THE REIGN OF THE SELEUCUS/ANTIOCHUS KINGS
This is a chart of one of Alexander the Great's generals and his lineage. It is the line of Greek kings who reigned over the area from India to the Egyptain border. I've supplied the king's title, his given family name, and the meaning of that name in the respective colors just used. The names can be confusing and tricky. Many have the same title or given family name. In the next column, that person's father's name is presented. Then their dates of rule. For this purpose, their dates of rule seemed better than their years of life. The last column is a brief description of their actions. Some have much more than others. In any case, none are intended to be full bios. In several of the bios, there are Bible references. There are many more references from the books of 1&2 Maccabees. I did not include any of them for 2 reasons. 1. They would take up too much space. 2. I do plan on including an entire study from the books of Maccabees because they are an invaluable source of history from this time period. This is not to leave out Josephus and other historians. For now, this page will get your foot in the door.
BE SON OF
One of the 4 notable horns of Dan. 8:8 after the death of Alex the Great. Founded cities of Antioch(on the Orontes) and Seleucia
Fell in love with his stepmother to the point it made him very ill. His father(Nicator) gave her to him as well as sovereignty of all territories beyond the Euphrates. He became king over all the land when Nicator was murdered in 281 BC. He defeated the Gauls in Asia Minor(Turkey) with an army corps of an elephant brigade. It was during this time that the Syrian Wars began. These were wars between the Greek kings from the fertile crescent and the Greek kings of Egypt. Both wanted the areas of Syria and Israel.
In 2nd Syrian War, he regained much of what Ptolemy Philadelphus had won from his father. He divorced his wife Laodice and married Ptolemy's daughter Bernice (Dan. 11:6). They agreed that Bernice's son would take over the kingdom. On Ptolemy's death, Theos renegged on their deal and made Laodice's son eldest son Callinicus the next in line. Feeling she would be spurned again, Laodice had Bernice, Bernice's son, and Theos killed. Ptolemy Euergetes, Bernice's brother, invaded Syria. Laodice was killed in the war and Callinicus was driven away for a while(Dan. 11:7-9).
Continued war with Ptolemy Euergetes. Kept Syria and Persia. Lost western Asia Minor.
Assassinated by conspirators after he tried to take back area of Asia Minor lost by his father.
Began the 4th Syrian war to regain southern Syria and Palestine from Ptolemy IV(Philopater). He was misinformed/deceived about the Egyptian forces and underestimated their strength. Ptolemy kept Syria and Palestine(Dan. 11:11). He warred and was victorious against Bactria and Parthia. This is where he got the name Megas-The Great. When Philopater died, his 4 yr old son Epiphanes succeeded him. Megas attacked and was able to drive the Egyptians from Palestine and Israel. The people of Jerusalem were instrumental in helping to oust Ptolemy. They were rewarded with no taxes for 3 yrs, restoration of all that was destroyed in the war, guaranteed a subsidized temple. Megas betrothed his daughter Cleopatra to the young Epiphanes(Dan. 11:17). Attacked Rome in Asia Minor and Greece-losing both times.
Assassinated by Heliodorus who was sent by Rome to get owed tax money. Dan. 11:20,21 tell of this and the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes
His nickname came to be "Epimanes" which means "Madman." He was also called "incarnate Zeus." Dan. 11:21-35 predict his arrival and exploits. Epiphanes was a hostage in Rome as part of a debt Megas had to pay. His brother Philopater, who was then king, got him freed by substituting his own son Demetrius I(Soter) in his place. Philopater was then assassinated and Epiphanes assumed the throne. At this time, there were 2 predominate groups in Israel fighting for supremacy. One lead by Jason which wanted to completely envelop Israel in the Hellenistic(Greek) culture. The other was lead by Onias(Jason's brother) which wanted to keep the Jewish customs and law. Jason promised a large monitary tribute to Epiphanes. Jason was made high priest in place of his brother Onias and Jerusalem became a Greek city under his leadership. When Epiphanes' sister Cleopatra I queen of Egypt died, he feared war with Egypt, but it never came. A man named Menelaus paid to become the high priest then hired a hit man to kill Onias. Epiphanes began the 6th Syrian war and conquered much of Egypt. He put a puppet king in Memphis and another one in Alexandria. A year later he re-entered Egypt. He was met by Roman forces(the ships of Kittim-Dan. 11:30). The Roman legate C. Popilius Laenas gave Him an ultimatum. He drew a circle around Epiphanes' feet. He told him he wanted an answer as to whether he wanted to live or die before he left the circle. Epiphanes chose to live and left Egypt with his armies. When he arrived back in Jerusalem, he saw that it had been overtaken by the conservative Jews(They had heard Epiphanes died in Egypt and mounted a revolt). Infuriated and maniocally raging, he slaughtered thousands and enslaved many more. He instituted decrees which made honoring or performing any Jewish ritual punishable by torture and death. All copies of the Hebrew law and scriptures which were found were destroyed. He ransacked the temple and took everything. What he did not take, he crushed, destroyed, and burned. Before he destroyed the altar, he sacrificed a pig on it and took its blood and smeared it on all the walls, floors, and ceilings. He renamed the sanctuary Jupiter Olympius after heathen gods. He instituted the pagan festival of light to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. On the 25th of evey month, there was to be a human sacrifice on the pagan altar he built where the original altar had been. This sacrifice was to be made to Epiphanes whose birthday was on the 25th. Rather than uniting the Jews into the Hellenistic(Greek) culture, it spawned the Maccabean revolution. Epiphanes went off to war in Parthia and Armenia. Afterwards, he retired to Persia. While here, he heard about the Maccabees success in overthrowing the forces in Jerusalem and re-instituting the Jewish law and sacrificial system. He went insane and died. There is a thought in some scholastic circles that he had syphilis and that it had spread to his brain making it swiss cheese.
On his deathbed, Epiphanes, Eupator's father , declared that a friend of his(Philip) would take over as king and also train the young Eupator-who was between 9-12 years old depending on which historian's record you go by. Philip however was in Persia with Epiphanes. Lysias, who had been the guardian of Eupator and also in charge of Syria while Epiphanes was in Persia took Eupator(and an army which consisted of elephants) to Jerusalem to attack a garrison of the Maccabees. They won that battle. Philip had returned from Persia and was preparing to attack. Lysias and Eupator defeated him.
He escaped from prison in Rome. When he returned, he found that Lysias was ruling the area and that Eupator was his young puppet. Soter killed both of them and assumed the throne.
He was not but claimed to be son of Epiphanes. He attracted the support of a coalition of Egypt, Rome, Pergamum, Cappodocia & Judea, all of which wanted the Seleucid reign to go by the wayside. In return for Judean support he appointed Jonathan, Judas Maccabee's brother, high priest, giving legitimacy to the Maccabean rule in Jerusalem. Because of this, the Jews had more freedom to worship and carry out Jewish customs.
He defeated Soter and claimed the throne. He married Cleopatra Thea-the daughter of the Egyptian Ptolemy. He then wanted to have Ptolemy assassinated. His wife and Egypt no longer supported him. Soter's son Nicator attacked and defeated him.
Here is a way the Lord gave me to remember the kings names and order of reign. I took the first letter of their name(family name not king title and made a sentence.)
Set out Soter