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LYSIAS ° (d. 162 b.c.e.), Syrian general during the Hasmonean War. When in the spring of 165 b.c.e. Antiochus iv went on an expedition to the east he appointed Lysias ruler of the western sector of the Seleucid empire, from the Euphrates to the border of Egypt. Lysias was charged, among other things, with the care of the heir apparent and the crushing of the revolt of Judah Maccabee during the emperor's absence (i Macc. 3:31–37). Lysias accordingly sent an army under *Gorgias against Judah, but the defeat of Gorgias in the battle of Emmaus compelled him to march in person against Judea. According to i Maccabees (though some scholars cast doubt on the veracity of this account) fortune did not favor Lysias, and as a result of his failure the persecutions were abolished and a general amnesty proclaimed by Antiochus iv. On the death of Antiochus shortly afterward, Lysias became regent and de facto ruler of the empire, in the name of Antiochus v who was a minor. Judah's attempt to capture the *Acra compelled Lysias to come again to Judea, this time with a large army, and accompanied by the king. At the battle of Bet Zekharyah (163 b.c.e.) the Syrians gained the upper hand and Lysias besieged Judah and his followers who had fortified themselves within the Temple. He was, however, forced to raise the siege in order to fight against Philip, who had been appointed heir by Antiochus before his death. Lysias, whose influence with the young king was paramount, made peace with Judah and in addition to rescinding the edicts, restored the Temple to the Jews. The evidence in ii Maccabees 11 completes the general picture and confirms Lysias' willingness to pacify the Jews not only by military means but also by rescinding the decrees and restoring religious freedom. When Demetrius i was appointed to the Syrian throne, Lysias was put to death.


Schuerer, Hist., 31f., 36–39.

[Uriel Rappaport]