Seleucid Empire

The Seleucid Empire (/sɪˈljuːsɪd/;[6] Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, Basileía tōn Seleukidōn) was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC; Seleucus I Nicator founded it following the division of the Macedonian Empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great.[7][8][9][10] Seleucus received Babylonia (321 BC) and from there expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan.

The Seleucid Empire became a major center of Hellenistic culture – it maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated, mostly in the urban areas.[10][11][12][13] The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece.[10][11] Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece halted abruptly in the early 2nd century BC after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Seleucid attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands. Having come into conflict in the East (305 BC) with Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire, Seleucus I entered into an agreement with Chandragupta whereby he ceded vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan and offered his daughter in marriage to the Maurya Emperor to formalize the alliance.

Antiochus III the Great attempted to project Seleucid power and authority into Hellenistic Greece, but his attempts were thwarted by the Roman Republic and by Greek allies such as the Kingdom of Pergamon, culminating in a Seleucid defeat at the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia. In the subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, the Seleucids were compelled to pay costly war reparations and relinquished claims to territories west of the Taurus Mountains. The Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia conquered much of the remaining eastern part of the Seleucid Empire in the mid-2nd century BC, while the independent Greco-Bactrian Kingdom continued to flourish in the northeast. However, the Seleucid kings continued to rule a rump state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 BC and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC.

Seleucid Empire

Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν
312 BC–63 BC
Tetradrachm of Seleucus I - the horned horse, the elephant and the anchor all served as symbols of the Seleucid monarchy.[1][2] of Seleucid Empire
Tetradrachm of Seleucus I - the horned horse, the elephant and the anchor all served as symbols of the Seleucid monarchy.[1][2]
The empire at its greatest extent prior to the Seleucid–Mauryan war[disputed – discuss]
The empire at its greatest extent prior to the Seleucid–Mauryan war
Capital
Common languages
Religion
GovernmentMonarchy
Basileus 
• 305–281 BC
Seleucus I (first)
• 65–63 BC
Philip II (last)
Historical eraHellenistic period
312 BC
301 BC
192–188 BC
188 BC
167–160 BC
63 BC
Area
303 BC[5]3,000,000 km2 (1,200,000 sq mi)
301 BC[5]3,900,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi)
240 BC[5]2,600,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi)
175 BC[5]800,000 km2 (310,000 sq mi)
100 BC[5]100,000 km2 (39,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Macedonian Empire
Maurya Empire
Province of Syria
Parthian Empire
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Hasmonean kingdom
Osroene

Name

Contemporary sources, such as a loyalist degree from Ilium, in Greek language define the Seleucid state both as an empire (arche) and as a kingdom (basileia). Similarly, Seleucid rulers were described as kings in Babylonia.[14]

Starting from the 2nd century BC, ancient writers referred to the Seleucid ruler as the King of Syria, Lord of Asia, and other designations;[15] the evidence for the Seleucid rulers representing themselves as kings of Syria is provided by the inscription of Antigonus son of Menophilus, who described himself as the "admiral of Alexander, king of Syria". He refers to either Alexander Balas or Alexander II Zabinas as a ruler.[16]

History

Partition of Alexander's empire

Alexander, who quickly conquered the Persian Empire under its last Achaemenid dynast, Darius III, died young in 323 BC, leaving an expansive empire of partly Hellenised culture without an adult heir. The empire was put under the authority of a regent in the person of Perdiccas, and the territories were divided among Alexander's generals, who thereby became satraps, at the Partition of Babylon, all in that same year.

Rise of Seleucus

Alexander's generals (the Diadochi) jostled for supremacy over parts of his empire. Ptolemy, a former general and the satrap of Egypt, was the first to challenge the new system; this led to the demise of Perdiccas. Ptolemy's revolt led to a new subdivision of the empire with the Partition of Triparadisus in 320 BC. Seleucus, who had been "Commander-in-Chief of the Companion cavalry" (hetairoi) and appointed first or court chiliarch (which made him the senior officer in the Royal Army after the regent and commander-in-chief Perdiccas since 323 BC, though he helped to assassinate him later) received Babylonia and, from that point, continued to expand his dominions ruthlessly. Seleucus established himself in Babylon in 312 BC, the year used as the foundation date of the Seleucid Empire.

Babylonian War (311-309 BC)

The rise of Seleucus in Babylon threatened the eastern extent of Antigonus I territory in Asia. Antigonus, along with his son Demetrius I of Macedon, unsuccessfully led a campaign to annex Babylon. The victory of Seleucus ensured his claim of Babylon and legitimacy. He ruled not only Babylonia, but the entire enormous eastern part of Alexander's empire, as described by Appian:

Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he [Seleucus] acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Persis, Parthia, Bactria, Arabia, Tapouria, Sogdia, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus.[17]

Seleucid–Mauryan War (305-303 BC)

In the region of Punjab, Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrokottos) founded the Maurya Empire in 321 BC. Chandragupta conquered the Nanda Empire in Magadha, and relocated to the capital of Pataliputra. Chandragupta then redirected his attention back to the Indus and by 317 BC he conquered the remaining Greek satraps left by Alexander. Expecting a confrontation, Seleucus gathered his army and marched to the Indus. It is said that Chandragupta himself fielded an army of 600,000 men and 9,000 war elephants.[18]

Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory, sealed in a treaty, west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan.[19][20] Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. According to Appian:

He [Seleucus] crossed the Indus and waged war with Sandrocottus [Maurya], king of the Indians, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship.[21]

Chandra Gupta Maurya entertains his bride from Babylon
"Chandra Gupta Maurya entertains his bride from Babylon": a conjectural interpretation of the "marriage agreement" between the Seleucids and Chandragupta Maurya, related by Appian[22]

It is generally thought that Chandragupta married Seleucus's daughter, or a Macedonian princess, a gift from Seleucus to formalize an alliance. In a return gesture, Chandragupta sent 500 war elephants,[23][24][25][26][27] a military asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC. In addition to this treaty, Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta, and later Deimakos to his son Bindusara, at the Mauryan court at Pataliputra (modern Patna in Bihar state). Megasthenes wrote detailed descriptions of India and Chandragupta's reign, which have been partly preserved to us through Diodorus Siculus. Later Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt and contemporary of Ashoka the Great, is also recorded by Pliny the Elder as having sent an ambassador named Dionysius to the Mauryan court.[28]

The Indians occupy [in part] some of the countries situated along the Indus, which formerly belonged to the Persians: Alexander deprived the Ariani of them, and established there settlements of his own. But Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta Maurya) in consequence of a marriage contract, and received in return five hundred elephants.[29]

Other territories lost before Seleucus' death were Gedrosia in the south-east of the Iranian plateau, and, to the north of this, Arachosia on the west bank of the Indus River.

Westward expansion

Following his and Lysimachus' victory over Antigonus Monophthalmus at the decisive Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, Seleucus took control over eastern Anatolia and northern Syria.

In the latter area, he founded a new capital at Antioch on the Orontes, a city he named after his father. An alternative capital was established at Seleucia on the Tigris, north of Babylon. Seleucus's empire reached its greatest extent following his defeat of his erstwhile ally, Lysimachus, at Corupedion in 281 BC, after which Seleucus expanded his control to encompass western Anatolia. He hoped further to take control of Lysimachus's lands in Europe – primarily Thrace and even Macedonia itself, but was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus on landing in Europe.

His son and successor, Antiochus I Soter, was left with an enormous realm consisting of nearly all of the Asian portions of the Empire, but faced with Antigonus II Gonatas in Macedonia and Ptolemy II Philadelphus in Egypt, he proved unable to pick up where his father had left off in conquering the European portions of Alexander's empire.

Breakup of Central Asian territories

DiodotusGoldCoin
In Bactria, the satrap Diodotus asserted independence to form the Greco-Bactrian kingdom c. 245 BC.
Oborzos drachm
Drachm of the Frataraka ruler Vahbarz (Oborzos), thought to have initiated the independence of Persis from the Seleucid Empire. The coin shows on the reverse an Achaemenid king slaying an armoured, possibly Greek or Macedonian, soldier.[30][31][32] This possibly refers to the events related by Polyainos (Strat. 7.40), in which Vahbarz (Oborzos) is said to have killed 3000 Seleucid settlers.[33][30][34]

Antiochus I (reigned 281–261 BC) and his son and successor Antiochus II Theos (reigned 261–246 BC) were faced with challenges in the west, including repeated wars with Ptolemy II and a Celtic invasion of Asia Minor—distracting attention from holding the eastern portions of the Empire together. Towards the end of Antiochus II's reign, various provinces simultaneously asserted their independence, such as Bactria and Sogdiana under Diodotus, Cappadocia under Ariarathes III, and Parthia under Andragoras. A few years later, the latter was defeated and killed by the invading Parni of Arsaces – the region would then become the core of the Parthian Empire.

Diodotus, governor for the Bactrian territory, asserted independence in around 245 BC, although the exact date is far from certain, to form the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. This kingdom was characterized by a rich Hellenistic culture and was to continue its domination of Bactria until around 125 BC when it was overrun by the invasion of northern nomads. One of the Greco-Bactrian kings, Demetrius I of Bactria, invaded India around 180 BC to form the Indo-Greek Kingdoms.

The rulers of Persis, called Fratarakas, also seem to have established some level of independence from the Seleucids during the 3rd century BC, especially from the time of Vahbarz. They would later overtly take the title of Kings of Persis, before becoming vassals to the newly formed Parthian Empire.[30][31][32]

The Seleucid satrap of Parthia, named Andragoras, first claimed independence, in a parallel to the secession of his Bactrian neighbour. Soon after, however, a Parthian tribal chief called Arsaces invaded the Parthian territory around 238 BC to form the Arsacid dynasty, from which the Parthian Empire originated.

Antiochus II's son Seleucus II Callinicus came to the throne around 246 BC. Seleucus II was soon dramatically defeated in the Third Syrian War against Ptolemy III of Egypt and then had to fight a civil war against his own brother Antiochus Hierax. Taking advantage of this distraction, Bactria and Parthia seceded from the empire. In Asia Minor too, the Seleucid dynasty seemed to be losing control: the Gauls had fully established themselves in Galatia, semi-independent semi-Hellenized kingdoms had sprung up in Bithynia, Pontus, and Cappadocia, and the city of Pergamum in the west was asserting its independence under the Attalid Dynasty. The Seleucid economy started to show the first signs of weakness, as Galatians gained independence and Pergamum took control of coastal cities in Anatolia. Consequently, they managed to partially block contact with the West.[35]

Revival (223–191 BC)

AntiochusIII
Silver coin of Antiochus III the Great.
Seleucid-Empire 200bc
The Seleucid Empire in 200 BC (before expansion into Anatolia and Greece).

A revival would begin when Seleucus II's younger son, Antiochus III the Great, took the throne in 223 BC. Although initially unsuccessful in the Fourth Syrian War against Egypt, which led to a defeat at the Battle of Raphia (217 BC), Antiochus would prove himself to be the greatest of the Seleucid rulers after Seleucus I himself. He spent the next ten years on his anabasis (journey) through the eastern parts of his domain and restoring rebellious vassals like Parthia and Greco-Bactria to at least nominal obedience. He won the Battle of the Arius and besieged the Bactrian capital, and even emulated Alexander with an expedition into India where he met with king Sophagasenus (Sanskrit: Subhagasena) receiving war elephants.

Actual translation of Polybius 11.34 (No other source except Polybius makes any reference to Sophagasenus):

"He (Antiochus) crossed the Caucasus Indicus (Paropamisus) (Hindu Kush) and descended into India; renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus the king of the Indians; received more elephants, until he had a hundred and fifty altogether; and having once more provisioned his troops, set out again personally with his army: leaving Androsthenes of Cyzicus the duty of taking home the treasure which this king had agreed to hand over to him.[36] Having traversed Arachosia and crossed the river Enymanthus, he came through Drangene to Carmania; and as it was now winter, he put his men into winter quarters there."[37]

When he returned to the west in 205 BC, Antiochus found that with the death of Ptolemy IV, the situation now looked propitious for another western campaign. Antiochus and Philip V of Macedon then made a pact to divide the Ptolemaic possessions outside of Egypt, and in the Fifth Syrian War, the Seleucids ousted Ptolemy V from control of Coele-Syria. The Battle of Panium (198 BC) definitively transferred these holdings from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids. Antiochus appeared, at the least, to have restored the Seleucid Kingdom to glory.

Expansion into Greece and war with Rome

Asia Minor 188 BCE
The reduced empire (titled: Syria, Kingdom of the Seleucids) and the expanded states of Pergamum and Rhodes, after the defeat of Antiochus III by Rome. Circa 188 BC.

Following the defeat of his erstwhile ally Philip by Rome in 197 BC, Antiochus saw the opportunity for expansion into Greece itself. Encouraged by the exiled Carthaginian general Hannibal, and making an alliance with the disgruntled Aetolian League, Antiochus launched an invasion across the Hellespont. With his huge army he aimed to establish the Seleucid empire as the foremost power in the Hellenic world, but these plans put the empire on a collision course with the new rising power of the Mediterranean, the Roman Republic. At the battles of Thermopylae (191 BC) and Magnesia (190 BC), Antiochus's forces suffered resounding defeats, and he was compelled to make peace and sign the Treaty of Apamea (188 BC), the main clause of which saw the Seleucids agree to pay a large indemnity, to retreat from Anatolia and to never again attempt to expand Seleucid territory west of the Taurus Mountains. The Kingdom of Pergamum and the Republic of Rhodes, Rome's allies in the war, gained the former Seleucid lands in Anatolia. Antiochus died in 187 BC on another expedition to the east, where he sought to extract money to pay the indemnity.

Roman power, Parthia and Judea

Seleucid prince Massimo Inv1049
Statue of a prince without a crown, traditionally thought to be a Seleucid prince, maybe Attalus II of Pergamon. Bronze, Greek artwork of the Hellenistic era, 3rd-2nd centuries BC.

The reign of his son and successor Seleucus IV Philopator (187–175 BC) was largely spent in attempts to pay the large indemnity, and Seleucus was ultimately assassinated by his minister Heliodorus.

Seleucus' younger brother, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, now seized the throne. He attempted to restore Seleucid power and prestige with a successful war against the old enemy, Ptolemaic Egypt, which met with initial success as the Seleucids defeated and drove the Egyptian army back to Alexandria itself. As the king planned on how to conclude the war, he was informed that Roman commissioners, led by the Proconsul Gaius Popillius Laenas, were near and requesting a meeting with the Seleucid king. Antiochus agreed, but when they met and Antiochus held out his hand in friendship, Popilius placed in his hand the tablets on which was written the decree of the senate and told him to read it. When the king said that he would call his friends into council and consider what he ought to do, Popilius drew a circle in the sand around the king's feet with the stick he was carrying and said, "Before you step out of that circle give me a reply to lay before the senate." For a few moments he hesitated, astounded at such a peremptory order, and at last replied, "I will do what the senate thinks right." He then chose to withdraw rather than set the empire to war with Rome again.[38]

The latter part of his reign saw a further disintegration of the Empire despite his best efforts. Weakened economically, militarily and by loss of prestige, the Empire became vulnerable to rebels in the eastern areas of the empire, who began to further undermine the empire while the Parthians moved into the power vacuum to take over the old Persian lands. Antiochus' aggressive Hellenizing (or de-Judaizing) activities provoked a full scale armed rebellion in Judea—the Maccabean Revolt.[39] Efforts to deal with both the Parthians and the Jews as well as retain control of the provinces at the same time proved beyond the weakened empire's power. Antiochus died during a military expedition against the Parthians in 164 BC.

Civil war and further decay

After the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid Empire became increasingly unstable. Frequent civil wars made central authority tenuous at best. Epiphanes' young son, Antiochus V Eupator, was first overthrown by Seleucus IV's son, Demetrius I Soter in 161 BC. Demetrius I attempted to restore Seleucid power in Judea particularly, but was overthrown in 150 BC by Alexander Balas – an impostor who (with Egyptian backing) claimed to be the son of Epiphanes. Alexander Balas reigned until 145 BC when he was overthrown by Demetrius I's son, Demetrius II Nicator. Demetrius II proved unable to control the whole of the kingdom, however. While he ruled Babylonia and eastern Syria from Damascus, the remnants of Balas' supporters – first supporting Balas' son Antiochus VI, then the usurping general Diodotus Tryphon – held out in Antioch.

Meanwhile, the decay of the Empire's territorial possessions continued apace. By 143 BC, the Jews in the form of the Maccabees had fully established their independence. Parthian expansion continued as well. In 139 BC, Demetrius II was defeated in battle by the Parthians and was captured. By this time, the entire Iranian Plateau had been lost to Parthian control.

Demetrius Nicator's brother, Antiochus VII Sidetes, took the throne after his brother's capture. He faced the enormous task of restoring a rapidly crumbling empire, one facing threats on multiple fronts. Hard-won control of Coele-Syria was threatened by the Jewish Maccabee rebels. Once-vassal dynasties in Armenia, Cappadocia, and Pontus were threatening Syria and northern Mesopotamia; the nomadic Parthians, brilliantly led by Mithridates I of Parthia, had overrun upland Media (home of the famed Nisean horse herd); and Roman intervention was an ever-present threat. Sidetes managed to bring the Maccabees to heel and frighten the Anatolian dynasts into a temporary submission; then, in 133, he turned east with the full might of the Royal Army (supported by a body of Jews under the Hasmonean prince, John Hyrcanus) to drive back the Parthians.

Sidetes' campaign initially met with spectacular success, recapturing Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and Media. In the winter of 130/129 BC, his army was scattered in winter quarters throughout Media and Persis when the Parthian king, Phraates II, counter-attacked. Moving to intercept the Parthians with only the troops at his immediate disposal, he was ambushed and killed. Antiochus Sidetes is sometimes called the last great Seleucid king.

After the death of Antiochus VII Sidetes, all of the recovered eastern territories were recaptured by the Parthians. The Maccabees again rebelled, civil war soon tore the empire to pieces, and the Armenians began to encroach on Syria from the north.

Collapse (100–63 BC)

Syria under the Seleucids 87 BC
Seleucid Kingdom in 87 BC.

By 100 BC, the once formidable Seleucid Empire encompassed little more than Antioch and some Syrian cities. Despite the clear collapse of their power, and the decline of their kingdom around them, nobles continued to play kingmakers on a regular basis, with occasional intervention from Ptolemaic Egypt and other outside powers. The Seleucids existed solely because no other nation wished to absorb them – seeing as they constituted a useful buffer between their other neighbours. In the wars in Anatolia between Mithridates VI of Pontus and Sulla of Rome, the Seleucids were largely left alone by both major combatants.

Mithridates' ambitious son-in-law, Tigranes the Great, king of Armenia, however, saw opportunity for expansion in the constant civil strife to the south. In 83 BC, at the invitation of one of the factions in the interminable civil wars, he invaded Syria and soon established himself as ruler of Syria, putting the Seleucid Empire virtually at an end.

Seleucid rule was not entirely over, however. Following the Roman general Lucullus' defeat of both Mithridates and Tigranes in 69 BC, a rump Seleucid kingdom was restored under Antiochus XIII. Even so, civil wars could not be prevented, as another Seleucid, Philip II, contested rule with Antiochus. After the Roman conquest of Pontus, the Romans became increasingly alarmed at the constant source of instability in Syria under the Seleucids. Once Mithridates was defeated by Pompey in 63 BC, Pompey set about the task of remaking the Hellenistic East, by creating new client kingdoms and establishing provinces. While client nations like Armenia and Judea were allowed to continue with some degree of autonomy under local kings, Pompey saw the Seleucids as too troublesome to continue; doing away with both rival Seleucid princes, he made Syria into a Roman province.

Culture

BagdatesI290-280BCEPersia
Bagadates I (Minted 290–280 BC) was the first native Seleucid satrap to be appointed.[40]

The Seleucid empire's geographical span, from the Aegean Sea to what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan, created a melting pot of various peoples, such as Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Persians, Medes, Assyrians and Jews. The immense size of the empire, followed by its encompassing nature, encouraged the Seleucid rulers to implement a policy of ethnic unity—a policy initiated by Alexander.

The Hellenization of the Seleucid empire was achieved by the establishment of Greek cities throughout the empire. Historically significant towns and cities, such as Antioch, were created or renamed with more appropriate Greek names. The creation of new Greek cities and towns was aided by the fact that the Greek mainland was overpopulated and therefore made the vast Seleucid empire ripe for colonization. Colonization was used to further Greek interest while facilitating the assimilation of many native groups. Socially, this led to the adoption of Greek practices and customs by the educated native classes in order to further themselves in public life, and at the same time the ruling Macedonian class gradually adopted some of the local traditions. By 313 BC, Hellenic ideas had begun their almost 250-year expansion into the Near East, Middle East, and Central Asian cultures. It was the empire's governmental framework to rule by establishing hundreds of cities for trade and occupational purposes. Many of the existing cities began—or were compelled by force—to adopt Hellenized philosophic thought, religious sentiments, and politics although the Seleucid rulers did incorporate Babylonian religious tenets to gain support.[41]

Synthesizing Hellenic and indigenous cultural, religious, and philosophical ideas met with varying degrees of success—resulting in times of simultaneous peace and rebellion in various parts of the empire. Such was the case with the Jewish population of the Seleucid empire; the Jews' refusal to willingly Hellenize their religious beliefs or customs posed a significant problem which eventually led to war. Contrary to the accepting nature of the Ptolemaic empire towards native religions and customs, the Seleucids gradually tried to force Hellenization upon the Jewish people in their territory by outlawing Judaism. This eventually led to the revolt of the Jews under Seleucid control, which would later lead to the Jews achieving independence from the Seleucid empire.

See also

References

  1. ^ Cohen, Getzel M; The Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, the Red Sea Basin, and North Africa, pp. 13.
  2. ^ Lynette G. Mitchell; Every Inch a King: Comparative Studies on Kings and Kingship in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds, page 123.
  3. ^ a b Richard N. Frye, The History of Ancient Iran, (Ballantyne Ltd, 1984), 164.
  4. ^ Julye Bidmead, The Akitu Festival: Religious Continuity and Royal Legitimation in Mesopotamia, (Gorgias Press, 2004), 143.
  5. ^ a b c d e Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 121. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "Seleucid, n. and adj." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1911.
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth Raymond (2006). Provincial reactions to Roman imperialism: the aftermath of the Jewish revolt, A.D. 66-70, Parts 66-70. University of California, Berkeley. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-542-82473-9. ... and the Greeks, or at least the Greco-Macedonian Seleucid Empire, replace the Persians as the Easterners.
  8. ^ Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (London, England) (1993). The Journal of Hellenic studies, Volumes 113-114. Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. p. 211. The Seleucid kingdom has traditionally been regarded as basically a Greco-Macedonian state and its rulers thought of as successors to Alexander.
  9. ^ Baskin, Judith R.; Seeskin, Kenneth (2010). The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-521-68974-8. The wars between the two most prominent Greek dynasties, the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria, unalterably change the history of the land of Israel…As a result the land of Israel became part of the empire of the Syrian Greek Seleucids.
  10. ^ a b c Glubb, John Bagot (1967). Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. Thames & Hudson. p. 34. OCLC 585939. In addition to the court and the army, Syrian cities were full of Greek businessmen, many of them pure Greeks from Greece. The senior posts in the civil service were also held by Greeks. Although the Ptolemies and the Seleucids were perpetual rivals, both dynasties were Greek and ruled by means of Greek officials and Greek soldiers. Both governments made great efforts to attract immigrants from Greece, thereby adding yet another racial element to the population.
  11. ^ a b Steven C. Hause; William S. Maltby (2004). Western civilization: a history of European society. Thomson Wadsworth. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-534-62164-3. The Greco-Macedonian Elite. The Seleucids respected the cultural and religious sensibilities of their subjects but preferred to rely on Greek or Macedonian soldiers and administrators for the day-to-day business of governing. The Greek population of the cities, reinforced until the second century BC by immigration from Greece, formed a dominant, although not especially cohesive, elite.
  12. ^ Victor, Royce M. (2010). Colonial education and class formation in early Judaism: a postcolonial reading. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-567-24719-3. Like other Hellenistic kings, the Seleucids ruled with the help of their "friends" and a Greco-Macedonian elite class separate from the native populations whom they governed.
  13. ^ Britannica, Seleucid kingdom, 2008, O.Ed.
  14. ^ Susan M. Sherwin-White; Ama1/2lie Kuhrt (1993). From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire. University of California Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-520-08183-3.
  15. ^ Nigel Wilson (2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. p. 652. ISBN 9781136788000.
  16. ^ Paul J. Kosmin (2014). The Land of the Elephant Kings. p. 112. ISBN 9780674728820.
  17. ^ Appian, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55
  18. ^ Pliny, Natural History VI, 22.4
  19. ^ Vincent A. Smith (1972). Aśoka. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-1303-1.
  20. ^ Clark, Walter Eugene (1919). "The Importance of Hellenism from the Point of View of Indic-Philology". Classical Philology. 14 (4): 297–313. doi:10.1086/360246.
  21. ^ Appian, History of Rome, "The Syrian Wars" 55
  22. ^ History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55
  23. ^ Ancient India, (Kachroo, p. 196)
  24. ^ The Imperial Gazetteer of India, (Hunter, p. 167)
  25. ^ The evolution of man and society, (Darlington, p. 223)
  26. ^ Tarn, W. W. (1940). "Two Notes on Seleucid History: 1. Seleucus' 500 Elephants, 2. Tarmita". Journal of Hellenic Studies. 60: 84–94. doi:10.2307/626263. JSTOR 626263.
  27. ^ Partha Sarathi Bose (2003). Alexander the Great's Art of Strategy. Gotham Books. ISBN 1-59240-053-1.
  28. ^ Pliny the Elder, "The Natural History", Chap. 21 Archived 2013-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Strabo 15.2.1(9)
  30. ^ a b c Engels, David. Iranian Identity and Seleucid Allegiance; Vahbarz, the Frataraka and Early Arsacid Coinage, in: K. Erickson (ed.), The Seleukid Empire, 281-222 BC. War within the Family, Swansea, 2018, 173-196.
  31. ^ a b Erickson, Kyle (2018). The Seleukid Empire 281-222 BC: War Within the Family. ISD LLC. p. 175. ISBN 9781910589953.
  32. ^ a b Images of the known coins of this type in KINGS OF PERSIS, Orbozos. 3rd Century BC. Silver Drachm. One of just two known specimens. From The Sunrise Collection.
  33. ^ Kosmin, Paul J. (2018). Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire. Harvard University Press. p. 207. ISBN 9780674976931.
  34. ^ Erickson, Kyle (2018). The Seleukid Empire 281-222 BC: War Within the Family. ISD LLC. p. 175. ISBN 9781910589953.
  35. ^ Castrén, Paavo (2011). Uusi antiikin historia (in Finnish). Otava. p. 244. ISBN 978-951-1-21594-3.
  36. ^ Kosmin 2014, pp. 35-36.
  37. ^ The Histories of Polybius, Book 11, 1889, p 78, by Friedrich Otto Hultsch, Evelyn Shirley Shuckburgh
  38. ^ "Livy's History of Rome". mu.edu.
  39. ^ Chanukah, Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud
  40. ^ "History of Iran: Seleucid Empire". iranchamber.com.
  41. ^ Julye Bidmead, The Akitu Festival: Religious Continuity and Royal Legitimation in Mesopotamia, 143.

Further reading

  • G. G. Aperghis, The Seleukid Royal Economy. The Finances and Financial Administration of the Seleukid Empire, Cambridge, 2004.
  • Laurent Capdetrey, Le pouvoir séleucide. Territoire, administration, finances d'un royaume hellénistique (312-129 avant J.C.). (Collection "Histoire"). Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007.
  • D. Engels, Benefactors, Kings, Rulers. Studies on the Seleukid Empire between East and West, Leuven, 2017 (Studia Hellenistica 57).
  • A. Houghton, C. Lorber, Seleucid Coins. A Comprehensive Catalogue, Part I, Seleucus I through Antiochus III, With Metrological Tables by B. Kritt, I-II, New York - Lancaster - London, 2002.
  • Paul J. Kosmin, The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).
  • Michael J. Taylor, Antiochus the Great (Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2013).

External links

150s BC

This article concerns the period 159 BC – 150 BC.

160s BC

This article concerns the period 169 BC – 160 BC.

170s BC

This article concerns the period 179 BC – 170 BC.

220s BC

This article concerns the period 229 BC – 220 BC.

== Events ==

=== 229 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Anatolia ======

Attalus I of Pergamon wins the Battle of the Harpasus in western Anatolia.

====== Illyria ======

The First Illyrian War starts when the Roman Senate dispatches an army under the command of the consuls Lucius Postumius Albinus and Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus to Illyria. Rome forces the withdrawal of Illyrian garrisons in the Greek cities of Epidamnus, Apollonia, Corcyra and Pharos and establishes a protectorate over these Greek towns.

The Illyrian tribe of the Ardiaei is subdued by the Romans.

The King of Macedonia, Demetrius II, dies. His nephew, Antigonus III comes to the Macedonian throne as regent for his half-cousin and the future king Philip V, who is only ten years old.

Concerned at Rome's expansion, Antigonus III pursues a policy of befriending the Illyrians, even though the Greeks in the region support Rome in quelling the Illyrian pirates.

The involvement of Rome in Illyria leads to the establishment of friendly relations between Rome and the enemies of Macedonia: the Aetolian League and Achaean League, which approve the suppression of Illyrian piracy.

Aratus of Sicyon brings Argos into the Achaean League and then helps liberate Athens. This brings Aratus into conflict with Sparta.

====== China ======

The state of Qin conquers the state of Zhao.

=== 228 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Carthage ======

The Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca is killed in a battle in Hispania, ending his lengthy campaign to conquer the Iberian Peninsula for Carthage. In eight years, by force of arms and diplomacy, he had secured an extensive territory in the Iberian Peninsula, but his death in battle prevents him from completing the conquest. Command of his army in the Iberian Peninsula passes to his son-in-law Hasdrubal.

Hasdrubal makes immediate policy changes, emphasizing the use of diplomatic rather than military methods for expanding Carthaginian Hispania and dealing with Rome. He founds Carthago Nova or New Carthage (modern Cartagena) as his capital city.

====== Asia Minor ======

King Attalus I Soter of Pergamum defeats Antiochus Hierax (brother of the Seleucid king Seleucus II) in three battles and thereby gains control over all the Seleucid domains in Anatolia except Cilicia in the southeast.

====== Greece ======

The Illyrian Queen Teuta's governor, Demetrius of Pharos has little alternative but to surrender to the overwhelming Roman force. In return, the Romans award him a considerable part of Teuta's holdings to counter-balance the power of Teuta. Meanwhile, the Roman army lands farther north at Apollonia. The combined Roman army and fleet proceed northward together, subduing one town after another and besieging Shkodra, the Illyrian capital.

Archidamus V, brother of the murdered Spartan King Agis IV, is called back to Sparta by the Agiad King Cleomenes III, who has no counterpart on the throne by then. However, Archidamus V is assassinated shortly after returning.

=== 227 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Illyria ======

Queen Teuta of Illyria finally surrenders to Roman forces and is forced by the Romans to accept an ignominious peace. The Romans allow her to continue her reign but restrict her to a narrow region around the Illyrian capital, Shkodra, deprive her of all her other territory, and forbid her to sail an armed ship below Lissus just south of the capital. They also require her to pay an annual tribute and to acknowledge the final authority of Rome.

====== Greece ======

The Macedonian regent, Antigonus III, marries the former king Demetrius II's widow, Phthia, and assumes the crown thus deposing the young Philip V.

The Spartan King Cleomenes III imposes reforms on his kingdom which include the cancelling of debts, providing land for 4,000 citizens, and restoring the training of youth in the martial arts. The Ephorate, five elected magistrates who, with the King, form the main executive body of the state, is abolished (four of the five ephors being executed); the powers of the Gerousia, the oligarchic council of elders, is curtailed; and the patronomoi (the board of six elders) is introduced. Cleomenes' changes are designed to make the monarchy supreme and re-create a society of aristocrats, while neglecting Sparta's helots (serfs) and perioikoi (free but non-citizen inhabitants). Eighty opponents of the reforms are exiled, while his brother Eucleidas is installed as co-ruler in the place of the murdered Archidamus V.

Cleomenes III defeats the Achaeans under Aratus of Sicyon at Mount Lycaeum and at Ladoceia near Megalopolis.

====== Roman Republic ======

Sardinia and Corsica are made a combined province. Rome appoints, and in the future annually elects, two praetors (with autocratic consular powers) for this province and for Sicily.

Gaius Flaminius becomes Rome's first governor of Sicily.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

Antiochus Hierax tries to raise revolts against his brother Seleucus II in Syria and the east of the Seleucid kingdom. However, he is captured and exiled to Thrace, where he lives as a virtual prisoner.

=== 226 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

An earthquake destroys the city of Kameiros on the island of Rhodes and the Colossus of Rhodes.

The Spartan King Cleomenes III captures Mantineia and defeats the Achaean League under Aratus of Sicyon at Hecatombaeum, near Dyme in north-eastern Elis.

====== Roman Republic ======

A formidable host of Gauls, some of them from across the Alps, threaten Rome.

The Greek merchants of Massilia, frightened by Carthaginian successes in Spain (including their exploitation of the Spanish silver mines), appeal to Rome. Rome makes an alliance with the independent Spanish port city of Saguntum south of the Ebro River.

The Romans send an embassy to Hasdrubal and conclude a treaty which prohibits him from waging war north of the river Ebro, but allowing him a free hand to the south even at the expense of the interests of the town of Massilia.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

Antiochus Hierax, brother of the Seleucid King Seleucus II manages to escape from captivity in Thrace and flees to the mountains to raise an army, but he is killed by a band of Galatians.

Seleucus II dies after a fall from his horse and is succeeded by his eldest son Seleucus III Soter. At the time of Seleucus II's death, the empire of the Seleucids, with its capital at Antioch on the Orontes, stretches from the Aegean Sea to the borders of India and includes southern Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Persia, and northern Syria. Dynastic power is upheld by a mercenary army and by the loyalty of many Greek cities founded by Alexander the Great and his successors. The strength of the empire is already being sapped by repeated revolts in its eastern provinces and dissention amongst the members of the Seleucid dynasty.

=== 225 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

A coalition of Cisalpine Gallic tribes (Taurini, Taurisces, Insubres, Lingones, Salasses, Agones, and Boii), reinforced by large numbers of Transalpine adventurers called Gaesatae (Gaesati), invade Italy. Avoiding the Romans at Ariminum, the Gauls cross the Apennines into Etruria, plunder the country.

To meet this invasion, the Romans call on the Insubres' enemies, the Adriatic Veneti, the Patavini, and the Cenomani, who rapidly mobilise defensive forces. These armies are placed under the command of consuls Lucius Aemilius Papus and Gaius Atilius Regulus. After the Battle of Faesulae (near Montepulciano) between the Gauls and a Roman army in which the Romans lose many men, the combined Roman forces succeed in outmaneuvering the Gauls and force the invaders towards the coast of Tuscany.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

Seleucus III Ceraunus succeeds his father Seleucus II Callinicus as ruler of the Seleucid dynasty, and takes up the task of reconquering Pergamum in Anatolia from Attalus. However, Andromachus, the first general whom he sends, is decisively defeated and captured by Attalus.

====== China ======

The state of Qin conquers the state of Wei.

=== 224 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

After the Spartan King Cleomenes III takes Pellene, Phlius and Argos, Aratus of Sicyon is forced to call upon King Antigonus III of Macedonia for assistance. Antigonus III's forces fail to pierce Cleomenes' lines near Corinth, but a revolt against Cleomenes at Argos put the Spartans on the defensive.

====== Roman Republic ======

The Romans, led by Consuls Gaius Atilius Regulus and Lucius Aemilius Papus, decisively defeat the coalition of Cisalpine Gallic tribes at the Battle of Telamon thus extending Roman influence over northern Italy. On the Roman side Gaius Atilius Regulus, commander of the Roman cavalry, is killed in the battle. On the Gallic side, one of the leaders, Concolitanus, is captured in battle, while the leader of the Gaesatae, Aneroëstes, kills himself when the battle is lost.

=== 223 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Seleucid Empire ======

The Seleucid king Seleucus III is assassinated in Phrygia by members of his army while on campaign against Attalus of Pergamon.

Seleucus is succeeded by his younger brother, Antiochus III. From the previous administration, Antiochus III retains Hermeias as his chief minister, Achaeus as governor of Anatolia, and Molon and his brother Alexander as governors of the eastern provinces of Media and Persis.

====== Roman Republic ======

Gaius Flaminius is elected consul for the first time, and with Publius Furius Philus he forces the Cisalpine Gauls to submit to Rome, creating the province of Cisalpine Gaul.

====== Greece ======

The Spartan king Cleomenes III destroys and burns the city of Megalopolis but the inhabitants are saved by Philopoemen who leads the defence of the city until the inhabitants can escape.

The king of Macedonia, Antigonus III Doson, restores Macedonian influence in the Peloponnese for the first time in almost two decades. After signing alliances with the Achaeans, Boeotians, Thessalians and the Acarnanians, Antigonus invades the Peloponnese and drives the Spartans out of Argos, taking Orchomenus and Mantineia in the process.

====== Persia ======

King Diodotus II of Bactria is killed by an usurper, Euthydemus I, founder of the Greco-Bactrian Euthydemid dynasty.

====== China ======

The state of Qin conquers the state of Chu.

=== 222 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

Mediolanum (modern Milan), stronghold of the Gallic tribe of the Insubres (led by Viridomarus), falls to Roman legions in Lombardy (led by consul, Marcus Claudius Marcellus), in the Battle of Clastidium. Marcus Claudius Marcellus personally slays the chief, Viridomarus. This victory removes the Gallic threat to Rome. Marcellus wins the spolia opima ("spoils of honour"; the arms taken by a general who kills an enemy chief in single combat) for the third and last time in Roman history.

====== Greece ======

Cleomenes III of Sparta is defeated in the Battle of Sellasia (north of Sparta) by Antigonus III and his allies, the Achaean League and the Illyrians (under the command of Demetrius of Pharos), and flees to Egypt under the protection of King Ptolemy III. Antigonus III's forces occupy Sparta, which is the first time this city has ever been occupied.

Almost all of Greece falls under Macedonian suzerainty after Antigonus III re-establishes the Hellenic Alliance as a confederacy of leagues, with himself as president.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

The Seleucid forces under their general Achaeus succeed in winning back from Pergamum all the Seleucid domains in Anatolia lost six years earlier.

Mithridates II of Pontus gives his daughter Laodice in marriage to the Seleucid king Antiochus III. Another of his daughters, also named Laodice, is married about the same time to Achaeus, a cousin of Antiochus.

====== China ======

The state of Qin conquers the state of Yan and defeats the last defensive forces of the state of Zhao.

=== 221 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Carthage ======

The Carthaginian general Hasdrubal is murdered by a Celtic assassin while campaigning to increase the Carthaginian hold on Spain. Following the assassination of Hasdrubal, Hannibal, the son of the Carthaginian general, Hamilcar Barca, is proclaimed commander-in-chief by the army and his appointment is confirmed by the Carthaginian government.

Hannibal immediately moves to consolidate Carthage's control of Spain. He marries a Spanish princess, Imilce, then begins to conquer various Spanish tribes. He fights against the Olcades and captures their capital, Althaea; quells the Vaccaei in the northwest; and, making the seaport of Cartagena (Carthago Nova, the capital of Carthaginian Spain) his base, wins a resounding victory over the Carpetani in the region of the Tagus River.

====== Egypt ======

Egypt's Ptolemy III dies and is succeeded by his son, Ptolemy IV. Sosibius is appointed by Ptolemy IV as his Chief Minister and immediately has a great influence over the young king, directing all of the affairs of state.

At Sosibius' direction, Ptolemy IV puts to death in succession his uncle, Lysimachus, his brother Magas, and his mother Berenice II.

King Cleomenes III of Sparta, who is in exile in Egypt, is imprisoned by Ptolemy IV on a charge of conspiracy.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

The satrap of Media, Molon, and his brother, Alexander, revolt against Antiochus III, primarily due to their hatred towards Hermeias, Antiochus' chief minister. Molon is able to become master of the Seleucid domains to the east of the Tigris. He is stopped by Antioochus III's forces in his attempts to pass that river. Xenoetas, one of Antiochus' generals, is sent against Molon with a large force, but is surprised by Molon's forces and his whole army is cut to pieces and Xenoetas is killed. The rebel satrap now crosses the Tigris, and makes himself master of the city of Seleucia on the Tigris, together with the whole of Babylonia and Mesopotamia.

====== Greece ======

Antigonus III dies during a battle against the Illyrians and is succeeded by his young cousin Philip V as King of Macedonia.

====== Roman Republic ======

Gaius Flaminius builds a second race track for Rome, the Circus Flaminius.

====== China ======

The state of Qi – by now the only other independent state in China – surrenders to the state of Qin without a fight. Ying Zheng, the king of Qin unifies China and proclaims himself the First Emperor, as he is the first Chinese sovereign able to rule the whole country, thus ending the Warring States period. He is known by historians as Qin Shi Huang.

The Chinese bronze age ends (approximate date).

=== 220 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Together with fellow Illyrian, Scerdilaidas, Demetrius of Pharos attacks Illyrian cities under Roman protection and leads a piratical squadron into Greek waters. They unsuccessfully attack Pylos, an Achaean town on the Messenian coast, in the Peloponnesus of Greece.

Scerdilaidas and the Aetolians invade Achaea. With the help of Cynaethan traitors, they attack, seize and burn Cynaetha, a town in the north of Arcadia.

Rome strikes again against the Illyrian pirates precipitating the Second Illyrian War.

Demetrius seeks refuge with Philip V of Macedon, who is very resentful of the Roman interference. Rome occupies Demetrius' chief fortresses, Pharos and Dimillos.

Aratus of Sicyon counters Aetolian aggression by obtaining the assistance of the Hellenic League now under the leadership of Philip V of Macedon. In the resulting Social War, the Hellenic League of Greek states is assembled in Corinth at Philip V's instigation. He then leads the Hellenic League in battles against Aetolia, Sparta and Elis.

The Gortynians occupy Matala, on the island of Crete.

====== Seleucid Empire ======

With Molon occupying significant parts of the Seleucid kingdom and assuming the title of king, on the advice of his chief Minister, Hermeias, Antiochus III abandons a campaign to conquer southern Syria from Egypt. Antiochus III instead marches against Molon, defeating and killing him and his brother Alexander on the far bank of the Tigris. Antiochus goes on conquer Atropatene, the north-western part of Media.

Meanwhile, the birth of a son to Antiochus III and Laodice (daughter of Mithridates II, king of Pontus) leads Hermeias to consider getting rid of the king so that he can rule under the name of the infant son. Antiochus discovers the scheme and arranges the assassination of Hermeias.

====== Anatolia ======

Antiochus III's commander in Anatolia, Achaeus, having recovered all the districts which Attalus of Pergamum has gained, is accused by Hermeias, the chief minister of Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defence, Achaeus assumes the title of king and rules over the Anatolian parts of the Seleucid kingdom.

====== Egypt ======

Arsinoe III marries her brother, King Ptolemy IV of Egypt.

====== Roman Republic ======

During his censorship, the Roman political leader, Gaius Flaminius, builds the Circus Flaminius on the Campus Martius and constructs the Via Flaminia from Rome to Ariminum (Rimini).

====== China ======

Qin Shi Huang begins a system of tree-lined roads to interconnect all parts of China, and begins to join regional walls to form the beginnings of the Great Wall (Wan li chang cheng).

==== By topic ====

====== Art ======

A bronze statue called Gallic Chieftain killing his wife and himself is made (approximate date). A Roman copy after the original statue is today preserved at Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome.

A bronze statue called Dying Gallic trumpeter is made (possibly by Epigonos) (230-220 BC). A marble Roman copy after the original statue is today preserved at Museo Capitolino in Rome.

Antigonia (Syria)

Antigonia (Greek: Αντιγόνεια) also transliterated as Antigonea and Antigoneia was a Hellenistic city in Seleucid Empire, Syria (in modern Turkey), on the Orontes, founded by Antigonus I Monophthalmus in 307 BC, and intended to be the capital of his empire; the site is approximately 7 km northeast of Antakya, Hatay Province, Turkey. After the Battle of Ipsus, 301 BC, in which Antigonus perished, the inhabitants of Antigonia were removed by his successful rival Seleucus I Nicator to the city of Antioch, which Seleucus founded a little lower down the river. (Strabo xvi. p. 750; Diod. xx. 47; Liban. Antioch. p. 349; Malalas, p. 256.) Diodorus erroneously says that the inhabitants were removed to Seleucia Pieria. Antigonia continued, however, to exist, and is mentioned in the war with the Parthians after the defeat of Crassus. (Dion Cass. xl. 29.)

Battle of Beth Zechariah

The Battle of Beth-Zechariah was fought between the Jewish Maccabeans and Seleucid Greek forces during the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in 162 BCE.

Battle of Magnesia

The Battle of Magnesia was the concluding battle of the Roman–Seleucid War, fought in 190 BC near Magnesia ad Sipylum on the plains of Lydia between Romans, led by the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio and the Roman ally Eumenes II of Pergamum, and the army of Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid Empire. A decisive Roman victory resulted in Roman domination over the internal affairs of a large part of the territory once controlled by the Seleucid Empire.The main historical sources for this battle are Livy and Appian.

Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity)

The Kingdom of Armenia, also the Kingdom of Greater Armenia, or simply Greater Armenia (Armenian: Մեծ Հայք Mets Hayk; Latin: Armenia Maior), sometimes referred to as the Armenian Empire, was a monarchy in the Ancient Near East which existed from 321 BC to 428 AD. Its history is divided into successive reigns by three royal dynasties: Orontid (321 BC–200 BC), Artaxiad (189 BC–12 AD) and Arsacid (52–428).

The root of the kingdom lies in one of the satrapies of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia called Armenia (Satrapy of Armenia), which was formed from the territory of the Kingdom of Ararat (860 BC–590 BC) after it was conquered by the Median Empire in 590 BC. The satrapy became a kingdom in 321 BC during the reign of the Orontid dynasty after the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great, which was then incorporated as one of the Hellenistic kingdoms of the Seleucid Empire.

Under the Seleucid Empire (312–63 BC), the Armenian throne was divided in two – Armenia Maior and Sophene – both of which passed to members of the Artaxiad dynasty in 189 BC. During the Roman Republic's eastern expansion, the Kingdom of Armenia, under Tigranes the Great, reached its peak, from 83 to 69 BC, after it reincorporated Sophene and conquered the remaining territories of the falling Seleucid Empire, effectively ending its existence and raising Armenia into an empire for a brief period, until it was itself conquered by Rome in 69 BC. The remaining Artaxiad kings ruled as clients of Rome until they were overthrown in 12 AD due to their possible allegiance to Rome's main rival in the region, Parthia.

During the Roman–Parthian Wars, the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia was founded when Tiridates I, a member of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, was proclaimed King of Armenia in 52. Throughout most of its history during this period, Armenia was heavily contested between Rome and Parthia, and the Armenian nobility was divided among pro-Roman, pro-Parthian or neutrals. From 114 to 118, Armenia briefly became a province of the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan. The Kingdom of Armenia often served as a client state or vassal at the frontier of the two large empires and their successors, the Byzantine and Sassanid empires. In 301, Tiridates III proclaimed Christianity as the state religion of Armenia, making the Armenian kingdom the first state to embrace Christianity officially.

During the Byzantine–Sasanian wars, Armenia was ultimately partitioned into Byzantine Armenia in 387 and Persian Armenia in 428.

List of rulers of Commagene

The Kingdom of Commagene was a small Hellenized Armenian kingdom in southern Anatolia near Antioch, which began life as a tributary state of the Seleucid Empire and later became an independent kingdom, before eventually being annexed by the Roman Empire in 72.

Maccabean Revolt

The Maccabean Revolt (Hebrew: מרד החשמונאים‎) was a Jewish rebellion, lasting from 167 to 160 BCE, led by the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire and the Hellenistic influence on Jewish life.

Maccabees

The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees (Hebrew: מכבים or מקבים, Maqabim; Latin: Machabaei or Maccabaei; Greek: Μακκαβαῖοι, Makkabaioi), were a group of Jewish rebel warriors who took control of Judea, which at the time was part of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 167 BCE to 37 BCE, being a fully independent kingdom from about 110 to 63 BCE. They reasserted the Jewish religion, partly by forced conversion, expanded the boundaries of Judea by conquest and reduced the influence of Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism.

Macedonian Wars

The Macedonian Wars (214–148 BC) were a series of conflicts fought by the Roman Republic and its Greek allies in the eastern Mediterranean against several different major Greek kingdoms. They resulted in Roman control or influence over the eastern Mediterranean basin, in addition to their hegemony in the western Mediterranean after the Punic Wars. Traditionally, the "Macedonian Wars" include the four wars with Macedonia, in addition to one war with the Seleucid Empire, and a final minor war with the Achaean League (which is often considered to be the final stage of the final Macedonian war). The most significant war was fought with the Seleucid Empire, while the war with Macedonia was the second, and both of these wars effectively marked the end of these empires as major world powers, even though neither of them led immediately to overt Roman domination. Four separate wars were fought against the weaker power, Macedonia, due to its geographic proximity to Rome, though the last two of these wars were against haphazard insurrections rather than powerful armies. Roman influence gradually dissolved Macedonian independence and digested it into what was becoming a leading global empire. The outcome of the war with the now-deteriorating Seleucid Empire was ultimately fatal to it as well, though the growing influence of Parthia and Pontus prevented any additional conflicts between it and Rome.From the close of the Macedonian Wars until the early Roman Empire, the eastern Mediterranean remained an ever shifting network of polities with varying levels of independence from, dependence on, or outright military control by, Rome. According to Polybius, who sought to trace how Rome came to dominate the Greek east in less than a century, Rome's wars with Greece were set in motion after several Greek city-states sought Roman protection against the Macedonian Kingdom and Seleucid Empire in the face of a destabilizing situation created by the weakening of Ptolemaic Egypt.In contrast to the west, the Greek east had been dominated by major empires for centuries, and Roman influence and alliance-seeking led to wars with these empires that further weakened them and therefore created an unstable power vacuum that only Rome was capable of pacifying. This had some important similarities (and some important differences) to what had occurred in Italy centuries earlier, but was this time on a continental scale. Historians see the growing Roman influence over the east, as with the west, not as a matter of intentional empire-building, but constant crisis management narrowly focused on accomplishing short-term goals within a highly unstable, unpredictable, and inter-dependent network of alliances and dependencies. With some major exceptions of outright military rule (such as parts of mainland Greece), the eastern Mediterranean world remained an alliance of independent city-states and kingdoms (with varying degrees of independence, both de jure and de facto) until it transitioned into the Roman Empire. It wasn't until the time of the Roman Empire that the eastern Mediterranean, along with the entire Roman world, was organized into provinces under explicit Roman control.

Roman–Seleucid War

The Seleucid War (192–188 BC), also known as the War of Antiochos or the Syrian War, was a military conflict between two coalitions led by the Roman Republic and the Seleucid Empire. The fighting took place in Greece, the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor.

The war was the consequence of a "cold war" between both powers, which had started in 196 BC. In this period Romans and Seleucids had tried to settle spheres of influence by making alliances with the Greek minor powers.

The fighting ended with a clear Roman victory. In the Treaty of Apamea the Seleucids were forced to give up Asia Minor, which fell to Roman allies. As a main result of the war the Roman Republic gained hegemony over Greece and Asia Minor, and became the only remaining major power around the Mediterranean Sea.

Seleucid army

The Seleucid army was the army of the Seleucid Empire, one of the numerous Hellenistic states that emerged after the death of Alexander the Great.

As with the other major Hellenistic armies, the Seleucid army fought primarily in the Greco-Macedonian style, with its main body being the phalanx. The phalanx was a large, dense formation of men armed with small shields and a long pike called the sarissa. This form of fighting had been developed by the Macedonian army in the reign of Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great. Alongside the phalanx, the Seleucid armies used a great deal of native and mercenary troops to supplement their Greek forces, which were limited due to the distance from the Seleucid rulers' Macedonian homeland.

Seleucid era

The Seleucid era or Anno Graecorum (literally "year of the Greeks" or "Greek year"), sometimes denoted "AG", was a system of numbering years in use by the Seleucid Empire and other countries among the ancient Hellenistic civilizations. It is sometimes referred to as "the dominion of the Seleucidæ," or the Year of Alexander. The era dates from Seleucus I Nicator's re-conquest of Babylon in 312/11 BC after his exile in Ptolemaic Egypt, considered by Seleucus and his court to mark the founding of the Seleucid Empire. According to Jewish tradition, it was during the sixth year of Alexander the Great's reign (lege: possibly Alexander the Great's infant son, Alexander IV of Macedon) that they began to make use of this counting. The introduction of the new era is mentioned in one of the Babylonian Chronicles, the Chronicle of the Diadochi.Two different uses were made of the Seleucid years:

The natives of the empire used the Babylonian calendar, in which the new year falls on 1 Nisanu (3 April in 311 BC), so in this system year 1 of the Seleucid era corresponds roughly to April 311 BC to March 310 BC. This included the Jews, who call it the Era of Contracts Hebrew מניין שטרות, minyan shtarot). It is used in the Jewish historical book, now "deuterocanonical", 1 Maccabees, in 6:20, 7:1, 9:3, 10:1, etc.

The Macedonian court adopted the Babylonian calendar (substituting the Macedonian month names) but reckoned the new year to be in the autumn (the exact date is unknown). In this system year 1 of the Seleucid era corresponds to the period from autumn 312 BC to summer 311 BC. By the 7th century AD / 10th AG, the west Syrian Christians settled on 1 October-to-30 September. Jews, however, reckon the start of each new Seleucid year with the lunar month Tishri.These differences in the beginning of the year mean that dates may differ by one. Bickerman gives this example:

For instance, the restoration of the temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabaeus, approximately 15 December 164 BC, fell in the year 148 of the Seleucid Era according to Jewish (and Babylonian) calculation, but in the year 149 for the court.The Seleucid era was used as late as the 6th century AD, for instance in the Zebed inscription in Syria, dated the 24th of Gorpiaios, 823 (24 September, 512 AD), and in the writings of John of Ephesus. Syriac chroniclers continued to use it up to Michael the Syrian in the 12th century AD / 15th century AG. It has been found on Nestorian Christian tombstones from Central Asia well into the 14th century AD.The Seleucid era counting, or "era of contracts" (minyan sheṭarot), was used by Yemenite Jews in their legal deeds and contracts until modern times, a practice derived from an ancient Jewish teaching in the Talmud, requiring all Diaspora Jews to uphold its practice. For this reason, the Seleucid era counting is mentioned in the Book of Maccabees (I Macc. i. 11) and in the writings of the historian, Josephus. The Seleucid era counting fell into disuse among most Jewish communities, following Rabbi David ben Zimra's cancellation of the practice when he served as Chief Rabbi of Egypt.

Seleucid–Mauryan war

The Seleucid–Mauryan War was fought between 305 and 303 BCE. It started when Seleucus I Nicator, of the Seleucid Empire, sought to retake the Indian satrapies of the Macedonian Empire which had been occupied by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, of the Maurya Empire.

The war ended in a settlement resulting in the annexation the Indus Valley region and part of Afghanistan to the Mauryan Empire, with Chandragupta securing control over the areas that he had sought, and a marriage alliance between the two powers. After the war, the Mauryan Empire emerged as the dominant power of the Indian Subcontinent, and the Seleucid Empire turned its attention toward defeating its rivals in the west.

Seleucid–Parthian wars

The Seleucid–Parthian wars were a series of conflicts between the Seleucid Empire and Parthia which resulted in the ultimate expulsion of the Seleucids from Persia and the establishment of the Parthian Empire. The wars were caused by Iranian tribes migrating into Central Asia and the inability of the Seleucids to properly defend or hold together their vast empire.

Seleucus of Seleucia

Seleucus of Seleucia (Greek: Σέλευκος Seleukos; born c. 190 BC; fl. c. 150 BC) was a Hellenistic astronomer and philosopher. Coming from Seleucia on the Tigris, Mesopotamia, the capital of the Seleucid Empire, or, alternatively, Seleukia on the Erythraean Sea, he is best known as a proponent of heliocentrism and for his theory of the origin of tides.

Soter

Soter derives from the Greek epithet σωτήρ (sōtēr), meaning a saviour, a deliverer; initial capitalised Σωτήρ; fully capitalised ΣΩΤΗΡ; feminine Soteria (Σωτηρία).

Soter has been used as:

as a title of gods: Poseidon Soter, Zeus Soter, Dionysus Soter, Apollo Soter, Athena Soteria, Asclepius Soteri, and Hecate Soteria.

as the name of a distinct mythical figure, Soter (daimon)

any heroized or deified leaders of Hellenistic dynasties, see Hellenistic ruler cult:

Antigonus Monophthalmus, awarded the title for liberating Athens from Cassander

Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt (reigned 323-283 BCE)

Antiochus I Soter of the Seleucid Empire (reigned 281-261 BCE)

Demetrius I Soter of the Seleucid Empire (reigned 161-150 BCE)

Diomedes Soter

Dionysios Soter

Polyxenos Epiphanes Soter

Rabbel II Soter

Attalus I

Seleucus III Ceraunus

Ptolemy IX

Diodotus I

Strato II

Strato I

Menander I

as a title of liberators (see also eleutherios (disambiguation)

a title of Jesus of Nazareth, most particularly in the fish acronym

Pope Soter, r. ca. 167-174.

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