Saturday, 16 July 2022

The Seleucids

Seleukos I Nikator (The Victor), Founder and King of the Seleukid Empire of Syria, 312-281 BC.
The Seleucids were a Greek dynasty who ruled much of the Middle East from 312 to 64 BCE. There were 28 Seleucid kings and one queen. Ten died in the many wars of the era; others were assassinated, often by relatives. Founder of the dynasty was Seleucus I, born in Macedonia about 369 BCE and a companion of Alexander the Great. In 312 BCE he recaptured Babylon. This event marked Year 1 of the 'Seleucid Era'. In 281 BCE, Seleucus tried to conquer Macedonia. It ended poorly for him as he was murdered. His son, Antiochus I, became king. Antiochus II's son Seleucus II Callinicus came to the throne around 246 BC.
Seleucus II was soundly defeated by Ptolemy III of Egypt and then faced a civil war against his brother. A revival in Seleucid fortunes began when Seleucus II's younger son, Antiochus III, took the throne in 223 BC. Seleucid renewed glory was temporary.

A rare Silver Tetradrachm of the Seleukids
Grand plans meant a collision course with the Roman Republic. At the battles of Thermopylae (191 BC) and Magnesia (190 BC), Antiochus's forces suffered defeats. By 100 BC, the Seleucid Empire existed only because no other nation wished to absorb them. Mithridates was defeated by Pompey in 63 BC. Pompey saw the Seleucids as troublesome and did away with both rival Seleucid princes. He made Syria into a Roman province and the Seleucids faded into history.
Pompey Magnus