[ca. 161 - 125 BCE;
The son of Demetrius
I went into exile at age 11, when Alexander
Balas killed his father (150
BCE). In exile he allied himself to
Ptolemy VI & married his daughter, Cleopatra
Thea. Three years later he returned with an army of Cretan mercenaries
raised by his father-in-law & deposed Balas (145
BCE), earning him his
epithet ["the victor"]. But the young king's victory was
short-lived. First he faced a formidable challenge from the rebel general
Trypho who posed as regent for Balas' son Antiochus
VI before usurping the throne for himself. Then, even before Trypho's
defeat, Demetrius' forces had to fend off a Parthian invasion (140
BCE). Demetrius himself was captured (139
BCE) & spent the next
decade as a hostage, leaving his younger brother Antiochus VII to rule his
diminished realm. Released from captivity in 129
BCE, he was briefly
restored to the throne of a divided kingdom until his own assassination.
Demetrius' troubles provided the
opportunity for Johanan
Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean ruler of Jerusalem,
to claim Jewish independence -- which Demetrius acknowledged to gain
Jewish support in his struggle with his rivals -- & to annex Seleucid
territory beyond Judea.
109-160, 174-187, 218-222, 267-271.
10:67-73; 11:8-12,19,28-55; 13:34-40; 14:1-3.
of Rome: Syrian Wars
Other resources on line:
Maccabees 13 - includes Jewish account of Demetrius'
recognition of Jewish independence [Good News
translation posted by
This silver tetradrachma from Demetrius'
second reign shows the influence of his exile in Parthia. For
instead of the traditional Hellenistic clean-shaven profile found in his
coins before 139
BCE, the king is here portrayed in Persian style with
full beard. The fact that the figure on the back of the coin--enthroned
Zeus, holding winged Victory [Nike] --is bearded may also have
influenced the depiction of the king. For the accompanying
inscription -- [B]asileos Demetriou Theou Nikatoros ["of
King Demetrius, Victor God"] -- clearly claims him to be the
incarnation of the king of gods himself.
Perspective on the
World of Jesus
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Mahlon H. Smith
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