Seleucus IV Philopator

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Seleucus IV Philopator
Seleukos IV Philopator, Tetradrachm, 187-175 BC, HGC 9-580g.jpg
Basileus of the Seleucid Empire
Reign3 July 187 – 3 September 175 BC
PredecessorAntiochus III the Great
Bornc. 218 BC
Died3 September 175 BC
(aged 42–43)
SpouseLaodice IV
Demetrius I Soter
Laodice V
FatherAntiochus III the Great
MotherLaodice III

Seleucus IV Philopator[1] (Greek: Σέλευκος Δ΄ Φιλοπάτωρ; c. 218 – 3 September 175 BC),[2][3] ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, reigned from 187 BC to 175 BC over a realm consisting of Syria (now including Cilicia and Judea), Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Nearer Iran (Media and Persia).


Birth and Family[edit]

He was the second son and successor of Antiochus III the Great and Laodice III. Seleucus IV wed his sister Laodice IV, by whom he had three children: two sons Antiochus, Demetrius I Soter and a daughter Laodice V.

Seleucid Conflict with Rome[edit]

During the prelude to the Roman-Seleucid War, Seleucus was put in charge of the re-established colony of Lysimacheia by his father.[4][5] Upon the outbreak of war, Seleucus commanded his own force, unsuccessfully besieging Pergamon,[6] and taking the city of Phocaea[7] before fighting in the Battle of Magnesia alongside his father.[8] After their defeat at Magnesia, Seleucus was made co-regent in 189 BC[9] and the Seleucids signed the Treaty of Apamea with Rome in 188 BC.[10] As part of the treaty, Seleucus oversaw the supply of grain and scouts to Roman and Pergamene forces during their campaign against the Galatians.[7]


In 187 BC, Antiochus died[10] after looting the Temple of Bel in Elymaïs[11] and Seleucus took over as Basileus. He renewed an alliance with the Achaean League,[11] and almost joined in Pharnaces I's invasion of Galatia, before reconsidering and turning back.[9][11] He also substituted his son Demetrius instead of his brother Antiochus IV as a hostage in Rome.[12]


In 175 BC, Seleucus was assassinated by Heliodorus, one of his leading bureaucrats, who was then replaced by Antiochus IV with support from Pergamon, which was concerned about Rome following recent disputes.[12][9]

In the Judeo-Christian Tradition[edit]

Coin of Seleucus IV Philopator, stamp Greek: (Β)ΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ (ΣΕ)ΛΕΥΚΟΥ

Seleucus is mentioned in the Bible in a prophecy given by a messenger angel in Daniel 11:20. The text states that Seleucus "will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor":[13] the collector is also referred to as an "extortioner" (Jerusalem Bible) or an "exactor of tribute" (Revised Standard Version). The deuterocanonical 2 Maccabees 3:6–7 speaks of reports that:

The treasury in Jerusalem was full of untold sums of money, so that the amount of the funds could not be reckoned, and that they did not belong to the account of the sacrifices, but that it was possible for them to fall under the control of the king. When Apollonius met the king, he told him of the money about which he had been informed. The king chose Heliodorus, who was in charge of his affairs, and sent him with commands to effect the removal of the reported wealth.

The preceding verses also note that:

The kings themselves honored the place (Jerusalem) and glorified the temple with the finest presents, even to the extent that King Seleucus of Asia defrayed from his own revenues all the expenses connected with the service of the sacrifices.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Seleucus IV Philopator".
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. 20 (1973), p. 190
  4. ^ Livius, Titus. Ab Urbe Condita. 35.15.
  5. ^ "Appian, The Syrian Wars 1 - Livius". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Appian, The Syrian Wars 6 - Livius". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b Livius, Titus. Ab Urbe Condita. 37.11.
  8. ^ "Appian, The Syrian Wars 7 - Livius". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony; Eidinow, Esther (2012). The Oxford classical dictionary. p. 1342. ISBN 978-0-19-954556-8. OCLC 779530090.
  10. ^ a b Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony; Eidinow, Esther (2012). The Oxford classical dictionary. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-954556-8. OCLC 779530090.
  11. ^ a b c Siculus, Diodorus. Bibliotheca Historica. 29.10.15.
  12. ^ a b "Appian, The Syrian Wars 9 - Livius". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  13. ^ Daniel 11:20: New International Version
  14. ^ 2 Maccabees 3:6–7: New Revised Standard Version
  15. ^ Laodice III, prior to her marriage to Antiochus III the Great, was a Princess of Pontus and was styled as such.

External links[edit]

Seleucus IV Philopator
Born: c. 218 Died: 175 BC
Preceded by
Antiochus III the Great
Seleucid King
(King of Syria)

187–175 BC
Succeeded by