Antiochus IV in life and death: Evidence from the babylonian astronomical diaries1

Dov Gera, Wayne Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses Babylonian astronomical diaries for the years 169-163 B. C. E., which mention Antiochus IV Epiphanes and consequently bear chronological implications for Seleucid history. While the documents discussed do not upset the accepted reconstruction of Seleucid history, they add to our knowledge of the period. The first diary discussed mentions a "procession" (pompḗ). We claim that this procession should not be identified with Antiochus IV's famous procession at Daphne but was a local festival of the Greeks of Babylon, celebrated in honor of their king's victorious Egyptian campaign. There are two significant notices in a diary for 165. The first refers to Antiochus' Armenian expedition while the second, it is argued, alludes to his efforts to explore the Persian Gulf. The diary's date and the geographical information it contains add to our knowledge of Antiochus IV's movements during that year. The last diary mentions a party escorting the corpse of a king, who must be Antiochus IV. On the basis of Jewish sources, the party's leader is identified as Philip, the dead king's sýntrophos. His presence in Babylon in Tebet 163. supplies an additional argument in favor of dating Lysias' second campaign against the Jews to that year.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-252
JournalJournal of the American Oriental Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


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