Antiochos II Theos SELEUKID, King of Syria
(Abt 286 BCE-246 BCE)
Laodike SELEUKID, Queen of Syria
Andromachos SELEUKID, Prince of Syria
Seleukos II Kallinikos SELEUKID, King of Syria
(265 BCE-225 BCE)
Laodike SELEUKID, Queen of Syria

Antiochos III "Megas" SELEUKID, King of Syria
(Abt 241 BCE-187 BCE)


Family Links

1. Laodike, Princess of Pontus

2. Euboea of Chalkis

Antiochos III "Megas" SELEUKID, King of Syria

  • Born: Abt 241 B.C.E.
  • Married (1): 222 B.C.E.
  • Married (2):
  • Died: 3 Jul 187 B.C.E.

  Orthographic variation: Antiochus III "the Great" SELEUCID

  Research Notes:

[Second] son of Seleucus II (Polybius, Histories 5.40.5), born ca. 241. He assumed the Seleucid throne between 10 July 223 and 8 April 222 (Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 22; Schmitt, Untersuchungen, p. 3). Prior to his succession to the throne, Antiochus administered the eastern satrapies, perhaps as supreme commander (Bengtson, Strategie II, p. 84; Schmitt, op. cit., pp. 108-09). Only about nineteen when he became king, during his early reign he was dependent upon courtiers and satraps. He allowed Achaeus, his cousin, to govern Asia Minor. Hermeias dominated the king and court, while Molon and his brother Alexander, satraps of Media and Persis respectively, divided the administration of the eastern satrapies (Polybius, Histories 5.41.1). These satraps, however, revolted within a year of their appointment; and the independence movement, already established in Bactria-Sogdiana and Parthia-Hyrcania, threatened to extend even to Mesopotamia. When Molon occupied Apolloniatis, Hermeias sent Xenon and Theodotus against him; meanwhile Antiochus continued planning the war against Egypt for control of Coele-Syria (Polybius, Histories 5.42.5). Xenon and Theodotus failed against Molon in Apolloniatis, since they were overawed by the strength of the governor of Media (Polybius, Histories 5.43.6-7, 44.1-4). Molon wintered his army in the vicinity of Ctesiphon. Rather than allow Antiochus to march against Molon, Hermeias dispatched Xenoitas, a mercenary captain, with a full independent command to the east (Polybius, Histories 5.45.6, 46.6) the minister regarded his own position as more secure so long as the king remained embroiled in the west (Polybius 5.42.5-6, 45.6). In contrast to the timorousness of Xenon and Theodotus, it was Xenoitas’s boldness that caused his defeat near Seleucia on the Tigris in 321 (Polybius, Histories 5.46.6-48.16). Molon then occupied Babylonia from the Persian Gulf to Dura Europos.

Antiochus overruled Hermeias and marched across northern Mesopotamia to the eastern bank of the Tigris, then south into Apolloniatis, cutting Molon’s supply lines to Media. Forced to fight, Molon and Alexander committed suicide when their soldiers remained loyal to Antiochus (Polybius, Histories 5.54). Antiochus pacified Babylonia with moderation and settled the eastern satrapies, while keeping Hermeias’s vindictiveness in check. He chastised rebellious troops but returned them to Media. He fined Seleucia only 150 talents and appointed Diogenes governor of Media, and Apollodoros governor of Susiana; and he placed Tychon over the coastal area of the Persian Gulf. Next Antiochus attacked the independent prince of Atropatene, Artabazanes, who quickly agreed to peace favorable to Antiochus, who at the same time had Hermeias assassinated (Polybius, Histories 5.56.10-15).

From 220 on, Antiochus again looked to the Egyptian territories in Syria, allowing Achaeus to enjoy temporarily his usurped title in Lydia (Polybius, Histories 5.57). After taking Seleucia on the Orontes, Antiochus, aided by the disloyalty of Egyptian administrators in Syria, penetrated Coele-Syria as far as Tyre and Ptolemais. Lulled into believing that he would acquire all of Syria by diplomacy, Antiochus did not pursue his advantage in 219-18 and gave Egypt opportunity to mobilize. However, in the negotiations with Egyptian envoys at Seleucia in Syria, Antiochus articulated the strategy which was to be his policy for the remainder of his reign—the restoration of the Seleucid empire in the lands once controlled or claimed by Seleucus I (Polybius, Histories 5.67.4-8). The Fourth Syrian War (218-217) which followed these negotiations ended with the defeat of Antiochus at Raphia in 217 (Polybius 5.84-86). Concluding a truce with Ptolemy, Antiochus marched against Achaeus in Asia Minor (Polybius 5.87.4-8). A prolonged siege of Sardis ended in 2l3, when the citadel fell after Achaeus’s betrayal and execution (Polybius 7.15-18, 8.15-21).

As a prelude to his reconquest of the eastern satrapies, Antiochus invaded Armenia in 212. He forced Xerxes to submit and accept his sister, Antiochis, in marriage (Polybius, Histories 8.23). Antiochis later murdered Xerxes, and Antiochus divided Armenia between two local princes, Zariadres and Artaxias, with the rank of strategos (Joannes Antiochenus, in C. Müller, Fragmenta IV, p. 557, 53 ; Strabo, Geography 11.528, 531). By 210 Antiochus arranged for the succession by installing his son, Antiochus (elder brother of Antiochus IV), as co-regent of the empire (Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 22).

Late in 210 the king launched his eastern campaign for which he achieved world fame and his honorific title “the Great.” Antiochus’s primary target was Arsaces II, king of Parthia-Hyrcania, who also occupied eastern Media (Choarene and Comisene; Schmitt, Untersuchungen, pp. 50-51, 62-64). Arsaces withdrew from Media, and Antiochus occupied Hecatompylus. From there the Seleucid advanced over the pass of Mt. Labus into Hyrcania, where Arsaces submitted to Antiochus following the latter’s capture of Sirynca (near modern Astarabad; Polybius, Histories 10.27-31).

Next the king invaded Bactria against Euthydemus, whom he fought until 206 when peace was negotiated (Polybius, Histories 10.48-49; 11.39 [34 Büttner-Wobst].1-10). Euthydemus’s argument that the continuation of their war exposed Bactria to invasion by nomads who would barbarize the province persuaded Antiochus to agree to peace (Polybius, Histories 11.39 [34 Büttner-Wobst].4-5). He recognized Euthydemus’s royal title, while Euthydemus acknowledged Antiochus’s suzerainty and gave him provisions and all of his elephants (Polybius, Histories 11.39 [34 BüttnerWobst].10). The king then crossed the Hindu Kush into India (the Kabul valley), where he renewed the alliance with Sophagasenus, from whom he received additional elephants and the promise of tribute (Polybius, Histories 11.39 [34 Büttner-Wobst].11-12).

Antiochus returned from the east through Arachosia, Drangiana, and Carmania, where he spent the winter of 206-05. The condition of these areas prior to the reign of Antiochus is difficult to determine. Schmitt concludes (Untersuchungen, pp. 67-84) that Aria was Bactrian, Arachosia was largely Indian, and Carmania had remained Seleucid. The final leg of Antiochus’s return was by sea along the eastern coast of Arabia to Gerrha, Tylus (Bahrain), and finally to Seleucia on the Tigris (Polybius, Histories 13.9),

On returning to the west, Antiochus found a situation favorable to his policy of restoring the empire. His reputation gained from the eastern campaign worked to his advantage among the Asiatic Greeks, particularly at Teos, where he probably appeared in 204 to relieve this city from Attalid control (H. R. Rawlings, “Antiochos the Great,” pp. 2-3). The deterioration of the Ptolemaic court following the death of Ptolemy IV brought Antiochus to Syria, and following his victory at the Panium in 200, he occupied all of Coele-Syria.

In the following years Antiochus sought to reassert Seleucid control over parts of Asia Minor and Thrace. Antiochus and Philip V of Macedonia are said to have made a secret pact in 203-02 at the expense of the Egyptian boy-king, Ptolemy V (Polybius, Histories 15.20), and though the historicity of this is disputed, to the smaller states these kings appeared to be acting in concert by preying upon the possessions of Egypt (cf. Schmitt, Untersuchungen, pp. 237-61). When Rome, at the appeal of Rhodes and Pergamum, went to war against Philip in 200, Antiochus saw another opportunity to advance his interests in Asia Minor. This was especially true in 197, when the king learned of Philip’s defeat, and he obtained the friendship of Rhodes. However, a “cold war” ensued between Rome and Antiochus, which ended in l92 when Antiochus crossed into Greece. The Seleucid was defeated at Thermopylae (191) and Magnesia (190) and was forced to surrender his territories west of the Taurus Mts. at Apamea in 188. Antiochus was killed in Elam while plundering the temple of Bel on 3 or 4 July 187 B.C. (Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 22; Diodorus 28.3, 29.15; Justin 32.2.1-2; Strabo, Geography 16.1.18, 744). 1

  Marriage Information:

Antiochos married Laodike, Princess of Pontus, daughter of Mithridates II, King of Pontus, and Laodike SELEUKID of Syria, Queen of Pontus, in 222 BCE.

  Marriage Information:

Antiochos also married Euboea of Chalkis.


1 Encyclopædia Iranica, Antiochus III Megas.

Home | Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Web Site was Created 30 Nov 2015 with Legacy 4.0 from Millennia