Lysias (Syrian chancellor)

Lysias (/ˈlɪsiəs/; Greek: Λυσίας; Hebrew: ליזיאש; died 162 BCE) was a 2nd-century Greek general and governor of Syria under the Seleucid Empire.

Regent of the Seleucid Empire
(Regent of Syria)
Reign163–161 BCE
PredecessorAntiochus IV Epiphanes
SuccessorDemetrius I Soter
King and wardAntiochus V Eupator
Died162 BCE


He was described as, "A noble man, and one of the blood royal". Antiochus IV Epiphanes (circa 166 BCE) left him with the government of Southern Syria and the guardianship of his son, while Antiochus went in person into Persia to collect the revenues which were not coming in satisfactorily.[1]

According to Josephus,[2] the instructions of Lysias were "to conquer Judea, enslave its inhabitants, utterly destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole nation." Lysias, accordingly, armed against Judas Maccabeus a large force under Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes, Nicanor and Gorgias. Of this force Judas defeated the two divisions under Nicanor and Gorgias near Emmaus (166 BCE), and in the following year Lysias himself at Beth-zur (Bethsura),[3] after which he proceeded to the purification of the temple.

In the narration of these campaigns there are considerable differences between the writers of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees which scholars have not found easy to explain. Antiochus died at Babylon on his Persian expedition (164 BCE), and Lysias assumed the office of regent during the minority of his son, who was yet a child.[4] He collected another army at Antioch, and after the re-capture of Beth-zur was besieging Jerusalem when he learned of the approach of Philip to whom Antiochus, on his deathbed, had entrusted the guardianship of the prince.[5] He defeated Philip in 163 BCE and was supported at Rome, but in the following year he fell with his ward Antiochus into the hands of Demetrius I, who put both of them to death.[6]

See also


  1. 1 Macc 3:32; 2 Macc 10:11
  2. Ant., XII, vii, 2
  3. 1 Macc 4
  4. 1 Macc 6:17
  5. 1 Macc 6:48-54; 2 Macc 13:18-22
  6. 1 Macc 7:1-23


  • Hutchinson, J. (1915). "Lysias". International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eds. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. Retrieved December 9, 2005.