Spitamenes, Bactrian nobleman
(-328/7 BCE)
Apama of Sogdiana-Bactria
(-Abt 280 BCE)


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Seleukos I Nikator SELEUCID, King of Syria

Apama of Sogdiana-Bactria

  • Married: Abt 324 B.C.E.
  • Died: Abt 280 B.C.E.

  Research Notes:

Daughter of Spitamenes, the leading noble from Bactria who resisted Alexander’s invasion with determination (Berve, ibid., pp. 359f.). Betrayed by his Saka allies, he was killed, and Apama fell into the hand of Alexander (328 B.C.). Four years later she was given in marriage to Seleucus, the future founder of the Seleucid Empire, at Susa (Arrian, loc. cit.; Appian, Syrian War 57. Cf. Pliny, Natural History 6.132; Plutarch, Demetrius 3l). She bore him (in 323 B.C.) Antiochus, the future Antiochus Soter I, and Achaios (Berve, loc. cit.). Seleucus married in 300 B.C. Macedonian lady, but Apama was still honored a year later in Millet (A. Rehm, Didyma: Die Inschriften [von Didyma], ed. R. Harder, Berlin, l958, no. 113.480). At least four cities were named after her: Apameia on the Orontes (Nahr al-ʿĀṣī) in Syria, Apameia in northern Mesene (Mēšān), Apameia on the Euphrates, opposite Zeugma, and Apameia Rhagiane (i.e., Apameia of Ray) in Choarene, now Ḵᵛār on the Tehran-Šāhrūd road. As early as the middle of the third century B.C., Seleucids claimed that Apama was Alexander’s daughter from Roxana, the alleged daughter of Darius III; this made the Seleucids, as the inheritors of both the Achaemenids and Alexander, the rightful lords of Asia (W. W. Tarn, “Queen Ptolemais and Apama,” Classical Quarterly 23, l929, p. 138; The Greeks in Bactria and India, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 195l, pp. 446-51). The fictitious pedigree was taken seriously, and the Seleucid Era—which began in 312 B.C., twelve years after the Conqueror’s death—was named after him, and came to be known in the East as Alexander’s Era to this day, a designation which caused substantial chronological difficulties and misinterpretations (A. Sh. Shahbazi, in BSOAS 40, 1977, pp. 27f.). 1

  Marriage Information:

Apama married Seleukos I Nikator SELEUCID, King of Syria, son of Antiochos, General in the army of King Philip of Macedon, and Laodike, about 324 BCE. (Seleukos I Nikator SELEUCID was born about 358 BCE and died in 282 BCE.)


1 Encyclopædia Iranica, Apama.

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