Year 163 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Gracchus and Thalna (or, less frequently, year 591 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 163 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Dominicalendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
In the turmoil following the death of Antiochus IV, the governor of Media, Timarchus becomes the independent ruler of Media, opposing Lysias who is acting as regent for young king Antiochus V Eupator.
Lysias tries to make peace with the Jews in Judea. He offers them full religious freedom if they will lay down their arms. Even though the Chasidim consent, Judas Maccabeus argues for full political as well as religious freedom.