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    Piercing Portrait

    SELEUCID KINGDOM. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC). AR tetradrachm (30mm, 17.08 gm, 12h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. Ake-Ptolemais, ca. 167-164 BC. Diademed head of Antiochus right, AB monogram behind  / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ NIKHΦOPOY, Zeus enthroned left, holding in let hand lotus-tipped scepter and in right Nike holding wreath, palm branch in outer left field, AB monogram below throne. SC 1476.3. Crisply struck in brilliant metal, with a piercing portrait of this complex ruler.

    From the Northern California Collection. Acquired from Palladium Numismatics, 1997.

    Antiochus IV Epiphanes has gone down in history as a tyrant and megalomaniac whose clumsy efforts to force Greek-style worship on his subjects forced the Jews into full revolt under the Maccabees. His assumption of the title Epiphanes ("God manifest") in particular provoked resentment, as it seemed his was demanding to be worshiped as the earthly embodiment of Zeus, which the Jews termed an abomination (in a play on words, they nicknamed him Epimanes or "madman"). His pillaging of the great Temple in Jerusalem turned resistance into outright revolt, and years of bitter warfare with his erstwhile subjects followed, leading ultimately to the Jewish recapture of Jerusalem and the festival of Hanukkah. 


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