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From the Seleucids to the Coming of Rome

201-63 BCE

Last updated: March 30, 2014

Egypt Judea Seleucids






Ptolemy VI Philometor (he who loves his mother) 180-145 became king when he was 6.  Cleopatra Syra I, his mother, was regent 180-176. Cleopatra I was sister to Antiochus IV. Hence Ptolemy VI was nephew of Antiochus IV. Ptolemy VI was married to Cleopatra II, his sister, and they had at least five children: Ptolemy Eupator, Cleopatra Thea, Berenice, Cleopatra III [married to her uncle Ptolemy VIII], and Ptolemy VII (who was murdered by Ptolemy VIII Euergetes his uncle). Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII were brothers and co-regents 169-164. Ptolemy VI supported the Israelite high priest Onias III. Ptolemy VI's Egypt was invaded by Antiochus IV (1 Macc 1:17-19). Later Ptolemy VI died from wounds in a battle against Alexander Balas when Ptolemy VI supported Demetrius II against Alexander.


Cleopatra I    




   Cleopatra II


Ptolemy VI


Simon, a priest (perhaps from the clan of Bilgah) told the Seleucids that there was a great deal of money in the temple treasury. Seleucus IV sent Heliodorus to steal that money, but he was badly beaten by divine intervention (2 Macc 3:1-40). Simon later slandered Onias III. 2 Macc 4:1-6.

Onias III high priest 190-174, the son of Simon II. He was the last Oniad to inherit the post. Murdered by Andronicus at the instigation of Menelaus. 2 Macc 4:33-34; Dan 9:26; 1 Enoch 90:8. Andronicus in turn was executed by Antiochus IV (2 Macc 4:35-38). 


A man named Zollos offered a vow "to the god who is in Dan."





 Seleucus IV Philopator 187-175. Mentioned in 1, 2, and 4 Maccabees. Son and successor of Antiochus III. His mother was Laodice III. Married to Laodice IV his sister. Sent his son Demetrius I to replace Antiochus IV as a hostage in Rome.

Seleucus IV

Heliodorus Stele. 

Seleucus IV appointed Olympiodorus as an overseer of sanctuaries, within the province of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, including the temple at Jerusalem. Established interdependence between sanctuaries and the empire. This marked the increased financial oversight of local sanctuaries. When Heliodorus invaded the Jerusalem temple in order to steal from its treasury, he was beaten by divine intervention. 2 Macc 3:1-4:6; Dan 11:20

Seleucus IV was killed on September 3, 175 B.C.E. by Heliodorus, who had helped Seleucus IV to the throne and had been sent to Jerusalem to rob the temple (2 Macc 3:1-40).

Cleopatra Thea, daughter of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II, married a series of Seleucids: Alexander Balas in 150 [their son was Antiochus VI Dionysus]; Demetrius II Nicator in 146 [their sons were Seleucus V and Antiochus VIII]; and Antiochus VII Sidetes in 138 [their son was Antiochus IX].



Cleopatra Thea




Nash Papyrus from Egypt containing Decalogue and Shema. 2nd. c.


Jason (Jesus), the brother of Onias III, became  high priest 175-172 because of a bribe he paid. He was given the right to establish a gymnasium in Jerusalem, to establish an ephebate (body of youth enrolled in the gymnasium), and to enroll the people of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch.  (2 Macc 4:7-10)

Antiochus IV replaced Jason with Menelaus, the brother of Simon (above), who had slandered Onias III. Menelaus was supported by the Tobiads. Menelaus purchased office for himself, using money sent by Jason. Jason fled to Ammon (2 Macc 4:26) when Menelaus became high priest, and led a revolt against Menelaus in 169/168 when he had heard a rumor that Antiochus had died (2 Macc 5:5-10). He slaughtered his own citizens. Jason is a Greek name. Jason's revolt provided an opportunity for Antiochus to solidify Seleucid control of Judea. Jason had a miserable end (2 Macc 5:7-10).

Menelaus high priest 172-162 2 Macc 4:23-50. Purchased office of high priest by outbidding Jason by 300 talents, but failed to keep up his payments to the Seleucid king (2 Macc 4:23-27. He stole items from the temple and gave them to Andronicus, who killed Onias III at the suggestion of Menelaus (2 Macc 4:32-34; cf. Dan 9:26). The Tobiads supported Menelaus. Menelaus was the first high priest not to be descended from Joshua, the first high priest after the exile (2 Macc 3:4).

Lysimachus, brother of Menelaus and Simon, appointed deputy high priest. He also stole from the temple (2 Macc 4:29). Lysimachus was killed by a rioting crowd (2 Macc 4:29, 42). Jerusalem's council of elders brought charges against Menelaus before the king (2 Macc 4:43), but he gained acquittal by bribery and death for his accusers. Menelaus was later executed (2 Macc 13:3-8).

Daniel 167-164

Death of Mattathias 166 1 Macc 2:70. His five sons were: John (killed by the Nabateans), Simon, Judas, Eleazar (killed by an elephant), and Jonathan. They decided to defend themselves on Sabbath 1 Macc 2:39-41.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175-164 (brother of Seleucus IV and son of Antiochus III). Married to Laodice IV, his sister and widow of Seleucus IV. Invaded Egypt twice during reign of Ptolemy VI, in 169 and 168. 1 Macc 1:16-19. Attacked Jerusalem 1 Macc 1:20-28 (after first invasion of Egypt); 2 Macc 5:11-26--he killed 40,000 and sold 40,000 into slavery; plundered temple; Apollonius sent to occupy the city; he attacked on the Sabbath (after second invasion of Egypt); Dan 11:28-29; 2 Macc 5:1. Romans forced him to break off second invasion of Egypt. Temple defiled by Antiochus in 167. Now it was called temple of Olympian Zeus. Abomination of Desolation. 1 Macc 1:51-64; 2 Macc 6:1-10; Dan 9:27; 11:31-35; 12:11. Campaigned in Persia in 165 1 Macc 3:27-37. Death of Antiochus in 164 1 Macc 6:1-17; 2 Macc 9:1-29; 10:10-11; Dan 11:40-45 gives a mistaken report of his death.

170-168 Sixth Syrian War of Antiochus IV against Ptolemy VI, his nephew. Roman intervention ended the war.

Antiochus IV

Citadel 167-141 was locus for opposition to Maccabees. Its end reported in 1 Macc 13:51.







Antiochus V Eupator 164-162. Accession 2 Macc 10:10-13). Son of Antiochus IV and Laodice IV. Contenders for regency were Lysias and Philip. Lysias and Antiochus V executed by Demetrius I Soter his cousin 1 Macc 7:1-7; 2 Macc 14:1-2.

Antiochus V


Judas Maccabeus 166-160. Treaty with Rome in 161. 1 Macc 8:1-32. Death at Elasa 1 Macc 9:18

Judas defeated Apollonius, governor of Samaria 1 Macc 3:10-12; and he defeated Seron, commander of Syrian army at Beth-horon 1 Macc 3:13-26. He also defeated Lysius at Beth-zur (20 miles south of Jerusalem) 1 Macc 4:26-35. Cleansing and rededication of the temple 1 Macc 4:36-61

Eleazar killed by elephant 1 Macc 6:46.

Alcimus (Yakim) high priest 162-159 1 Macc 7:9-18; 2 Macc 14:3-10. Appointed by Demetrius I Soter. Alcimus makes accusations about Judas to Demetrius.

Relations with Rome 1 Maccabees 8.

160 Judas defeated Nicanor (2 Macc 15:1-35), but was killed in battle later in the year (1 Macc 9:18).

Alcimus  died in great agony 1 Macc 9:55-56. High priesthood remains open until 152. 

Jonathan 152-142; named high priest by Alexander Balas. 1 Macc 10:15-21; killed by DiodotusTryphon 1 Macc 12:40-53; 13:13-23. Jonathan extended Maccabean rule over the Jews. The Akra was still in Seleucid hands.  Jonathan may be  the "Wicked priest" in Dead Sea Scrolls

MACCERA.JPG (442612 bytes)
Map of Maccabean era

Demetrius I Soter 161-150. 2 Macc 14:1-2. Son of Seleucus IV and Laodice IV. Nephew of Antiochus IV. Appointed Alcimus high priest. Sent him and Bacchides against Judah. Hasideans wanted to seek peace. Alcimus killed 60 of them. Demetrius defeated and killed by Alexander Balas near Antioch. Earlier he had taken the place of Antiochus IV as a hostage in  Rome

                                              Demetrius I

Appointed Alcimus high priest. 1 Macc 7:4-50; 9:1-57; 2 Maccabees 14







Alexander I Balas Epiphanes 152-145 named Jonathan high priest. He claimed to be son of Antiochus IV. 1 Macc 10:1. Married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of Ptolemy VI. Their son is Antiochus VI. 146 revolt of Demetrius II.  Cleopatra Thea leaves Alexander  and marries Demetrius II. 1 Macc 10:51-66. Alexander I Balas flees and is killed by Nabataean Arabs.

   Alexander Balas and Thea


Onias IV, son of the high priest, Onias III,  established a Jewish temple at Leontopolis (eastern Nile Delta)

Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator 145.  Possibly the son of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II. Married his sister Cleopatra III;  murdered by Ptolemy VIII his uncle.  Reigned briefly with his father Ptolemy VI. 

 Ptolemy VII coin





Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Physcon 170-63; 145-116. Younger brother of Ptolemy VI. Their parents were Ptolemy V and Cleopatra I. Ptolemy VIII murdered Ptolemy VII his nephew, and married Ptolemy VII's mother, Cleopatra II, the widow of Ptolemy VI.  She wanted to make her son-in-law, Demetrius II, (husband of Cleopatra Thea) king of Egypt.  Later he married his niece Cleopatra III, who was the daughter of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II. Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III had two sons, Ptolemy IX and Ptolemy X, and two  daughters Tryphaena and Cleopatra V Selene, who married Antiochus VIII Grypus. Ptolemy VIII ruled jointly with Ptolemy VI until the latter's death. Ptolemy VIII left his throne to Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX her son. His alternate name Physcon means pot-belly.



Ptolemy VIII













Jonathan captured by Trypho and killed in 142     1 Macc 12:50.



Simon III high priest 142-134. Demetrius II recognized Simon as high priest 1 Macc 13:36-41. The yoke of the Gentiles was lifted from Israel. 1 Macc 14:25-49 names Simon  "high priest forever." Simon captured Gezer and Akra (1 Macc 13:49-52). Simon was killed, with his sons, by his son-in-law Ptolemy son of Abubus at Dok, near Jericho 1 Macc 16:11-17

Founding of Qumran Community?


Demetrius II Nicator 145-138, 129-125; defeated Alexander Balas with help of Ptolemy VI; confirmed Jonathan as high priest (1 Macc 11:27) and gave him the title "friend.". Son of Demetrius I. 1 Macc 11:1-19. Married to Cleopatra Thea (former wife of Alexander I Balas). Their sons: Seleucus V Philometor and Antiochus VIII Grypus.  Demetrius taken captive by Parthians.

Demetrius II


Antiochus VI Epiphanes Dionysus 145-142; son of Alexander Balas and Cleopatra Thea daughter of Ptolemy VI. He was two years old when he came to the throne. He also confirmed Jonathan as high priest. Executed by Diodotus Tryphon, who claims throne for himself.

Antiochus VI

Diodotus Tryphon 140-138 1 Macc 12:39. A general of Demetrius I Soter, he murdered Antiochus VI for whom he was regent. He also executed Jonathan the high priest. When attacked by Antiochus VII, he committed suicide.

Diodotus Tryphon





























Cleopatra III

Ptolemy IX Soter II 116-110; 109-107, 88-81. Intervening periods ruled by his brother Ptolemy X Alexander. His mother and queen = Cleopatra III. Cleopatra expelled Ptolemy IX from Egypt--she was allied with Alexander Jannaeus, a Hasmonean.. Ptolemy IX was king in Cyprus from 107-88; defeated Alexander Jannaeus in 103.  Destroyed Thebes.  Married to Cleopatra IV, his full sister and later to Cleopatra Selene I. Ptolemy IX melted down sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Berenice III, daughter of Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra Selene I, ruled for one year after his death. She was forced to marry her stepson Alexander, who ruled as Ptolemy XI Alexander II, who killed her nineteen days later.


Ptolemy IX

Cleopatra III 107-101.  Co-regent with Ptolemy X, her son.

Ptolemy X Alexander I 110-109 and 107-88. Son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III. Killed his mother Cleopatra III in 101. Married his niece Cleopatra Berenice III, daughter of Ptolemy IX.  Expelled and replaced by Ptolemy IX Soter II, his brother. Eventually Ptolemy X died in battle.


Ptolemy X

Berenice III 81-80  (and jointly with Ptolemy X 101-88). Ruled for six months and gained the love of the people. Forced to marry Ptolemy XI Alexander II, who had her killed nineteen days later. He also killed her grandmother Cleopatra III. This led people to kill him.























Ptolemy XI Alexander II 80. Illegitimate son of Ptolemy X; married Ptolemy IX's daughter and his stepmother, Cleopatra Berenice III, whom he murdered.  He was consequently torn in pieces by an enraged mob

Ptolemy XI






Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos (Auletes--the Flutist) 80-58 and 55-51.  Illegitimate son of Ptolemy IX; married to Cleopatra Tryphaenia, who was daughter of Ptolemy IX or Ptolemy X. Exiled for a time in Rome during which his daughter Berenice IV became his successor (also with Cleopatra VI). Paid bribes to Julius Caesar and Pompey. On his restoration he killed Berenice IV. Helped Pompey in 63.  Father of Ptolemy XIII, XIV, and Cleopatra VI and Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator. 


Ptolemy XII (left); god Heh (center)


John Hyrcanus I, son of Simon III 134-104--demolished Samaria and destroyed temple on Mt. Gerizim. It remained in ruins until it was replaced by a temple of Zeus Hypsistos in the time of Hadrian. The destruction of the temple made the split between Jews and Samaritans final.  Hycanus was first Hasmonaean to mint coins. high priest 1 Macc 16:18-24

Green 110 BCE; purple area conquered by John Hyrcanus

Legend: Yehohanan (John) the high priest and the Council of the Jews























Judas Aristobulus I 104-103; starved his mother to death and executed his brother Antigonus. Aristobulus was the first Hasmonean to call himself king.



Alexander Jannaeus 103-76; brother of Aristobulus I; married to Salome Alexandra.  Pharisees brought Demetrius III against him.   Called "furious young lion" in Dead Sea Scrolls.. Pelted with citrons at festival of Tabernacles. Crucified 800 Pharisees.

Coins of Alexander Jannaeus

Temple Scroll from Qumran

War Scroll from Qumran

1 and 2 Maccabees written during reign of Alexander Jannaeus (Goldstein). 1 Maccabees is pro Hasmonaean; 2 Maccabees offers a critical response to 1 Maccabees.

















Salome Alexandra  76-67; ardently supported by Pharisees

Hyrcanus II high priest 76-67, 63-40.  He is the son of Alexander Jannaeus and Salome Alexandra














Aristobulus II 67-63; brother of Hyrcanus II; supported by the Sadducees

Pompey conquers Jerusalem in 63

Antiochus VII Sidetes 138-129; son of Demetrius I and younger brother of Demetrius II. He invaded Judea in 135/134 and reasserted Seleucid rule for a time. He committed suicide.. He married Cleopatra Thea (she had previously been married to Alexander I Balas and Demetrius II his brother). Their son was Antiochus IX Cyzicenus. Antiochus VII recognized John Hyrcanus as high priest.

Antiochus VII

Demetrius II 129-125. Also had ruled 145-139. He tried to intervene in Egyptian civil war, supporting Cleopatra II, the mother of his first wife Cleopatra Thea. He was killed on a ship near Tyre.

Demetrius II

Alexander II Zabinas 129-123. May have been son of Alexander I Balas. Supported by Ptolemy VIII.  Alexander II is defeated, captured, and executed by Antiochus VIII Grypus.
                                    Alexander II Zabinas

Seleucus V Philometor. Son of Demetrius II and Cleopatra Thea 125. She may have killed him.

Cleopatra Thea. Daughter of Ptolemy VI. 125-121. Married to Alexander Balas, Demetrius II, and Antiochus VII. Mother of Antiochus VI (through Alexander I Balas), Seleucus V (through Demetrius II), Antiochus VIII (through Demetrius II), and Antiochus IX (through Antiochus VII). She was co-regent with with Antiochus VIII, who forced her to commit suicide).

Cleopatra Thea and her co-regent Antiochus VIII, her son via Demetrius II


Antiochus VIII Grypus 125-96. Son of Demetrius II. His mother was Cleopatra Thea, and she was co-regent. She killed Seleucus V Philometor, her son and the older brother of Antiochus VIII, and tried to kill Antiochus VIII Grypus. He forced her to drink poisoned wine and she died in 121. Antiochus VIII was married to Tryphaena and Cleopatra V Selene, both daughters of Ptolemy VIII. Leader of northern branch of the Seleucid dynasty. After his death Cleopatra V married Antiochus IX. 

Antiochus VIII

Antiochus IX Cyzicenus 115-95  Son of Antiochus VII Sidetes and Cleopatra Thea. Married to Cleopatra IV (divorced wife of Ptolemy IX), and Cleopatra V Selene, both were daughters of Ptolemy VIII. She was formerly wife of Antiochus VIII. After 114, the Seleucid dynasty was divided into a northern and a southern branch. Antiochus IX led the southern branch, and Antiochus VIII, his half-brother, the northern branch. Antiochus IX killed in battle by Seleucus VI Epiphanes.


Antiochus IX      Antiochus IX; Athena bearing Nike

Seleucus VI Epiphanes Nicator. 96-94. Son of Antiochus VIII Grypus and his wife Cleopatra V Selene. Led northern branch of dynasty. Defeated Antiochus IX. Antiochus X kills his cousin Seleucus VI and burns him alive.

Seleucus VI

Antiochus X Eusebes Philopator. 95-88. Son of Antiochus IX Cyzicenus.  Led southern branch of dynasty. Defeated Seleucus VI Epiphanes, avenging the death of his father.  Married to Cleopatra V Selene his step mother. Their son was Antiochus XIII Asiaticus. Defeated by Partian ruler Mithridates Sinaces.

Antiochus X

Demetrius III Eucaerus or Philopator 97/96-88/87; son of Antiochus VIII and Tryphaena or Cleopatra V Selene. Successor of Seleucus VI and leader of southern dynasty. Put on the throne by Ptolemy IX. Defeated Alexander Jannaeus the Hasmonaean king. Captured by the Parthians and died in captivity. Succeeded by his younger brother Antiochus XI Dionysus??

Demetrius III

Antiochus XI Epiphanes Philadelphus. 95-92. Son of Antiochus VIII and Tryphaena. Leader of the northern branch of the dynasty. Colleague or rival of his brother Seleucus VI. Sole ruler of north after 94. Defeated and killed by Antiochus X, who took  over the northern dynasty.

Antiochus XI

Phillip I Philadelphus 95-84/83; brother of Demetrius III. Fourth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus and Tryphaena or Cleopatra V. Colleague/rival his his twin brother Demetrius III.Succeeded by Antiocus XIII Asiaticus.

Philip I

Antiochus XII Dionysus Epiphanes 87-83/82. Fifth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus and Tryphaena or Cleopatra V Selene.. Rules in Damascus.  Defeated and killed by Nabataean Arabs. Damascus seized by Ptolemy of Chalcis.

Antiochus XII

Tigranes II of Armenia 95-55. Takes over remnant of Seleucid kingdom.

Tigranes II

Seleucus VII Kybiosaktes or Philometor 83-69. His mother was Cleopatra Selene. Father was Antiochus X.

Antiochus XIII Asiaticus  69-64. Son of Antiochus X and Cleopatra Selene I. Lucullus appointed Antiochus XIII as ruler of Syria. His death ended Syrian dynasty.

Antiochus XIII Asiaticus

Philip II Philoromaeus (friend of the Romans) 65-64. Son of Philip I. Expels his relative Antiochus XIII from Antioch. Tries to obtain Ptolemaic throne by marrying Berenice IV, but the Roman governor of Syria prevents this.

Syria becomes a Roman province in 64

Egypt Judea Seleucids