Seleucid Empire

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Seleucid Empire

The Seleucid Empire (Σελεύκεια, Seleukeia) was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid Dynasty founded by Seleucus I Nicator after the division of the Empire created by Alexander the Great. Seleucus obtained Babylonia, and from there he extended his dominions to encompass much of Alexander's near eastern territories. At the height of its power, it included Central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Kuwait, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and northwestern parts of India.

seleucid.The Seleucid Empire in 200 BC

seleucid.The Seleucid Empire in 200 BC

(before expansion into Anatolia and Greece)

The Seleucid Empire was an important center of Hellenistic culture which maintained the predominance of Greek morals, where a Greek-Macedonian political elite predominantly dominated urban areas. The Greek population of the cities, which formed the dominant elite, was reinforced by the emigration from Greece. Seleucid expansion in Anatolia and Greece was abruptly stopped after decisive defeats in the hands of the Roman army. Their attempts to defeat their ancient enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were thwarted by the Roman demands. A large part of the eastern part of the empire was occupied by the Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthien in the middle of the 2nd century BC. Conquered, but the Seleucid kings continued to dominate a rump state from Syria to the invasion of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great and their final fall by the Roman general Pompey.

Partition of Alexander's empire

Alexander conquered the Persian Empire under his last Achaemenid dynasty, Darius III, within a short period of time, and died young, leaving an expansive realm of partially Hellenized culture without an adult heir. The empire was founded in 323 BC. Under the rule of a regent set in the person of Perdiccas, and the territories were divided between the generals of Alexander, who thus became satraps, at the division of Babylon 323 bc.

Rise of Seleucus
Alexander's generals (the Diadochi) pressed 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 perishing of Perdiccas. Ptolemy insurrection led to a new subdivision of the empire with the division of Triparadisus in 320 BC. Seleucus, who had been under Perdica's "commander-in-chief of the camp" since 323 BC, but later exhorted him to assassinate him later, received Babylonia, and from then on rebuilt his rule ruthlessly. Seleucus established itself in Babylon in 312 BC, the year that was used as the founding date of the Seleucid empire. He ruled not only Babylonia, but the whole immense eastern part of the empire of Alexander:

 The Seleucid Empire in 200 BC  

Alexander's generals (the Diadochi) pressed 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 perishing of Perdiccas. Ptolemy insurrection led to a new subdivision of the empire with the division of Triparadisus in 320 BC. Seleucus, who had been under Perdica's "commander-in-chief of the camp" since 323 BC, but later exhorted him to assassinate him later, received Babylonia, and from then on rebuilt his rule ruthlessly. Seleucus established itself in Babylon in 312 BC, the year that was used as the founding date of the Seleucid empire. He ruled not only Babylonia, but the whole immense eastern part of the empire of Alexander:
"Seleukus" erwarb Mesopotamien, Armenien, Seleukid, Kappadokien, Persis, Parthien, Baktrien, Arabien, Tapourien, Sogdien, Arachosien, Hyrkania und andere, die in den angrenzenden, kräftigen und überzeugenden Gemeinden lagen Die von Alexander bis zum Fluß Indus unterworfen waren, Die so genannte Region von Phrygien bis zum Indus war Seleukos unterworfen. "
Seleucus ging nach Indien, nach zwei Kriegsjahren eine Vereinbarung mit Chandragupta Maurya erreichte, in der er seine östlichen Territorien für eine bedeutende Macht von 500 Kriegselefanten auswechselte, sterben in Ipsus eine entscheidende Rolle spielten (301 v.Chr)."The Indians occupy some of the Persian countries which formerly belonged to the Persians: Alexander took the Ariani from them and established their own settlements there, but Seleucus Nicator gave them Sandrocottus as a result of a marriage contract and received five hundred elephants. "

Westward expansion
After the victory of Lysimachos over Antigonos Monophthalmus at the decisive battle of Ipsus in the year 301 BC took over Seleukos the control over Ostanatolien and Nordsyrien.In this area he founded a new capital in Antioch on the Orontes, a city he named after his father. An alternative capital was established in Seleucia on the Tigris, north of Babylon. Seleucus empire reached its greatest extent after his defeat of his erstwhile ally, Lysimachus, in Corupedion in 281 BC, to which Seleucus extends his control, to include West Anatolia. He hopes to take control of Lysimacho's countries in Europe, especially Thrace and even Macedonia himself, but was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus on landing in Europe.
His son and successor, Antiochos I Soter, remained with an enormous empire that consisted of almost all Asian parts of the empire but faced with Antigonos II Gonatas in Macedonia and Ptolemy II Philadelphos in Egypt, Where his father had given up the conquest of the European parts of the empire of Alexander.

An overexpanded domain Bactria the satrap Diodotus asserted independence to form the Greco-Bactrian kingdom c.245 BC.

In Bactria, the satrap Diodotus asserted independence

to form the Greco-Bactrian kingdom c.245 BC

Nevertheless, even before Seleucus' death, it was difficult to assert control over the vast eastern domains of the Seleucids. Seleucus invaded Punjab region region of India in 305 BC, confronting Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrokottos), founder of the Maurya empire. It is said that Chandragupta fielded an army of 600,000 men and 9,000 war elephants.
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.Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.
"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."  

It is generally believed that Chandragupta married Seleuko's daughter or a Macedonian princess, a gift from Seleucus to formalize an alliance. Chandragupta sent 500 war elephants, a military fortune, which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC. In addition to this treaty, Seleucus sent an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta and later Deimakos to his son Bindusara at the Mauryan court in Pataliputra (today Patna in the Bihar state). Megasthenes wrote detailed descriptions of India and Chandragupta's rule which have been preserved to us in part by Diodorus Siculus. Later Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, the ruler of Ptolemy Egypt and contemporary of Ashoka the Great, is also written by Pliny the Elder when he sent an ambassador named Dionysius to the Mauryan court.

Silver coin of Antiochus III the Great.
Silver coin of Antiochus III the Great.

Other territories lost before Seleuko's death were Gedrosia in the south-east of the Iranian High Plain and north of Arachosia on the west bank of the Indus.
Antiochus I (reigned 281-261 BC) And his son and successor Antiochos II Theos (reigned 261-246 BC) Faced with challenges in the West, including repeated wars with Ptolemy II. And a Celtic invasion Kleinasiens The eastern parts of the empire together. Toward the end of the reign of Antioch II, different provinces simultaneously maintain their independence, such as Bactria under Diodotus, parthias under Arsaces and Cappadocia under Ariarathes III.
Diodot, governor of the Bactrian area, claimed independence around 245 BC, although the exact date is by no means sufficient to form the Greek-Bactrian kingdom. This kingdom was characterized by a rich Hellenistic culture and was to continue until 125 BC. His rule over Bactria continued when it was overrun by the invasion of the northern nomads. One of the Greek-Bactrian kings, Demetrius I of Bactria, conquered India around 180 BC To form the Greek-Indian kingdom, which lasts until about AD 20.
The Seleucid Satrap of Parthia, called Andragoras, initially maintained independence, parallel to the separation of its bactrian neighbor. Soon, however, a Parthian tribal leader called Arsaces entered the Parthian territory around 238 BC to form the Arsakid dynasty, the starting point of the mighty Parthian empire.
At the time when Antiochus II Son Seleucus II. Callinicus came to the throne around 246 BC, the Seleucids seemed to be in a low tide. Seleucus II was soon defeated dramatically in the third Syrian war against Ptolemy III of Egypt and then had to fight against a civil war against his own brother Antiochus Hierax. Bactria and Parthia used this distraction from the empire. The Seleucid dynasty also seemed to be losing control in Kleinasien - the Gauls had fully established themselves in Galatia, half-Hellenized kingdoms had sprung up in Bithynia, Pontus and Cappadocia, and Pergamon in the west maintained its independence under the Attalid dynasty.

A bronze statue of a Parthian nobleman from the sanctuary at Shami in Elymais

A bronze statue of a Parthiannobleman

from thesanctuary at Shamiin Elymais

(modern-day KhūzestānProvince,Iran,

along the Persian Gulf),

now located at the National Museum

of Iran

Revival (223–191 BC)
A revival would begin when Seleucus II. Younger Son, Antiochus III. The Great, the throne 223 BC conquered. Although he was unsuccessful in the fourth Syrian war against Egypt, which led to a defeat in the battle of Raphia (217 BC), Antioch, according to Seleucus I, proved himself the greatest Seleucid ruler. He spent the next ten years on his anabasis through the eastern parts of his territory and restored rebellious vassals like Parthia and Greco-Bactria to at least nominal obedience. He won the battle of Arius and laid siege to the Bactrian capital, and even emulated Alexander with an expedition to India, where he met with King Sophagasenus received Kriegslefanten:
"He (Antiochus) crossed the Caucasus and ascended to India, renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus, the king of the Indians, received more elephants, until he had a hundred and fifty whole, and again supplied his troops, his army, Androsthenes of Cyzicus Treasure which this king had given him to take home with him. " Polybius 11.39
When, in 205 BC, Having returned to the west, Antioch found that with the death of Ptolemy IV the situation was now favorable for another Western campaign. Antiochus and Philip V of Macedonia then made a pact to divide the Ptolemaic possessions outside Egypt, and in the fifth Syrian war the Seleucids drove Ptolemy V from the control of Coele-Syria. The Battle of Panium (198 BC) finally transferred these stocks from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids. Antiochus at least appeared to restore the Seleucid kingdom to glory.

The Parthian conquest of Persia
Persis, the heartland of the Persian kings, had begun its way back to independence in the late 3rd century, when the first indigenous Seleukid satraps were appointed. The earliest is Bagadates, whose coin is shown here. The opposite shows a king standing in front of a Zoroastrian sacred building or a fire tale. With the weakening of the Seleucid empire, the satraps became kings, some of which used names such as Darius and Artaxerxes as a sign of their nationalist spirit. Several other small kings emerged as mushrooms in the temporary power vacuum.
It was, however, Parthia under his king Mithradates I, who now rose as the chief power in Persia after defeating the Medians and the Greeks of Bactria in the middle of the 2nd century BC. The latter disappeared soon after, battered by civil wars and the pressure of the nomadic tribes, who were probably allies of the Parthians. The other kingdoms of Iran were now transformed into parthian vassals.

In the year 140 BC, The Seleucid king Demetrius II withdrew, That enough was enough, and demanded all the means which he required for the Parthian advance. He was initially victorious and several vassals from Mithradates II. The Parthians, however, were known for their defensive strength in their own country and soon succeeded in attacking the Seleucid army and capturing Demetrious II. Babylon was now a Parthian province.
The last round of the war came after the able Antiochus VII, Brother of Demetrius II, had finally won the civil war in the remaining Seleucid dominions. He called a large army of mercenaries and attacked the Parthians with great force. After three victories, he had liberated Babylonia and western Iran, and was already compared to Antioch the Great.The inhabitants had been happy to shake off the strict party rule, but when the gigantic Seleucid army was divided into winter quarters, this proved equally bad for the host cities. Parthian spies could revolt against the Seleucids, and when Antiochus VII attempted to assemble his troops, he was led and killed by Parthian King Phraates II in a battle in front of Hamadan. The rest of the leaderless army was smashed or put into the Parthians. This was the end of the Hellenistic period in Iran.

Seleucus I Nicator,

Seleucus I Nicator, the

founder of the Seleucid Empire

The last remaining Seleucid kings maintained only decreasing parts of Syria. Their last half century was plagued by endless civil wars until the Romans made a Roman province in 64 BC. The Greek influence in the East survived its rulers for a while, although few of the Hellenistic cities were found east of Babylonia. The Parthian rulers continued their rule to beat coins in Greek, and several of them gave themselves the epitaph of Philhellenos (friend of the Greeks). This was probably the support of the Greek companies, which were still important (and strongly fortified) trading centers. But finally the Greek influence faded. The Roman campaigns in Parthia in the 2nd century BC seem to have swept away the last Greek colonists.
It is strange to note that Bactria, the hinterland on the eastern Iranian plateau, despite its distance to Greece boasted a numerous and prospering Greek colony. The Greeks here also seemed to have been better integrated and managed over the former Achaemenids boundaries beyond Punjab and Kashmir, as well as becoming always masters of today's Pakistan in the early 2nd century BC. Although the empire soon collapsed, the Greeks left a pronounced cultural heritage, the so-called Gandhara culture.

•    Seleucus I Nicator (Satrap 311–305 BC, King 305 BC–281 BC)
•    Antiochus I Soter (co-ruler from 291, ruled 281–261 BC)
•    Antiochus II Theos (261–246 BC)
•    Seleucus II Callinicus ( 246–225 BC)
•    Seleucus III Ceraunus (or Soter) ( 225–223 BC)
•    Antiochus III the Great (223–187 BC)
•    Seleucus IV Philopator (187–175 BC)
•    Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 BC)
•    Antiochus V Eupator (164–162 BC)
•    Demetrius I Soter (161–150 BC)
•    Alexander I Balas (154–145 BC)
•    Demetrius II Nicator (first reign, 145–138 BC)
•    Antiochus VI Dionysus (or Epiphanes) (145–140 BC?)
•    Diodotus Tryphon (140?–138 BC)
•    Antiochus VII Sidetes (or Euergetes) ( 138–129 BC)
•    Demetrius II Nicator (second reign, 129–126 BC)
•    Alexander II Zabinas (129–123 BC)
•    Cleopatra Thea (126–123 BC)
•    Seleucus V Philometor (126/125 BC)
•    Antiochus VIII Grypus (125–96 BC)
•    Antiochus IX Cyzicenus (114–96 BC)
•    Seleucus VI Epiphanes Nicator (96–95 BC)
•    Antiochus X Eusebes Philopator (95–92 BC or 83 BC)
•    Demetrius III Eucaerus (or Philopator) (95–87 BC)
•    Antiochus XI Epiphanes Philadelphus (95–92 BC)
•    Philip I Philadelphus (95–84/83 BC)
•    Antiochus XII Dionysus (87–84 BC)
•    (Tigranes I of Armenia) (83–69 BC)
•    Antiochus XIII Asiaticus (69–64 BC)
•    Philip II Philoromaeus (65–63 BC)
•    Seleucus VII Kybiosaktes or Philometor (70s BC–60s BC?)


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