Erich Lessing

So revolting was circumcision deemed by many in the Greco-Roman world that there were times when the practice was banned. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid ruler of Syria and Palestine from 175–163 B.C.E., shown here on a tetradrachm coin, went so far as to order death for anyone who carried out circumcision. This and other anti-Jewish decrees by Antiochus sparked the successful Maccabean revolt against his rule, still celebrated by the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.