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Seleucidslocked

  • Andrew F. Stewart

Extract

Name given to the Macedonian kings of Syria and their territories between 311 and 64 bc, whose empire dominated the Ancient Near East from the end of the 4th century bc until the 2nd. Seleukos I Nikator (reg 305–281 bc), one of Alexander the Great’s generals, founded the empire in Babylon in 311 bc; in 300 bc he moved its capital to Antioch, and by his death he controlled most of the region now occupied by Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey (about two-thirds of Alexander’s conquests). Continuous warfare on all fronts considerably eroded this vast territory during the 3rd century bc. Antiochos III (reg 223–187 bc) succeeded in reversing the situation by the 190s bc and even added Israel to the empire, but his unsuccessful invasion of Greece in 191 bc and subsequent defeat by Pergamon and Rome in 188 bc deprived him of most of Asia Minor and saddled the empire with a huge indemnity. A single Roman envoy prevented the ablest of his successors, the eccentric ...

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