian) king ordered, some voluntarily but
also through fear of paying the proclaimed penalty. But the
noblest and best-born persons did not heed him but held their
native customs to count more than the penalty he threatened
for those who did not obey. And because of this they were
abused each day. And they died, subject to bitter tortures.
||For with bodies
whipped and abused they were crucified while
still alive and breathing. But their wives and the children
whom they had circumcised in spite of the king's policy were
strangled, by hanging from the necks of their crucified
The Time of
||And in his place a
despised man [Antiochus
IV] will rise and the dignity of kingship will not
be given to him. But he will come by stealth and gain the
kingship by bribes.
||And (Jewish) armed
forces shall be totally overwhelmed and crushed before him, even
the prince of the covenant [cHoni III]...
||And he shall return
to his land with great wealth and his heart shall be set
against the holy covenant. And he will do as he wants and
return to his land.
||At the appointed
time he will return and come to the south, and this time it
will not be like before.
||When he is
confronted by ships from Kittim [Cyprus], he will lose nerve
and retreat. And in rage he will attack the holy covenant. He
will return and heed those (priests) who desert the holy
||At his command armies will
attack and profane the temple and citadel. And they shall
remove the daily sacrifice and erect the abomination
||And those who desert the
covenant he will seduce with lies but those who know their God
will stand firm and they will take action.
||And sages will instruct the
people but for some days they will fall by sword and flame, by
captivity and plunder.
||And when they fall few will
help, but many shall join them with flattery.
||And some of the sages shall
fall, to test and refine and purify the rest, until the time
of the end which is set for the appointed time.
||And the king shall do as he
wills. He will exalt himself and make himself out as greater
than every god and he will utter amazing and dreadful
statements against the God of gods. And he shall prosper until
the indignity is ended. For what was determined shall happen.
||--- Hebrew Bible, Daniel