Antiochus III the Great


Antiochos III († June

Antiochos ascended the throne after the assassination of his brother Seleucus III in 223 BC during a campaign in Asia Minor against Attalus I of Pergamum. Seleucus had ruled the Seleucid Empire for barely three years, and the empire had gone through a long period of declining power. A temporary climax was marked by the collapse that occurred as a result of the Third Syrian War (246-241 BC) and the turmoil that followed. In this war, the Ptolemaic Ptolemy III tried to impose his own pretender to the throne against Seleucus II, the father of Seleucus III and Antiochus III. This resulted in a series of heavy mortgages that permanently weakened the Seleucid Empire. As a result of the war, both Syria and large parts of Babylonia were temporarily conquered by the Ptolemies. Although Ptolemy III was unable to install his own candidate, who had previously been assassinated, on the Seleucid throne as had been hoped, he was able to secure the most important coastal cities in Asia Minor and the Levant.

Seleucus II was later able to bring the economically important territories in Syria and Mesopotamia back under his rule, but had to deal with the widespread devastation in his empire. In addition, his brother Antiochos Hierax had risen up against him in Asia Minor and was able to bring the areas west of the Tauros Mountains under his control. With the support of the local kings in Pontos and Bithynia and with the help of Galatian mercenaries, Antiochos Hierax was able to hold on in Asia Minor. In addition, he received financial support from the Ptolemies, who were interested in a long-term weakening of the Seleucid Empire. Thus, Seleucus II was confronted with a permanent threat to his imperial headquarters in Syria and Babylonia by his brother, which massively limited his political and military room for maneuver. It was not until Attalus I of Pergamum acted in favor of his own expansion against Antiochus Hierax that Seleucus II was able to regain a foothold in Asia Minor. This restoration policy was continued after Seleucus’ death by his son Seleucus III until his death.

Numerous satrapies located on the periphery of the empire, such as Parthia, Bactria, Atropatene or Armenia, had already creepingly fallen away without the Seleucid rulers being able to do anything about it. The satrapies east of the Zagros Mountains (usually summarized as the Upper Satrapies) comprised a vast and culturally or ethnically very heterogeneous area, whose effective control proved extremely difficult for the Seleucid kings. The local rulers and satrapies were usually far from the Seleucid royal centers in Mesopotamia and Syria and were therefore granted greater autonomy. However, the degree of autonomy of satrapies varied depending on their geographical proximity to the imperial center. The western satrapies, such as Media, Susiana, or Persis, were traditionally more closely tied to the Seleucid king. They formed a security belt and buffer around economically important Mesopotamia. The eastern satrapies such as Bactria and Parthia, however, were usually only formally subordinate to the Seleucid kings and may have had to provide military assistance. However, when Seleucid power began to waver as a result of the Fourth Syrian War, the satrap in Bactria and the satrap in Parthia broke away in the 240s BCE and had themselves proclaimed kings (as a sign of the relinquishment of Seleucid sovereignty).

However, at the beginning of his reign, Antiochos III was able to build on the initial successes of his predecessors, who had certainly been successful with their restoration policies. The economically, militarily and politically most important centers in Syria and Babylonia could be almost completely reconquered (with the exception of the important port city of Seleukeia Pieria, which remained under Ptolemaic occupation). This already allowed Seleucus III to field a considerable military and economic potential in his campaign against Attalus I in Asia Minor. Only the Ptolemies were able to muster comparable forces that could effectively compete with Seleucid resources.

Consolidation of the empire (223-213)

Seleucus III was murdered in 223 BC in an army camp in Asia Minor by the Galatian mercenary Apaturios and a certain Nicanor. Who was behind the murder of Seleucus III could not be clarified, because the murderers were executed a short time later and no investigation was made. John Grainger emphasizes, however, that the question is not whether someone from the courtly circle would have been involved in the murder. The central question, he says, is how many courtiers were part of the murder plot. The involvement of Antiochos III is considered unlikely, since he was in Babylon at the time of his brother’s murder. He was probably attending Babylonian religious rites, which traditionally required the participation of a person of royal lineage in their performance. Moreover, Antiochos may have been deliberately cold-called by Seleucus III and his entourage in Babylon so as not to be in any competition with his brother. The further campaign against Attalus I was taken over conspicuously smoothly by Antiochos III’s cousin Achaios, who as a local dynast in Asia Minor probably pursued his own personal goals in the sense of expanding his own power. The royal troops were led back to Syria by the respected general Epigenes. Achaios was left with local and his own contingents of troops. By the time Antiochos arrived in Antioch, the cards were already distributed among the most powerful players in the empire. The satrap Molon was confirmed in his position in Media and the Upper Satrapies, and Achaios received the territories east of the Tauros Mountains in Asia Minor. Politicians and military leaders such as Hermeias or the aforementioned Epigenes tried to assert their influence on the still young king Antiochos. Polybios writes about this that at this time none of the political actors took the young king seriously and Antiochos was seen as a potentially weak king.

Already around the year 222 the satrap Molon rose against Antiochos’ rule. The reasons for the uprising are in the dark, because Polybios, the main source for this period, remains only vague. Polybios writes that Molon and his brother Alexandros (satrap in Persis) resisted Antiochos’ minister Hermeias. The latter would rule cruelly over the court and jealously have rivals murdered or eliminated. Molon’s rebellion in the Upper Satrapies, the area east of the Zagros Mountains, was initially to be brought under control by the two generals Theodotos Hemiolios and Xenon, since Antiochos was already gearing up for war against Ptolemaic Egypt. But Molon was able to catch the two generals off guard by his rapid advance, so they retreated without a fight. Probably Antiochos had hoped that the revolt would end quickly and had given Theodotos Hemiolios and Xenon very few soldiers. Therefore, another general named Xenoitas was sent with some troops, but he was defeated at Ctesiphon by a ruse of Molon. Subsequently, Molon was able to conquer one of the most important provinces of the Seleucid Empire (Mesopotamia) to a large extent, which among other things plunged Antiochos into severe financial problems. A mutiny broke out among his soldiers, which could only be ended after the minister Hermeias settled the outstanding pay. One of Hermeias’ conditions for this payment was that Antiochos had to politically drop his capable and militarily competent officer Epigenes, who was subsequently murdered by his rival Hermeias.

Antiochos now moved east with a large army against Molon. The insurgent had little to oppose this superior force, but he presented himself for a decisive battle. When defeat became apparent, Molon committed suicide, and his rebellion quickly collapsed. His brother Alexandros also committed suicide and Antiochos distributed the vacated satrapies to deserving officers. After the Molon revolt, Antiochos still moved against King Artabazanes of Media Atropatene, who quickly submitted. Polybios justifies the campaign with the help that Artabazanes would have given to Molon.

A cousin of the king, Achaios, had been able to reconquer the western interior of the peninsula from the Attalids in his function as viceroy of Asia Minor since 223 BC. Achaios came from a distinguished family of local Hellenic dynasts who, as powerful landowners, had a decisive influence on politics in Asia Minor. As a local ruler, he had already supported Seleucus III’s campaign against Attalus I, probably for opportunistic reasons, since he hoped to increase his own power after the end of the war. He was probably also involved in the assassination of Seleucus, since he conspicuously took command of the campaign without resistance. After the assassination, the troops initially offered him the kingship in 223 BC in competition with Antiochos III, but Achaios rejected it. Why the dynast rejected the proclamation is unclear. However, it can be assumed that Achaios did not want to dare a confrontation with Antiochos III as long as Attalos had not yet been forced into a peace.

However, Achaeus soon regretted his decision and had himself proclaimed king around the year 220 BC. Polybios justifies this change of course with a circulating rumor that Antiochos had died in the war against Artabazanes of Media Atropatene. Achaios had then asserted his claim to the throne. The opportunity seemed favorable, since Achaios had made a peace with Attalus around the year 221 B.C., thus freeing his back for military action in the east against Antiochos. After it became clear that Antiochos III had by no means died, there was nevertheless no turning back for Achaios. For this reason, he intended to move across the Tauros Mountains into Syria. His soldiers did not want to support this step and mutinied against Achaios with the reason that they did not want to move “against the ancestral king”. Grainger is critical of this reasoning of Polybios and attributes the mutiny of the troops to their specific ethnic composition and their expectations of Achaios in his role as king. Achaios’ troops at this point consisted of local musters and his own mercenaries. These would have seen Achaios as king in Asia Minor and protector from the Galatians, who were known for their raiding parties. In a war in Syria, Achaios would have had to neglect these duties. Therefore, the soldiers refused to fight in Syria but were willing to assist Achaios in his plunder of Pisidia in Asia Minor. Antiochos interpreted the mutiny as Achaius’ inability to take action in Syria. Accordingly, he ruled out an acute threat from Asia Minor. Instead, Antiochos could concentrate his forces against Ptolemy IV in the Fourth Syrian War.

Achaios, meanwhile, fought in a series of wars in Asia Minor during the Fourth Syrian War. First against the Selgians in Pisidia, who could be forced to surrender only after laborious small-scale warfare. Hereafter he fought with King Prusias of Bithynia, with whom he was in direct competition in western Asia Minor. In addition, the fights with Attalos I flared up again. Thus, Achaeus lost himself in wars and skirmishes, which complicated his preparations for the upcoming confrontation with Antiochos III and isolated him politically in Asia Minor.

Only after his defeat at Raphia in 217 BC did Antiochos turn his military attention to his cousin. In alliance with Attalus I, who demanded his lost territories back from Achaeus, Antiochos succeeded quite quickly in enclosing the defeated Achaeus in his residence Sardis and besieging the city. The Ptolemaic minister Sosibios (probably on behalf of Ptolemy IV) still tried to turn the tide in Achaios’ favor by sending military advisors and mercenaries. A major military intervention was prevented by the truce of the peace treaty concluded after the Fourth Syrian War. At last Achaios fell victim to a treachery of his own mercenaries, was captured and delivered to Antiochos. The latter had his cousin executed extremely brutally as a traitor in 213 BC. Thereupon the resistance in Sardis collapsed. The former domain of Achaios was handed over to a close confidant of the king named Zeuxis for administration. Zeuxis had already proven himself capable during the revolt of Molon and the Fourth Syrian War.

The Fourth Syrian War (220-217)

The greatest military conflict of Antiochos III’s first reign was undoubtedly the war against Ptolemaic Egypt. At the center of the conflict was Koilesyria. This ancient landscape comprised the area south of the Eleutheros River and included Phoenicia with its hinterland, as well as Judaea and Galilee. Usually the Sinai Peninsula is understood as the southern border of Koilesyria. Its special strategic value was due to its long coastline and many port cities, which were indispensable especially for controlling the sea routes from Egypt to Asia Minor and the Aegean. Ancient ships of this period were mostly coastal vessels that did not venture into the high seas, but sailed closely along the numerous coastal towns. Control of the coastal cities in Koilesyria was thus tantamount to control of all trade in the Levant. For an empire with a strong navy, such as that of the Ptolemaic Empire, control of the important naval bases on the coast was therefore also of great importance from a military perspective. Moreover, Koilesyria formed a fertile corridor from Syria to Egypt, which was otherwise largely surrounded by desert. Obtaining water, food, and fodder for horses and cattle was a central problem for ancient warfare. Troops could have easily invaded fertile Egypt via this corridor. Therefore, it was a core interest of Ptolemaic policy that fertile Koile Syria be maintained as a kind of “front yard” and buffer against the Seleucids. Conversely, the Seleucid kings tried to keep the Ptolemies away from their centers in Syria. Thus, the landscape of Koilesyria was a volatile region where battles and conflicts broke out again and again.

This conflict had already arisen under the founders of the empire, Ptolemy I and Seleucus I. After the victory of Ipsos against Antigonos Monophthalmos in 301 BC, the victorious Diadochi had divided the old empire of Alexander the Great among themselves. Ptolemy had stayed away from the battle and had not participated decisively in its victorious outcome, as Seleucus had. Therefore, the Ptolemies (according to the Seleucids) had no claim to the booty, which included Koilesyria. However, upon Seleucus’ return, Ptolemy had already created facts when he occupied Koilesyria earlier. Seleucus did not try to enforce his (according to Seleucid reading) rightful claim, but never gave up this claim completely. This argumentation later developed into the standard equipment of Seleucid diplomacy, as Werner Huß calls it, and Seleucus I’s successors saw this claim to Koilesyria as part of their inheritance over the entire empire.

This inherited claim becomes clear in the failed negotiations between Ptolemy IV and Antiochus III in the winter of 218 BC, when the Seleucid formulated his inherited claim to the share of the spoils of the battle of Ipsos. The Ptolemaic side argued that although they had not participated directly in the battle of Ipsos, they had fought their own battles around and in Koilesyria against Antigonos. Thus, a right to the spoils of war had been sufficiently justified. Moreover, the Ptolemaic diplomats referred to previously concluded agreements (such as the peace treaty that ended the Third Syrian War) that had already established the affiliation of Koilesyria.

Another point of contention was the status of the port city of Seleukeia Pieria, which had been occupied by Ptolemy III during the Third Syrian War. The city was founded by the founder of the empire as part of the “Four Sisters”, consisting of Antioch on the Orontes, Apameia on the Orontes, Laodikeia and Seleukeia Pieria. Under the Seleucids, the highly urbanized area around the cities had become rich and prosperous. As one of the Seleucid centers, the four cities played an enormous economic, military and political role throughout the Seleucid Empire. When founded by Seleucus I, Seleukeia Pieria was the central port of Syria and the main transshipment point for goods produced or consumed in interior Syria. By occupying the city, therefore, the Ptolemies effectively controlled the import and export of goods to and from the important cities in Syria. At the same time, the city was very heavily fortified and was a welcome base for the Ptolemies to conduct any kind of operations against the Seleucids, who thus had the enemy in their own backyard. From a state ideological perspective, the loss of Seleukeia Pieria was also serious, since central sanctuaries for the Seleucid state cult were located here (e.g., the tomb of Seleucus I, Antiochus I, or the main temple for the state cult as a whole). A recapture of Seleukeia Pieria may thus have been understood by Antiochos III as an undisputed and non-negotiable war goal.

It is considered undisputed in research that Antiochos III started the war. Initially, only the date of the beginning of the war is disputed. Polybios dates the beginning of the war already to the year 222 BC, before the revolt of Molon. Polybios writes that the opportunity was favorable because the new Ptolemaic king Ptolemy IV was considered weak and lacking in energy. Therefore, hardly any significant resistance was to be expected. Well-known historians such as Werner Huß and Frank Walbank, however, contradict this statement, since in 222 B.C. the father of Ptolemy IV, Ptolemy III, was still alive. Ptolemy III had died only in the autumn of 221 B.C., which means that the war could have started at the turn of the year 221 B.C. at the earliest.

The opportunity for an attack on Koilesyria was quite favorable for Antiochos III. The Ptolemaic Empire was struggling with conflicts over succession after the death of Ptolemy III. Both the later Ptolemy IV and his brother Magas were available as heirs. According to Polybios, Magas could count on broad support from the army and from his mother Berenice. Ptolemy found support in Sosibios and Agathocles, two of the most powerful political players in the empire. In a sensational move, Sosibios had both Berenice and Magas assassinated. In addition, there were further persecutions of partisans of the dead Magas. Moreover, the army was in bad shape, further weakened by the persecution of officers close to Magas. According to Huss, a war between Antiochos III and Ptolemy was only a matter of time, and Antiochos began his armaments shortly after his accession (this could explain, for example, why Antiochos initially sent only a few troops against Molon, since he wanted to gather his army for an attack against Ptolemy).

Around 220 BC, the Seleucids began their first advance into Koilesyria, but the local Ptolemaic governor, Theodotos the Aitolian, was able to repel them with heavy Seleucid losses. This was achieved by a barricade between the Lebanon and Antilibanon mountains in the intervening Bekaa plain. A way across the coastal road was blocked by many fortified cities. The first attack was probably planned as a coup d’état-like conquest, but failed because Theodotos was well prepared. Thus the first attempt to conquer Koilesyria ended in a stalemate. The fighting now ebbed away, partly because Molon was able to achieve considerable success in the east. Antiochos had to move against the rebel with his main army.

Only on his return in 219 BC and after Molon’s defeat did Antiochos resume hostilities. Antiochos now changed strategy and first besieged Seleukeia Pieria, which fell a short time later through treachery. In August 219 BC, Theodotos the Aitolian offered to switch sides to Antiochos. Polybios justifies the Aitolian’s move with the lack of appreciation he had received for his achievements in 220 BC against Antiochos. He was even criticized and threatened with death by Ptolemy IV and his followers. As a result of the defection of the governor, Antiochos was able to overcome the defensive bars in the Bekaa Plain and enter Koilesyria. The Ptolemaic troops initially retreated, leaving parts of Koilesyria to the Seleucids. Nevertheless, many cities in northern Palestine offered resistance, some of it fierce, so that Antiochos had to retreat to winter camp in 219 BC without having secured Koilesyria. But important successes were also achieved; for example, the important port cities of Tyros and Ptolemais fell, along with 40 ships. In the winter of that year, Sosibios sent the first legations to Antiochos, apparently to negotiate a peace. Polybios emphasizes that the negotiations were never serious, but were intended solely to buy time to advance armaments for a Ptolemaic army. For this new army, completely new formations were raised and trained in Hellenistic style and tactics by Greek and Macedonian officers. In addition, 20,000 Egyptians were trained at arms, which was a special exception since ethnic Greeks or Macedonians usually fought in the Ptolemaic army.

Finally, in 218 B.C., the negotiations failed completely because of the demand of the Ptolemaic negotiators that the rebel Achaios in Asia Minor be included in the peace. If Antiochos had agreed to this, then Achaios would have been recognized as an equal party to the treaty rather than a rebel and traitor. Under no circumstances could the Seleucid agree to this. Antiochos resumed hostilities in the spring of 218 after the open failure of the negotiations. He defeated an army under the Ptolemaic general Nikolaos, advanced into Koilesyria and conquered other cities. In the process, Antiochos distinguished himself by relying heavily on Ptolemaic defectors, whom he provided rich rewards and further careers in his own ranks. Thus, Theodotos the Aitoler received additional commands in the battle of Raphia and in the siege of Rhabatamana. This allowed him to avoid unnecessary fighting and to spare his own troops. During these campaigns Antiochos was able to further improve his military skills and showed a special talent in leading and commanding troops. Antiochos was supported by a number of capable advisors and officers, whom he kept in constant competition with each other. For Antiochos, this had the advantage that the generals fought for his favor and he himself remained unchallenged as arbiter and decisive authority. At the end of 218 BC, Antiochos went into winter camp in Ptolemais. There had not yet been a clash with the main Ptolemaic army, which was still being built up, but Antiochos was able to capture important positions and cities. However, other cities such as Sidon continued to resist, so there was no question of a complete conquest of Koilesyria yet.

By the spring of 217 BC, preparations were complete for the main Ptolemaic army, which moved quickly north from Memphis through Pelusion. Antiochos came to meet Ptolemy IV and the armies clashed at Raphia, near modern Gaza. In the subsequent decisive battle of Raphia, Ptolemy IV was able to defeat Antiochus. The latter first retreated to Gaza and tried to gather his troops. When this failed, he retreated to Antioch and initiated peace negotiations.

Antiochos had suffered heavy losses in the battle of Raphia. At the same time, the Seleucid feared that Achaemenus might take advantage of this period of weakness to invade Syria after all. In addition, there was a threat that Syria would be plundered, which would have harmed Antiochos economically in the long term. Until then, the fighting had taken place mainly in Koile Syria, and Antiochos’ own country had been largely spared. The initiation of serious peace talks therefore seemed urgently advisable. In the peace negotiations that followed, in which Achaios was not involved, Antiochos had to cede again all conquests in Koilesyria. No explicit statement is preserved about the status of Seleukeia Pieria, so it is not clear whether Antiochos had to cede the city as well. The exact provisions of the treaty have not survived verbatim and are paraphrased in Polybios, Iustin, and the Raphiadekret. The ancient historian Iustin thinks that all conquered cities (including Seleukeia Pieria) had to be returned and Werner Huß also assumes this case. However, recent publications by John Grainger and Stefan Pfeiffer see evidence that Ptolemy IV had to make concessions and Seleukeia Pieria remained Seleucid. Less than 15 years later, Seleukeia Pieria almost certainly fell to the Seleucids again, as Antiochos III was able to achieve a complete victory against Ptolemy IV’s son, Ptolemy V, in the Fifth Syrian War (202-195 BC).

Polybios criticized Ptolemy IV for his quick concession in the negotiations with Antiochos III and thinks that Ptolemy could have demanded further concessions. Polybios sees the reason for Ptolemy’s weak conduct of negotiations in the corrupt character of the king, who abandoned the toils of continued war in favor of his stronghold at Alexandria. It should be noted here, however, that Ptolemy IV was assisted in his decisions by a whole staff of advisors and often based his decisions on them. To mention are for example Agathokles and Sosibios, whom Werner Huß estimates as successful and capable. That Ptolemy’s corrupt character alone should be responsible for the lenient peace therefore seems to be a very one-sided explanation. Instead, research cites a bundle of several factors that may have contributed to the quick conclusion of peace. For example, internal problems in particular may have accelerated the conclusion of peace from the Ptolemaic side. For example, economic problems may have shortened the war, as the extensive armaments before the Battle of Raphia had been very costly. According to Huß, social tensions caused by tax increases, among other things, were one of the causes of the revolts in Egypt that broke out at the end of Ptolemy IV’s reign. Thus, the revolts would be a direct consequence of the economic stresses of the war. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that Ptolemy IV was already anything but secure on his throne before the war. Continuing the war would not have helped stabilize the domestic political situation, but might have exacerbated the king’s legitimacy problems. For these reasons, a protracted war of attrition was probably not in the Ptolemy’s interest. Antiochos, on the other hand, was in an excellent defensive position, as Syria had a number of strongly fortified cities. Thus, continuing a war seemed unprofitable for Ptolemy IV and his advisors and not commensurate with the effort.

The defeat in the Fourth Syrian War marked the first, bitter setback for Antiochos III’s foreign policy. He was unable to conquer Koilesyria, and the status of Seleucias Pieria is disputed in contemporary research. But unlike Ptolemy IV, Antiochos sought new foreign policy goals, essentially aiming at a restoration policy of the old empire within the borders of Seleucus I’s time. In this, he benefited from the peace with the Ptolemies to the extent that another war was not to be feared during the lifetimes of both monarchs. Only if one of the two monarchs would die, then further acts of war would be possible (treaties between Hellenistic monarchs were usually concluded for the lifetime of both parties). This left Antiochos free to pursue his own military ambitions and not have to worry about direct Ptolemaic intervention.

The big loser of the peace of 217 BC was certainly Achaios. He had not been included in the peace settlement, and Ptolemaic aid in the future would be limited only to monetary payments and minor assistance. Thus, the rebel Achaios had effectively been dropped by his Ptolemaic allies. In addition, only a few Seleucid troops were still tied up on the border with the Ptolemaic Empire, allowing Antiochos III to bring his forces more fully to bear in the struggle against Achaius. Caught in this isolation, it was not long before Achaios met his end against the Seleucid king, who was far superior to him in resources.

Anabasis (212-205)

After the suppression of the Achaian revolt in 213 BC, Antiochos prepared for his next great campaign: his move to the east, the so-called Anabasis. The opportunity for a multi-year expedition to the east was very favorable. In the west, Asia Minor had been brought under control after the defeat of Achaia, and the Ptolemies were bound by a peace treaty to keep quiet. Antiochos could also count on help and support from the eastern satrapies, which had risen against him a few years earlier under Molon. After Antiochos’ victory over Molon, he had occupied the satrapies with loyal followers. What specific goals Antiochos pursued with his move is not clear from the sources. The main source on Antiochos III, Polybios, survives only in fragments over the period of the Anabasis. Other potentially relevant authors such as Pompeius Trogus and Diodorus are also preserved in very fragmentary form. Only Iustin can supplement this meager source situation, but only to a limited extent. In addition, modern research is confronted with the problem that sometimes no information is available about the ruling conditions in the east. Even the extent of the kingdoms and satrapies there (see maps) is based only on estimates.

John Grainger sees a restoration of Seleucid power in the upper satrapies as a possible medium-term goal. Already Seleucus II had undertaken military campaigns in the east to assert Seleucid claims of suzerainty over the satrapies in the east, but had failed. Antiochos probably did not indulge in the illusion of control in the sense of direct rule of the vast territories in the east. Instead, Antiochos pursued the strategy of binding the apostate satraps and kings more closely to himself again. Accordingly, the goal was to create a series of dependent and largely autonomous vassals who accepted Antiochos as their superior king. Otherwise, control of the vast territories in the east would simply not be possible.

But first Antiochos invaded Armenia under his king Xerxes. The relations of the Armenian kings with the Seleucids are hardly mentioned in the sources, but according to Polybios, the Armenian rulers paid tributes to the Seleucids, which were hired by Xerxes’ father, Abdissares. Xerxes’ grandfather, Arsames, is said to have assisted Antiochos Hierax in his invasion of Babylonia. Thus, in addition to the formal subjugation of an apostate tributary state, security interests may have played a role in Antiochos’ move against Xerxes. Xerxes himself had to formally submit to Antiochos and pay tribute, but was allowed to continue ruling Armenia. At the same time, a marriage between Xerxes and a sister of Antiochos was arranged to confirm the new alliance.

After a long preparation, Antiochos began his anabasis by leaving his bases in Mesopotamia for Media. The move through this area, which was ruled by the loyal satrap Diogenes, is completely in the dark due to poor sources. Neither the route nor the number of Seleucid troops is known. John Grainger estimates the size of the expedition at about 35,000 men. Compared to the Seleucid contingent in the battle of Raphia (about 68,000 men) this contingent may seem quite low, but the supply of these troops had to be able to be guaranteed in this impassable and partly desert area. Reducing the number of troops in favor of increased mobility may therefore have been the main interest of the Seleucid king in his preparations. In addition, the expedition could be supplemented by local auxiliary troops.

In 209 B.C. Antiochos undertook a military campaign into the Parthian Empire. Iustin writes that Antiochos invaded with 100,000 men, which seems to be clearly exaggerated in view of the difficult logistics. Sherwin-White and Kuhrt generally see a tendency to overestimate the power of the Parthians at this time. Rather, they would have quickly submitted to Antiochos. Their king Arsakes II had to acknowledge the Seleucids’ suzerainty, but in return he was allowed to keep his kingdom and the title of king. As the following goal, secured by the sources, the kingdom of Bactria under its king Euthydemos I was subjugated. Euthydemos had come to power as a usurper around the year 230 BC. At that time, Bactria was a rich, prosperous and populous country that could economically muster the resources for a prolonged resistance. The extent to which the fighting took place is difficult to determine due to poor sources. However, the resistance against Antiochos is said to have been very fierce. For example, Antiochos forfeited his horse and some of his teeth in a battle at the river Arios against the Bactrians. In addition, the capital of Bactria, Bactra, seems to have been under protracted siege. Thus, Polybios praises the siege of the city as a military feat. Around the year 206 BC, Antiochos and Euthydemos made peace. Euthydemos had to submit, but was also allowed to keep his empire and title.

After the peace treaty with Bactria’s king Euthydemos I (206 B.C.) he moved to India, following the example of Seleukos, and there concluded a treaty of friendship with the Maurya(?) king Sophagasenus.

These war campaigns left a lasting impression on the Greek world. Antiochos’ anabasis was exploited most successfully for propaganda purposes in Greece. In recognition of his achievements, Antiochos was given the epithet “the Great”.

In research it is disputed what real political value the Anabasis had for Antiochos III and the Seleucid Empire. Sherwin-White and Kuhrt see the achievements of the Anabasis as quite countable and significant, since the troubled satrapies and kingdoms could be pacified for almost 25 years and tied again more closely to the Seleucids. Hatto Schmitt disagrees with the statement that the Anabasis was essentially pure propaganda without any countervalue. However, he judges the successes in terms of realpolitik as small and not lasting. After the bitter defeat in the war against Rome and after the death of Antiochos III in 187 BC, Parthia and Bactria again fell away from the Seleucid Empire. However, the factual importance of the superior satrapies for power and wealth in the Seleucid Empire must not be overestimated. In this regard, Schmitt writes: “The Iranian provinces were little more than recruiting grounds and sources of taxation for the king.” The main centers for Seleucid kings continued to be in Syria and Mesopotamia. The loss of some vassals in the periphery only marginally diminished the opportunities of the Seleucid kings, who remained powerful. Only after the loss of Mesopotamia to the Parthians in 129 BC did the Seleucid empire’s position as a great power end.

Struggle for supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean (204-196)

When a child, Ptolemy V, ascended the throne of Egypt in 204 BC, Antiochus made new plans to conquer Palestine. He undertook a new attack and won a decisive victory at Paneas at the sources of the Jordan River in 198 B.C., ending the Ptolemies’ rule over Palestine (see: Fifth Syrian War).

The “Cold War” with Rome (196-192)

In Asia Minor, the Seleucids had under their control only the inland areas in the west of the peninsula. The coastal areas were under the control of Egypt, Pergamon and Rhodes. Since the Treaty of Robbery, Philip V of Macedon had also tried to gain a foothold in Caria and Ionia, but his position in Asia Minor collapsed during the Second Macedonian War against Rome. Antiochos therefore moved once again into Asia Minor after his victory in the Fifth Syrian War to secure the former territories of the Ptolemies and Antigonids. For the most part, he managed without military operations, since he formed alliances with the Greek cities located there and left them their autonomy. However, Smyrna and Lampsakos, which asked Rome for help against Antiochos, were excluded from this. The Seleucid king initially avoided the two cities and crossed over to Europe. In Thrace, he rebuilt the almost completely abandoned city of Lysimacheia, which had been overrun by the local tribes.

The Romans initially feared that Antiochos wanted to come to Philip’s aid, but could be reassured in this regard for the time being. The political plan of their commander Titus Quinctius Flamininus provided that in the future there should no longer be a hegemonic power in Greece. Flamininus wanted to avoid at all costs that the Seleucid king would now take the place of the previous hegemon Philip. Therefore, Rome and Antiochos tried in several conferences to delimit their spheres of interest, but could not achieve success. Initially, neither of the two great powers had any direct reason for a military confrontation, but a “cold war” developed between them in the years 196 to 192, during which they courted the favor of the Greek powers and cities.

Flamininus had proclaimed the freedom of all Greeks at the Isthmian Games in 196. He thus threatened the political position of Antiochos, who outwardly presented himself as the liberator of the Greek cities and the restorer of their autonomy. Finally, the Romans gave him the choice of either giving up Thrace permanently, whereupon he would be given a free hand in Asia Minor, or continuing to tolerate Roman influence there. Antiochos, however, did not accept this, as he wanted control over both Thrace and Asia Minor.

Rome had been allied with the Attalids of Pergamum since the two wars against Philip. Since 197, the Asia Minor empire was ruled by Eumenes II, who had great interest in Rome pushing back the Seleucid influence on its border. Conversely, Antiochos allied himself with the Aitolian League, which was hostile to the new Roman order in Greece. Although the Aitolitans had fought together with Rome against Philip, their territorial gains had turned out to be smaller than they had hoped, since Flamininus wanted a balance of power in Greece. However, the Aitolitans could only hope to prevail in a war against Rome with the help of the Seleucids, which is why they assured Antiochus that all of Greece was just waiting for him to come over from Asia for liberation.

In 195, the Carthaginian commander Hannibal had to leave his hometown and was given asylum at the Seleucid court, whereupon relations between Rome and Antiochos cooled further. In the elections for the consulship in 194, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, who had defeated the Carthaginian in the Second Punic War, was elected. Antiochos, however, made little use of Hannibal. The latter asked the Seleucid king for troops for a political coup in Carthage. After that, Hannibal could dare a second invasion of Italy, while Antiochos would have a free hand to change the conditions in the Aegean region in his favor. The Seleucid rejected this plan, however, because he himself would have played only a minor role, which was incompatible with his image as a ruler.

The Aitolians tried to provoke a war in Greece in the spring of 192 by leading revolts in the important cities of Demetrias, Chalcis and Sparta. They succeeded only in Demetrias, where an anti-Roman government could be established. The Romans then made it known that they would not accept the city’s apostasy. Antiochos finally decided to accept the Aitolian invitation to “liberate” Greece so as not to allow further strengthening of the pro-Roman forces. The king was inadequately equipped militarily, but he nevertheless dared to invade in the fall with 10,000 men and landed at Demetrias. This was the beginning of the Syrian-Roman War.

The Syrian-Roman War (192-188)

Seleucids and Aitolians attempted to bring larger parts of Greece under their control before the Roman counterattack would occur. By the spring of 191, Antiochos was able to assert himself in Chalcis, Boiotia, Elis, and parts of Thessaly and Acarnania. Military support, apart from the Aitolian League, he could only get from King Amynander of Athamania. During the winter, Antiochos married a Chalcidian woman, thereby demonstrating his connection to Greece. Philip of Macedonia, however, decided against Antiochos and in favor of his former adversary Rome, since he was promised the partial restoration of his ancient power. Likewise, the Achaian League sided with Rome.

The Roman troops under the supreme command of Manius Acilius Glabrio advanced against Thessaly with Macedonian support, whereupon Antiochos had to retreat south and entrenched himself in Thermopylae. Glabrio attacked the 10,000 Seleucid and 4,000 Aitolian warriors with about 25,000 soldiers and was finally able to force a breakthrough in the Second Battle of Thermopylae. Antiochos did not try to save his position in Greece, but retreated to Asia Minor. However, the Aitolians continued the war with financial support from the Seleucid king.

The new consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio was to follow Antiochos to Asia Minor, but for this to happen, naval supremacy first had to be won. The Roman fleet commander Gaius Livius Salinator was able to defeat the Seleucid admiral Polyxenidas together with the Pergamenian fleet in the Battle of Korykos in the fall of 191. Antiochos did not give up the naval war, however, and had new ships built during the winter, with which Polyxenidas defeated the Rhodians allied with Rome at the Battle of Panormos. In addition, Hannibal was ordered to assemble a second fleet in Phoenicia. This was defeated by a Rhodian fleet at the Battle of Side in the summer of 190. After Salinator’s successor Lucius Aemilius Regillus, with Rhodian support, also defeated Polyxenidas’ fleet in the Battle of Myonessos, the naval war was decided in Rome’s favor.

Lucius Scipio, accompanied by his brother Scipio Africanus, marched through Macedonia to Thrace, occupied Lysimacheia, abandoned by the Seleucids, and crossed the Hellespont unchallenged. At the end of 190, up to 100,000 soldiers from both sides met in the battle of Magnesia. Antiochos led the cavalry and broke through the Roman ranks, but could not come to the aid of his own infantry. The enemy cavalry was under the command of the Pergamenian king Eumenes, who attacked the Seleucid phalanx laterally. After Antiochos’ war elephants were driven back by the Roman infantry, they broke into their own ranks, whereupon Antiochos’ army took flight.

The military decision was followed by long negotiations, which were concluded with the Peace of Apameia in 188 BC. Antiochos lost all lands north and west of the Tauros, so that of the Asia Minor possessions only Cilicia remained in his possession. The ceded territories fell to the Roman allies Pergamum and Rhodes, or became independent if they came to terms with Rome in time. The Seleucids were forbidden any foreign policy in Asia Minor. The fleet was reduced to ten ships, which were not allowed to sail beyond Cape Sarpedon, while the possession of war elephants was banned altogether.

In addition, Antiochos undertook to pay heavy reparations. In total, the Seleucid Empire had to raise 15,000 talents of silver in twelve years-50 percent more than Carthage had to pay after the Second Punic War, and in a quarter of the time. Antiochos and his sons were able to raise this sum, but they had to levy heavy taxes as a result. This was ultimately Antiochos the Great’s undoing when he was slain in 187 while looting a temple in Elymais.

Domestic policy

At the accession of Antiochos III to the throne in 223 BC, the Seleucid Empire had gone through a period of crises. At the beginning of his reign, it seemed that the young Antiochos, as a weak and controllable king, would not be able to end this period of weakness. Thus, Molon would not have taken the young Seleucid seriously at first during his elevation and therefore only dared his rebellion. Molon’s disregard for Antiochos’ position testified to a legitimacy problem of the Seleucids. After losing the war against the Ptolemies and the peace, which was perceived as disgraceful, throne disputes between the brothers Seleucus II (father of Antiochus III) and Antiochus Hierax, and the assassination of Antiochus III’s brother, Seleucus III, by officers, the prestige and power position of the Seleucid central power had suffered greatly. Instead, various court parties around important courtiers such as Epigenes or Hermeias had gained enormous power during the period, if they did not rise in revolt like Molon or Achaios. In addition to a foreign policy agenda, it was therefore also important to get the court under direct control, which Antiochos succeeded in doing extremely quickly. Antiochos knew how to play the individual court parties off against each other, so that they eliminated each other. Thus, the Hermeias faction eliminated Epigenes, who had excellent contacts with the military, as part of an intrigue. At the same time, Antiochos promoted deserving and capable politicians and military officers who were beholden to him alone. In awarding posts, honors, gifts, and satrapies, Antiochos sought to consider those retainers who had proven their personal loyalty, but without allowing these courtiers to become too powerful. For example, Zeuxis made it from a middle-ranking officer to viceroy of Asia Minor. Previously, Zeuxis had first rendered service in the defense of Seleucia on the Tigris against Molon and then played a decisive role in the Seleucid counteroffensive of the king. Such favorites formed power-political counterweights to the other factions at court to keep the competition for royal favor alive. Antiochos, on the other hand, remained untouched as the source of this favor as arbiter and king. Over time, Antiochos learned the rules of the court game and used his own intrigues to strengthen his own position of power. Moreover, he knew how to exploit this internal competition for favor. Thus Polybios reports that Antiochos put the generals Nikarchos and Theodotos the Aitolian in a kind of competition for the best performance during the siege of Rhabbatamana (218 BC). Both generals would have wanted to prove themselves in such a way that they had run up to military maximum performances.

After the murder of the powerful minister Hermeias, Antiochos was to be able to maintain control over his courtiers until his death.

Besides his own favorites, Antiochos also relied on foreign advisors. Probably the best-known advisor in the Roman-Syrian War was the general Hannibal. In Roman sources such as Iustin, which portray Hannibal as a genial archenemy of the Romans, the influence seems to have been enormous. However, how strong was the influence of the Carthaginian on the decisions of the Seleucid is disputed in research.

Antiochos was also the first Seleucid king to establish a centralized state cult around his person and his dynasty. Previously, the Seleucid kings had been worshipped decentrally in various cities as individual cults. Antiochos established a new, centralized religious doctrine.

Foreign Policy

Both Hatto Schmitt and John D. Grainger assume a foreign policy agenda according to which Antiochos III attempted a restoration of the old Seleucid empire. The borders of this old empire were to be the domain of the empire’s founder Seleucus I Nicator at his death in 281 BC. Thus, the claimed territory extended from Thrace in the west to the Indus River in the east. The claim was justified by the concept of “spear-won land”, i.e. conquest by virtue of the right of victory. Seleucus I had won his right to rule over these territories by his victory against Antigonus Monophthalmos at Ipsos in 301 B.C. and in the battle of Kurupedion in 281 B.C. against Lysimachus. During the Fourth Syrian War, Antiochos III made his claims for what he considered a “reconquest” of Koilesyria on this basis. Antiochos made the same arguments during his failed negotiations with Rome for control of Thrace. Werner Huß refers to the reference to Seleucus I’s acquisition of spears as “standard equipment” of Seleucid diplomacy, which was repeatedly put forward (including later by Antiochus III’s son, Antiochus IV) during negotiations. Of course, such claims were disputed by the Seleucids’ competitors (e.g., Ptolemaic Egypt, Rome, Pergamum, etc.) and contested by means of their own selective arguments and derivations. On the other hand, Ptolemaic Egypt, for example, also used elements of the spear acquisition as justification for its own claims in Koilesyria. Both the Ptolemies and Antiochos and his predecessors or successors cared little about this contradiction; their own spear-acquired claim was regarded as the only valid one.

It must be emphasized, however, that “spear acquisition” is a modern terminus technicus; the abstract term in this modern form was entirely unknown in Hellenistic times. Nor is “spear acquisition” to be understood as part of any kind of international or martial law. Such determinations of legal rules at the state level or in war are considered in research as a modern development. In practice, the argument of “spear acquisition” was nevertheless invoked to justify terratorial claims. Clemens Koehn even goes so far as to suggest that spear acquisition was pure propaganda against rival kings and to justify one’s own expansion of power. For Antiochos III the argumentation offered a successful pretext to present himself not as an aggressor but as a restorer of his empire. Especially during the anabasis in the Upper Satrapies, this argumentation was supposed to be helpful. Previously, the Seleucids had already exercised suzerainty over these empires and satrapies and had repeatedly attempted to re-subjugate the territories (most recently around 235-230 BC under Antiochos III’s father, Seleucus II). Thus, the move of Antiochos III was not new in this sense and the Seleucid claims to suzerainty were not perceived as entirely unknown. Among other things, this circumstance explains the often quick submission of the satraps and kings in the east, who only recognized their “old” masters. Their task was made easier by the fact that they were left in their offices and in some places they were even allowed to keep their titles. In this way, Antiochos III saved his resources for other ventures around his core regions in Mesopotamia and Syria, which were of far greater importance to Antiochos than the distant satrapies in the east.

In his foreign policy, Antiochos was very active and almost restless, especially at the beginning of his reign. Antiochos sometimes put down the uprisings of Molon and Achaios very brutally. To Antiochos, these men were traitors and deserved no other punishment. In his campaigns against Ptolemy IV and during the Anabasis, Antiochos usually acted prudently and wisely. He owed his success in no small measure to his able officers, whom he himself had promoted. He tried to avoid protracted sieges or large field battles, as this would take a lot of time, troops and resources. Instead, he liked to rely on defections from the enemy or negotiations with the other warring party. If the enemy joined him voluntarily, he could hope for sometimes generous rewards. Thus, the Ptolemaic traitor Theodotos the Aitolian was able to continue his career in the Seleucid army unhindered after his defection during the Fourth Syrian War. And during the Anabasis, most of the satraps and kings in the East were able to save their posts and offices upon submission to Antiochus.

In the first 20 years since his accession to the throne, he was permanently (except for a few interruptions) on field and war campaigns. This very active style of government was evaluated very positively by his contemporary Polybios, since Antiochos was able to strengthen his ailing empire again. Polybios liked to draw the comparison to the king in Egypt, Ptolemy IV, who reigned at the same time and who allegedly stayed in his capital celebrating and lazing around. As a result, Ptolemaic Egypt had lost ground to the Seleucid Empire. In modern research, efforts are being made to take a more nuanced view of this very one-sided picture of Ptolemy IV in Polybios and other ancient authors such as Strabon or Iustin.

The Greek contemporaries assessed just the first phase of the government of Antiochos very positively and as successful. However, the Seleucid later lost the aforementioned dynamism. Thus, Iustin writes that Antiochos later became sluggish and powerless. However, such moral attributions by ancient historians must always be viewed critically, since foreign policy failure was often equated and justified with moral lapses. In Greece, Antiochos had grossly miscalculated when he counted on stronger local support. Heftner writes that Antiochos would have been ill-prepared for this war and that the call for help from the allied Aitoler was an “unwelcome surprise.” Additionally, when the Aitolians provoked a war with Rome in 192 BC, only Athamania sided with the Seleucid. In the Roman-Syrian War, the sometimes aggressive expansionist policy in Asia Minor and in Europe was avenged, as Greek and Macedonian actors, such as Pergamon, Rhodes, the Achaean League, and Macedonia, actively sided with the Romans. The Romans’ quick victory in the war would not have been possible without Greek and Macedonian support on the ground. Grainger suggests that Macedonia’s support for Rome in particular had been decisive in the war.

As a result, his expeditionary forces could be destroyed at Thermopylae. In the Roman campaign to Asia Minor, the aforementioned allies of Rome provided important logistical support. In the following decisive battle at Magnesia, Antiochos suffered a bitter defeat. The very capable and experienced commander Antiochos broke through the right flank of the Romans. Only the intervention of the tribune Marcus Aemilius averted disaster for the Roman commander Lucius Scipio. When Antiochos saw his troops fleeing, he himself took flight. This defeat, and the subsequent harsh peace terms, nullified the Seleucid’s successes in the west. The subjugations during the Anabasis fell away from the Seleucid Empire at the latest with the death of the monarch in 187 BC. Until his death, Antiochos was to devote most of his efforts to settling the high reparations from the Peace of Apameia, but he was no longer able to pursue any major foreign policy projects.

Only his son Antiochos IV should be able to undertake larger campaigns again.

According to Appian, the epithet “the Great” was given to Antiochos for his achievements during the Anabasis. Both Kai Brodersen, Sherwin-White

Likewise, “the Great” must not be confused with the title “Great King,” since “the Great” was only an epithet, not a title. Nevertheless, the title Great King was also used in connection with Antiochos III. However, this must not be understood as a link to the tradition of the Persian Great Kings of the Achaemenids. In Oriental tradition, the title of Great King embodied the claim of a universal, hierarchically supreme kingship. Already in Babylonia, i.e. before the Persian Empire, this title was held by the Babylonian kings. The Hellenistic kings in the Orient, such as the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings, tried to build on these ancient, local traditions in order to increase their acceptance by the local population. Therefore, they adopted Oriental or ancient Egyptian titles such as “Great King” or “Pharaoh.” Thus, Antiochos I was already called a Babylonian Great King in an inscription in Mesopotamia. Ptolemy III is also referred to as a Great King in the Adulis inscription, following ancient Egyptian traditions. Thus, the use of the title of Great King functioned primarily as a special code in a specific communication to the indigenous, Oriental peoples in the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires. Even before that, Greek kings had used the same title without seeking to establish a direct link with the Persian Empire.

Towards the Greek population in their empires, the Seleucids and Ptolemies avoided the use of the Oriental titles, since the Greeks could not identify with these ancient traditions; towards the Greeks, instead, simply the title of king (Βασιλεύς Basileús) was common.

He bequeathed to his sons Seleucus IV and Antiochus IV an empire that, although still of vast proportions, had been strongly tied to the person of the deceased king. Therefore, when Antiochos III died, many of the eastern satraps and kings again broke away from the Seleucid central power and tried to become independent. In the former west of the empire, in Asia Minor, the Seleucids could no longer gain a foothold, since the new player Rome regarded this area early on as its own sphere of influence and did not tolerate Seleucid activities there. The Seleucids were initially replaced as a major hegemonic power by the central states of Pergamum, Bithynia and Pontus, which were strengthened after the Peace of Apameia, before these kingdoms were transformed into Roman provinces under Pompey.

However, the Seleucid Empire was able to continue as an important power in the eastern Mediterranean, due in no small part to the prolonged weakness of Ptolemaic Egypt. Antiochos IV, the son of Antiochos III, in the Sixth Syrian War was able to defeat the Ptolemies after a Ptolemaic attack and occupy parts of Egypt. The goal of the Ptolemies, as well as the Seleucids, was now the complete conquest or a forced union of the two former great powers – though neither party was willing to submit. Even before the war was over, Rome, previously bound in the Third Roman-Macedonian War, issued an ultimatum that the Seleucid Empire end the war immediately. Antiochos IV gave in without resistance and withdrew from Egypt. Rome had thus openly established itself as the decisive power in the eastern Mediterranean region as well, and the Seleucid Empire could hardly maintain its own foreign policy independent of Rome.

After the retreat from Egypt, the Jewish Maccabees seized the opportunity for an uprising around the year 165 BC and, after arduous guerrilla warfare, successfully established their own empire in Judaea. Thus the southern part of Koilesyria, which had been conquered by Antiochos in the Fifth Syrian War, was lost to the Seleucids.

In the east, the Parthians, previously satraps under Antiochos III, rose to become the new great power. They fought repeated battles with the Seleucids before Mithridates I lost Mesopotamia and with it the economically most important region for the Seleucids. Antiochos VII first waged war against the Maccabees, who formally submitted to him as vassals, then moved against the Parthians in 131 BC to drive them out of Mesopotamia. After initial successes, however, Antiochos VII failed in his attempt to restore Seleucid power and died in this campaign. Hereafter, the Seleucid Empire sank to a regional power in Syria, Cilicia and parts of Koilesyria and could not recover. In 63 BC, the remnants of the empire were transformed by Pompey into the Roman province of Syria. This marked the end of the Seleucid Empire. It was succeeded by the new great power in the east, the Parthian Empire.

In addition to these foreign policy factors, which favored the decline of the Seleucid empire, it was above all disputes over the throne that weakened the power of the Seleucids. Again and again, the successors of Antiochos III fought each other. Thus, the Parthians successfully conquered the important Mesopotamia, while the Seleucids under Demetrios II were preoccupied with internal problems and usurpations. This unstable situation was promoted, among others, by Rome, which supported various pretenders to the throne and favorites in their uprisings.

The most important primary source for the reign of Antiochos III is Polybios, which is also the only surviving source up to the Anabasis. For the period of the Anabasis and beyond, the work thins out further and is only preserved in fragments. For the time of the confrontation with Rome, the Roman historians Titus Livius, Appian and Iustin have survived in great detail.


General survey works

On Asia Minor in Hellenism

The Fourth Syrian War

To the Anabasis and the Upper Satrapies

On the domestic policy of Antiochos III.

About the name “the Great


  1. Antiochos III.
  2. Antiochus III the Great
  3. Iustin 41,4,4f.; Lerner 1999, S. 33f.; Sherwin-White, Kuhrt 1993, S. 107.
  4. Polybios 4,48
  5. Grainger 2015, S. 5f.
  6. Słynny incydent rzymskiego posła Gajusza Popiliusza Lenasa. Gdy Antioch stacjonował w Aleksandrii, rzymski poseł wręczył mu pismo zabraniające prowadzenia wojny z Ptolemeuszem. Gdy Antioch zwlekał obiecując dać odpowiedź, poseł laską zakreślił na ziemi wokół Antiocha koło, mówiąc: Tu się musisz zastanowić. (Appian z Aleksandrii, Wojny syryjskie 66.350 – 352; Marek Junianus Justynus, Zarys dziejów powszechnych starożytności na podstawie Pompejusza Trogusa 34:3).
  7. Rien n’indique si ce mariage a bien eu lieu.
  8. La cité de Smyrne est la première cité grecque à honorer Rome d’un culte en 195.
  9. Tite-Live (XXXVIII, 53-60) rapporte le procès fait à Scipion l’Africain, accusé de n’avoir pas versé au trésor public tout le butin d’Asie.
  10. ^ “Antiochus III the Great”. Archived from the original on 2020-05-04. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  11. ^ Davies, Philip R. (2002). Second Temple studies III: studies in politics, class, and material culture. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-8264-6030-1. The difference is that from the perspective of Antiochus III, the Greek king of a Greek empire, or from the later point of view of a head of state communicating with a Greek city-state
  12. ^ Garg, Gaṅgā Rām (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 2. Concept Publishing Company. p. 510. ISBN 978-81-7022-375-7. Antiochus III the Great. Greek king who ruled an empire including Syria and western Asia (including Mesopotamia and Iran) towards the end of the 3rd century BC. It was during his time that Bactria became independent under Euthydemos. Shortly afterwards Antiochus III crossed the Hindu Kush and attacked an Indian prince named Subhagasena (Sophagasenas of the classical writers) who ruled over the Kabul valley. Antiochus III defeated Subhagasena, extorted from him a large cash indemnity and many elephants before he went back to his country. This invasion produced no permanent effect.
  13. ^ Jones, Peter V.; Sidwell, Keith C. (1997). The World of Rome: An Introduction to Roman Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-521-38600-5. Antiochus III, the Greek king of Syria (the dynasty there was called ‘Seleucid’), was busily expanding in Asia Minor and in 196 BC even crossed into Europe to annex part of Thrace.
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