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220px-Antiokhos IV

Antiochus IV

<Antiochus IV (175-164) was one of the cruelest rulers in history. He tried to spread the Greek culture throughout the empire, which was against the Jewish religion.

A revolt started in 167 B.C., through his edict to change the Jewish religion and customs. The Jews fought the change and were the only people to do so.

Antiochus wanted to stop the Jews from practicing circumcision, observing the Sabbath, or keeping their food laws. In fact, the Jews were to be put to death if they were caught with their "Book of the Law." And, he caused the desecration of the Temple, by burning an unholy sacrifice on the altar.

Eventually the Maccabee family, led by Mattathias, overthrew Antiochus. The Temple was cleansed in 165 B.C.

According to history, Antiochus withdrew to Persia, where he died as a madman. The cleansing of the Temple is observed today by the celebration of Hanukkah, called the feast of lights, in December.

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