Alexander the Great
Seleucus I Nicator, the founder of
the Seleucid Empire.
Hellenistic Period (323-141 B.C.)
In his world-conquering campaign, Alexander hoped for a fruitful union of the Europeans with the peoples of the Middle East. In the effort to reach this goal, Alexander married Roxana, daughter of the most powerful of the Bactrian chiefs, and commanded 80 of his top officers and 10,000 of his soldiers to marry Persian women in a mass wedding at Susa. However, his plans to consummate the union of the Greek and Iranian peoples ended when Alexander was struck with fever and died in Babylon. His generals began squabbling over rights to his extensive empire. They assassinated Alexander's widow and son, and all but one rejected their wives. Then they divided the empire among three of them. Iran passed on to Seleucus, the only officer under Alexander who had kept his Iranian wife whom he genuinely loved. He eventually became known as Seleucus I Nicator, or the "Conqueror': Under Seleucuss son, Antiochus I, many Greek colonists entered Iran. By establishing mixed Greek-Iranian colonies, the Seleucids tried to strengthen their power.
A strong Seleucid monarch, Antiochus III, the sixth in the Seleucid line of kings, was successful in suppressing the threat of constant insurrection by local rulers, but in general he could not stem a tide of rebellion that arose in the Iranian provinces. Despite Selucid's strenuous efforts to introduce Greek culture in Iran, the Greeks remained strangers to the Iranian people. After approximately a century and a half of Greek rule in Iran, the Seleucids were completely overthrown by the Parthians.
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