Timeline 161 BC -190 BC Antiochus IV and the 6th Syrian War

YearEvents and Comments
Prior Timeline: Timeline 131 – 160 BC
161 BC
161 BC:The Jewish High Priest Menelaus▼, who is supported by the Hellenist party, is removed from office and is executed. His successor is a moderate member of the Hellenist party, Alcimus. However, when Alcimus executes sixty Jews who are opposed to him, he finds himself in open conflict with the Maccabees. Alcimus flees from Jerusalem and goes to Damascus to ask the Seleucid king, Demetrius I, for help.

162 BC

Hebrew Calendar
3599–3600
162 BC The Official Return of The Temple to the Jews.

162 BC: Seleucid Empire: Seleucid forces still control the Acra, a strong fortress within Jerusalem that faces the Temple Mount. Judas Maccabeus lays siege to the fortress and in response, the Seleucid general and regent to the young Seleucid king Antiochus V, Lysias, approaches Jerusalem and besieges Beth-zechariah, 25 kilometres from the city. Judas lifts his own siege on the Acra, and leads his army south to Beth-zechariah. In the ensuing Battle of Beth-zechariah, the Seleucids achieve their first major victory over the Maccabees, and Judas is forced to withdraw to Jerusalem.

162 BC: Seleucid Empire: The Maccabees, under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, continue their struggle against the Seleucids and persecute the Hellenising faction in Judea.

162 BC: Seleucid Empire: Jerusalem: Lysias then lays siege to the city. Just when capitulation by the Maccabees seems imminent, Lysias has to withdraw when the commander-in-chief under the late Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Philip, rebels against him. As a result, Lysias decides to propose a peaceful settlement which is accepted by the Maccabees. The terms of peace involve the restoration of religious freedom, permission for the Jews to live in accordance with their own laws, and the official return of the Temple in Jerusalem to the Jews.

162 BC: Seleucid Empire: Jerusalem: With the aid of the Greek statesman and historian Polybius, the son of the former Seleucid king Seleucus IV Philopator, Demetrius escapes from Rome, where he has been held as a hostage for many years, and returns to Syria to claim the throne from his nephew Antiochus V. In the resulting dispute, Antiochus V and his regent, Lysias, are overthrown and put to death ▼. Demetrius ▲ then establishes himself on the Seleucid throne.

162 BC : Georgia: The king of Caucasian Iberia, Saurmag I▼, dies. Having no son, he is succeeded by his son-in-law, Mirian. ▲
163 BC
163 BC Formice: “In the consulship of Tiberius Gracchus and Manius Juventus at Capua the sun was seen by night. At Formice two suns were seen by day. The sky was afire. In Cephallenia a trumpet seemed to sound from the sky. There was a rain of earth. A windstorm demolished houses and laid crops flat in the field. By night an apparent sun shone at Pisaurum.” – Obsequens, Prodigiorum, Ch 114


164 BC
164 BC: The Egyptian King Ptolemy VI Philometor is expelled from Alexandria by his brother Ptolemy VIII Euergetes and flees to Rome to seek support.

165 BC165 BC: Artaxias I, King of Armenia, is taken captive by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes when he attacks Armenia. Artaxias is forced to recognize Antiochus IV’s suzerainty over Armenia before he is released.

166 BC

The Revolt of the Maccabbes

Mattathias dies
Son Judas takes leadership
166 BC: The Battle of Emmaus takes place between the Jewish rebels led by Judas Maccabeus and Seleucid forces sent by Antiochus IV and led by Lysias and his general, Gorgias. In the ensuing battle, Judas Maccabeus and his men succeed in repelling Gorgias and forcing his army out of Judea and down to the coastal plain in what is an important victory in the war for Judea’s independence.

166 BC: The Battle of Beth Horon is fought between Jewish forces led by Judas Maccabeus and a Seleucid army. Maccabeus gains the element of surprise and successfully routs the much larger Syrian army.

166 BC: The leader of the Jewish revolt against Syria rule, Mattathias, dies and his third son, Judas, assumes leadership of the revolt in accordance with the deathbed disposition of his father.

166 BC: The Seleucid king Antiochus IV mounts a campaign against the Parthians who are threatening his empire in the east. He leaves his chancellor, Lysias, with responsibility for the government of southern Syria and the guardianship of his son.

167 BC
The Abomination that causes Desolation: A foreshadow of the coming Antichrist.

Hebrew Calendar
3594–3595
Dec 25, 167 BC: “And on the five and twentieth day of the month they (Antiochus) sacrificed upon the altar of the idol that was over against the altar of God.”
First Book of the Maccabees Chapter One


Antiochus IV rededicated the Jewish Temple as a temple to Zeus, picturing himself as god. This event occurred on December 25th, 167 BC. He offered a pig to Zeus on the altar of God. He also persecuted the Jews with death if they followed their religion. The desecration of the Jewish Temple by Antiochus IV caused a reaction, known as the Maccabean rebellion. 

King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, believing Judea to be in revolt, returns there after the failure of his Egyptian campaign.
The Jewish priest Mattathias of Modi’in defies the king Antiochus IV’s decrees aimed at hellenizing the Jews and specifically defies the order that Jews should sacrifice to Zeus. Mattathias slays a Syrian official and escapes into the Judean hills with his five sons, beginning the Maccabean Revolt, a Jewish rebellion against Seleucid control of Judea.

A PROPHETIC EVENT fulfilled by Daniel Chapter 11 concerning the King of the North.
Foreshadowed and repeated in the coming seven year tribulation with the prophesied Antichrist.

168 BC168 BC: the fall of Macedon to the Romans.
169 BC169 BC Antiochus IV takes his wrath out on the Jews.

“He (Antiochus IV) also emptied it (the temple) of its secret treasures, and left nothing at all remaining; and by this means cast the Jews into great lamentation, for he forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to offer to God, according to the law. And when he had pillaged the whole city, some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried captive, together with their wives and children, so that the multitude of those captives that were taken alive amounted to about ten thousand. He also burnt down the finest buildings; and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the [Jewish] multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities. And when the king had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, (167 BC) he slew swine upon it, and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country.”

“He (Antiochus) also commanded them not to circumcise their sons, and threatened to punish any that should be found to have transgressed his injunction. He also appointed overseers, who should compel them to do what he commanded. And indeed many Jews there were who complied with the king’s commands, either voluntarily, or out of fear of the penalty that was denounced. But the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard him, but did pay a greater respect to the customs of their country than concern as to the punishment which he threatened to the disobedient; on which account they every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments; for they were whipped with rods, and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified, while they were still alive, and breathed.”

“They also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses. (As fathers hung on the cross in the agony of crucifixion, they had to watch as their wives and their sons were hung from/by their necks) And if there were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed, and those with whom they were found miserably perished also.”

“So he left the temple bare, and took away the golden candlesticks, and the golden altar [of incense], and table [of shew-bread that Ptolemy II gave to the Jews in exchange for the Septuagint], and the altar [of burnt-offering]; and did not abstain from even the veils, which were made of fine linen and scarlet. He also emptied it of its secret treasures, and left nothing at all remaining; and by this means cast the Jews into great lamentation, for he forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to offer to God, according to the law. And when he had pillaged the whole city, some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried captive, together with their wives and children, so that the multitude of those captives that were taken alive amounted to about ten thousand. He also burnt down the finest buildings; and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians.

However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the [Jewish] multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities.”

http://www.bu.edu/mzank/Jerusalem/tx/Antiquities12.htm


170 BC
Day of Eleusis
170-168 BC: The Sixth Syrian War. Antiochus chooses at the “Day of Eleusis” A circle is drawn in the sand around Antiochus IV and he is told not to step out of the circle until he gives Rome an answer. Antiochus wisely succombs to the wishes of Rome. Syria’s power is diminished. Antiochus IV is humiliated. This day marks the Biblical Beginning of Rome (the legs of iron) on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. Syria will be annexed by Rome.

See Daniel Chapter Two
See Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of Events
See Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of Kingdoms
171 BCThe first Roman colony outside Italy is founded at Carteia in southern Hispania after Iberian-born descendants of Roman soldiers appear before the Roman Senate to request a town to live in and are given Carteia, which is named Colonia Libertinorum Carteia.

171 BC: the Romans declare war on Macedonia and send troops to Thessaly. Beginning of the 3rd Macedonian war.
172 BC172 BC: Eumenes II of Pergamum travels to Rome to warn the Roman Senate of the danger from Perseus of Macedon. On his return from Rome, Eumenes II is nearly killed at Delphi and Perseus is suspected of being the instigator.
173 BC
174 BC
175 BCAntiochus IV Epiphanes ▲(brother of Seleucus IV) Polybius says of him, from Athenians, lib. v.: “He was every man’s companion: he resorted to the common shops, and prattled with the workmen: he frequented the common taverns, and ate and drank with the meanest fellows, singing debauched songs.”

175 BC: Seleucus IV died.▼Heliodorus is said to have assassinated Seleucus, desiring to rule in his stead. Aspirations are cast as to possible complicity by Antiochus IV, Seleucus’ brother.

“When the corpses of men and cattle were strewn around because of a terrible plague, Libitina was unable to cope, and no vulture appeared. The Celtiberians were destroyed.” M. Lepido Q. Mucio
176 BCApril or May 176 BC: Cleopatra I died.▼ Her death was followed by a rupture between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid courts, on the old question of Coele-Syria.
177 BC
178 BC◄In 178 BC Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 BC), son of Antiochus III sent his treasurer Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize funds in an effort to rebuild the coffers of an empire financially wiped out by war. He oppressed Israel through taxation.
http://www.pytlik.com/observe/daniel/prophecies/ch11-2.html

There is a well-known Greek inscription on tablets at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem called “the Heliodorus inscription” which announces the appointment of Heliodorus as the viceroy of Seleucus in charge of all the temples in the kingdom.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliodorus_(minister) Heliodorus
“Treasurer or …chancellor of Seleucus IV Philopator.

At the instigation of Apollonius, Seleucus sent Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the treasure of the Temple. The high priest Onias resisted him, pleading that the money in the treasury was reserved for widows and orphans.

but Heliodorus forced his way into the Temple. There he was stopped by the apparition of a horseman charging upon him, while two young men scourged him pitilessly. Heliodorus was carried out of the Temple insensible; and only by the offering of the high priest was he restored to consciousness. Heliodorus therefore left the treasure untouched, and returned to Seleucus with an account of his experience. Questioned by him as to whom he should next send to Jerusalem for the treasure, Heliodorus advised him to send his worst enemy, the enemy whose destruction he most desired (II Macc. iii. 7-iv. 1).” http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=562&letter=H&search=Heliodorus

In Rome: “The forum along with many other places around about were burnt by fire, without a shred of evidence the shrine of Venus was consumed by flames. The fire in Vesta’s inner sanctuary went out. On the orders of the pontifex maximus, M. Aemilius, a [Vestal] Virgin was killed by flogging, although she claimed that the fire would not go out any more. After ceremonies of supplication were held, the wars in Spain and Histria progressed well.” M. Iunio Manlio
179 BC179 BC: Philip V of Macedon dies▼ at Amphipolis in Macedonia, grieving for having put his younger son Demetrius to death, at the instigation of his older son Perseus. Nevertheless, he is succeeded by his son Perseus.▲

“Through continuous rain several standards on the Capitol were cast down. At Rome and the surrounding area several places were struck by lightning. During a lectisternium to Jupiter the heads of the gods turned round because of an earth tremor; a dish with its coverings, which had been placed next to Jupiter, fell down. Mice gnawed away at the olives on the table.” Q. Fulvio L. Manlio

180 BC180 BC Ptolemy V died ▼at some 28 years of age, some say by poisoning. He spent most of his reign putting out fires.
181 BC204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
182 BC182 BC Ptolemy VIII Physcon reigns in Alexandria, the brother of Ptolemy VI who was captured by Antiochus IV. The wife of both was their full blooded sister, Cleopartra II. Ptolemy VIII Physcon reigned free from Antiochus IV.

Ptolemy VIII seduced and married his wife’s daughter Cleopatra III without divorcing his wife, Cleopatra II.

This caused a riot. He killed their son, the 12 year old Ptolemy Memphitis, son of his first wife, and sent the dismembered pieces to her.

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
183 BC183 BC Hannibal commits suicide.

183 BC: The Roman statesman Titus Quinctius Flamininus is sent to the court of Prusias I, king of Bithynia, to demand the surrender of the former Carthaginian statesman and general Hannibal. When Hannibal finds out that Prusias is about to agree to the Roman demands and thus betray him, he poisons himself in the village of Libyssa in Bithynia.

The town of Messene, Greece, rebels against the Achaean League. When the Achaean League’s general, Philopoemen, intervenes to try and control the rebellion, he is captured during a skirmish and imprisoned. He is then given poison to take so that he can die honourably. Philopomen was a Greek general and statesman, strategos of the Achaean League on eight occasions and a major figure in the demise of Sparta as a Greek power.

In Rome: “A tempestuous storm created havoc in the city. It cast down the bronze standards on the Capitol, overturned the standards in the Circus Maximus with their columns, it shattered the akroteria of several temples, having torn several off at the summit. A three-footed mule was born at Reate. The shrine of Apollo at Caietae was struck by lightning.” L. Aemilio Paulo Cn. Baebio Tamphilo

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
184 BC184 BC: Cato the Elder, along with his colleague, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, is elected censors in Rome. Already the champion of the ancient, austere Roman way of life, Cato, now inaugurates a puritanical campaign. He aims at preserving the mos majorum (“ancestral custom”) and combating all Greek influences, which he believes are undermining the older Roman standards of morality. He passes measures taxing luxury and strictly revises the list of persons eligible for the Senate. Abuses by tax gatherers are brought under control, and public building is promoted as a worthy cause.

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
185 BC185 BC: Roman Republic: The Roman general Scipio Africanus and his brother Lucius are accused by Cato the Elder and his supporters of having received bribes from the late Seleucid king Antiochus III. Scipio defies his accusers, reminds the Romans of their debt to him, and retires to his country house at Liternum in Campania. However, Cato is successful in breaking the political influence of Lucius Scipio and Scipio Africanus.

185 BC: India: Pusyamitra Sunga▲ assassinates the Mauryan emperor Brhadrata▼, which brings an end to that dynasty, after which he founds the Sunga dynasty.

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
186 BC186 BC: The rapid spread of the Bacchanalia cult throughout the Roman Republic, which, it is claimed, indulges in all kinds of crimes and political conspiracies at its nocturnal meetings, leads to the Roman Senate issuing a decree, the Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, by which the Bacchanalia are prohibited throughout all Italy except in certain special cases which must be approved specifically by the Senate. (Bacchanalibus: Roman festivals of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom, intoxication and ecstasy.)

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
187 BC187 BC: At his father’s death, Seleucus IV Philopater▲ inherits his father’s kingdom, and his debt to Rome. In order to release Antiochus IV from Rome’s ransom, Seleucus must send his son, Demitrius, in the place of his brother, Antiochus IV.

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
188 BCThe peace treaty of Apamea (in Phrygia), the Romans force the Seleucid king, Antiochus III, to surrender all his Greek and Anatolian possessions as far east as the Taurus Mountains, to pay 15,000 talents over a period of 12 years and to surrender to Rome the former Carthaginian general Hannibal, his elephants and his fleet, and furnish hostages, including the king’s eldest son, Demetrius. Rome is now the master of the eastern Mediterranean while Antiochus III’s empire is reduced to Syria, Mesopotamia, and western Iran.

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
189 BCIn 189 BC, Antiochus III sent his younger son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes to Rome to be held as hostage to ensure Antiochus’ payments to Rome. The boy stayed in Rome for twelve long years until after his father’s death. Antiochus III dies in 187 BC. ▼

189 BC: Cato the Elder criticizes the consul Marcus Fulvius Nobilior for giving awards to Roman soldiers for doing ordinary tasks such as digging wells.

189 BC: The defeat of Antiochus III by the Romans in the Battle of Magnesia robs the Aetolian League of its principal foreign ally and makes it impossible for them to stand alone in continued opposition to Rome. The League is forced to sign a peace treaty with Rome that makes it a subject ally of the Republic. Although the League continues to exist in name, the power of the League is broken by the treaty and it never again constitutes a significant political or military force.

204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
190 BCBorn 190 BC: The only Babylonian astronomer known to have supported a heliocentric model of planetary motion was Seleucus of Seleucia (b. 190 BC). Seleucus is known from the writings of Plutarch. He supported the heliocentric theory where the Earth rotated around its own axis which in turn revolved around the Sun. According to Plutarch, Seleucus even proved the heliocentric system, but it is not known what arguments he used.
Otto E. Neugebauer (1945): “The History of Ancient Astronomy Problems and Methods”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 4 (1), p. 1–38.
George Sarton (1955): “Chaldaean Astronomy of the Last Three Centuries B. C.”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 75 (3), p. 166–173 [169].
William P. D. Wightman (1951, 1953): The Growth of Scientific Ideas, Yale University Press p.38.


204 BC- 180 BC: Ptolemy V Epiphanes Pharoah of Egypt
Continued Timeline Click here Timeline 191 BC – 220 BC
161 BC -190 BC
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