Seleucid Empire

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Coin with the image of the founder Seleucus I. Nikator

The Seleucid Empire belonged to the Hellenistic Diadochian states that formed after the death of Alexander the Great . During the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the empire ruled the Middle East and stretched in its greatest extent from Asia Minor to Bactria .

The dynasty of the Seleucids became the successor to the Achaemenid that had prevailed in the two centuries before Alexander in the area. The name of the family is derived from its founder Seleukos I Nikator , who from 320 BC. In the Asian satrapies of the Alexander Empire as king. In western historiography, the Seleucids appear on the one hand as opponents of the Roman Empire during the Roman-Syrian War (192–188) under Antiochus III. the great in appearance, on the other hand as a foreign ruler during the Jewish Maccabees uprising (167-142).

Since the violent death of King Antiochus VII in 129 BC After the final loss of Mesopotamia , the Seleucids were no longer a great power. After several generations of decline into a small Syrian state, their empire ended when the Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in 63 BC. BC deposed the last Seleucid king and made Syria a Roman province. To the west of the Euphrates River , Rome became the successor of the Seleucids, to the east of which the Parthian Empire of the Arsacids .


Map of the Seleucid Empire. The affiliation of the satrapies is given in pre-Christian numbers.

The Seleucid Empire was on the territory of the lost Persian Achaemenid Empire (excluding Egypt). This extensive area comprised the formerly independent cultural areas of Asia Minor , Palestine , Mesopotamia , Babylonia , Media , Persia and Bactria .

In the west, the Seleucid Empire bordered the Greek motherland and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty . In the northwest lay the smaller empires of Pergamon , Bithynia , Galatia , Pontus , Cappadocia , Armenia and Atropatene , in the northeast the areas of the nomadic Parthians and the Greco-Bactrian Empire , in the east the Indian Maurya Empire . In the southeast the Seleucids were bounded by the Persian Gulf , in the southwest by the Arabian Nefud desert and the Egyptian Ptolemy dynasty .

In view of its size, the Seleucid kings did not administer their empire centrally, but instead developed various political priorities for their rule. The most important was in northern Syria , which had existed since 301 BC. Was part of the empire. The kings used to stay here in peacetime. Syria had previously only been a peripheral area of ​​neighboring peoples such as the Hittites or Assyrians and was more strongly influenced by the Seleucids than the other regions. They founded several cities in Syria where Greeks were settled. The heart of the country was formed by the so-called Tetrapolis , which consisted of the four cities Antiocheia on the Orontes , Seleukeia in Pierien , Laodikeia on the sea and Apamea on the Orontes . The southern part of Syria with today's capital Damascos belonged to the Ptolemies for a long time and did not come until 200 BC. To the Seleucid Empire. As Koile Syria , this prosperous area was usually combined with Phenicia and Palestine to form a political unit. Towards the end of the Seleucid rule in 63 BC Their entire territory was limited to Syria.

Of enormous economic significance for the kingdom that was Mesopotamia , which is composed of the two wealthy satrapies (provinces) Mesopotamia and Babylonia composed. Even before the conquest of Syria, 320 and 312 B.C. The foundations of the Seleucid Empire were established. The Mesopotamia was crossed by numerous Greek colonies, of which Seleukeia on the Tigris was the capital of the east. After the final defeat against the Parthians in 129 BC. The area was lost to the Seleucids, which also meant the end of their great power position.

The third focus of Seleucid power was in Sardis in western Asia Minor , where the 281 BC dynasty was located. Chr. Could gain a foothold. But since all the important Diadochian states made claims to the predominantly Greek-populated peninsula, the Seleucids could never fully assert themselves here. Their possessions were usually limited to Cilicia, bordering Syria, and the inland areas of Ionia and Phrygia . Nevertheless, the dynasty regularly tried to gain a foothold in the coastal regions and in Thrace, which is located in Europe . After the defeat by the Roman Empire in 188 BC. However, only Cilicia remained to the Seleucids until the Taurus .

In western Iran, the Seleucids were able to establish themselves as successors to the Achaemenids . Since 310 BC Chr. Belonged media , Susiane that Persis and Carmania to the kingdom. The Seleucid kings regularly married into Iranian rulers in order to preserve their legitimacy. In contrast to the other important parts of the empire, there was no extensive colonization of the country with Greeks. In 141 BC The Parthians conquered Iran.

During the early phase of the Seleucid Empire, this comprised from 305 BC. Also the eastern Iranian highlands and the Hindu Kush. The satrapies Parthia and Bactria established there, however, made their way around 256 BC. Chr. Independent. Although nominally they remained Seleucid vassals for a long time, they were never administered directly. Two important empires emerged from Parthia and Bactria, which later extended to Mesopotamia and India, respectively.

In the east, Bactria bordered the Maurya Empire under Ashoka . The son of Bindusara sought friendly relations with his neighbors such as the Seleucids and the Greeks in Bactria .


Establishment of the empire (320 / 312–281)

Seleucus I (Roman copy of a Greek original; found in Herculaneum)

Two years after the death of Alexander the Great , his empire was defeated by his military commanders at the Triparadeisus conference in 320 BC. Divided among themselves. The satrapy of Babylon was transferred to the later Seleukos I Nicator , who had been a high officer during the Alexander migration. In the following years he drew the urban population on his side. After an attack by Antigonus I Monophthalmos , the most powerful diadochi , Seleucus had to flee to the court of Ptolemy I in Egypt in 315 , but returned to Babylon in 312. This date was regarded by the Seleucids as the official beginning of their rule.

In a multi-year war against Antigonus , Seleucus defended his power base this time. After Antigonus' withdrawal, Seleucus undertook an anabasis in the tradition of Alexander , which extended the Seleucid rule to the eastern part of the old Persian Empire (Media, Persepolis, Susa, Carmania, Parthia, Bactria). He avoided a confrontation with the Indian Maurya ruler Chandragupta and gave him the provinces of Gedrosia and Arachosia in exchange for several hundred war elephants . 305 BC Like the rest of the Diadochi, Seleucus took on the title of king and founded Seleukeia on the Tigris as a new royal seat.

Antigonus remained a threat to the other Diadochi due to his claim to the entire empire of Alexander , which is why they entered into an alliance with one another. At the Battle of Ipsos in 301 BC Antigonus was defeated by Seleucus, Lysimachos and Kassander . Seleucus then took possession of Syria as a second center next to Babylon, but had to do without Koile Syria , which was occupied by the Ptolemies. He founded several Greek cities in Syria, of which Antiocheia on the Orontes was the second residence. As a result, Seleukos succeeded in gaining his own Greek-Macedonian power base, whose potential benefited the Seleucid army.

Antigonus' son Demetrios I Poliorketes moved in 285 BC. BC with his army to Syria, but was defeated by Seleucus and taken prisoner. In 281 Seleucus attacked his rival Lysimachus on the pretext of standing up for the rights of his expelled daughter-in-law. In the battle of Kurupedion Seleucus was victorious and took Asia Minor to himself, so that he became the most powerful diadochi for a short period of time. However, after Seleucus had crossed the Hellespont to assert his rule in Macedonia , he was murdered by Ptolemy Keraunos , who claimed the Macedonian throne for himself.

Unstable great power (281–223)

Map of the Orient in antiquity

The successors of the founder of the dynasty were faced with three permanent foreign policy conflicts: The Seleucids never recognized Ptolemy rule over Koile Syria , but were unable to enforce their claim militarily in the first four Syrian wars . In Asia Minor several non-Greek but Hellenized kingdoms, such as those of Pergamon , Bithynia , Pontus and Cappadocia, fought for their freedom , while the Ptolemies were able to establish themselves in most of the coastal regions of Asia Minor. In the east of the empire, numerous satrapies were only nominally subject to the Seleucid suzerainty, as two competitors established themselves: on the one hand, the formerly nomadic people of the Iranian Parthians under the Arsacids , who settled southeast of the Caspian Sea , and on the other hand, the Greek-Bactrian Empire under Diodotos I , which reached as far as India in the power zenith. In addition, there were power struggles within the Seleucid House, which mixed up with foreign policy conflicts and weakened the empire.

Antiochus I Soter (281–261), the son of Seleucus I, had to accept the independence of Bithynia in Asia Minor, but was able to defeat the Galatians who had invaded there in the elephant battle in 268 BC. Successfully counteract. In the First Syrian War , Antiochus allied himself with the Ptolemy governor of the Cyrene, Magas , against his half-brother Ptolemy II of Egypt. The Seleucids, however, were unable to improve their position in Koilesyria or Asia Minor. After a military defeat, Antiochus had to recognize Eumenes I's independence from Pergamon in 262 . In 261 Antiochus I fell fighting the Galatians.

His son Antiochus II. Theos (261–246) succeeded in the Second Syrian War in taking away some possessions in Ionia from the Ptolemies. Part of the peace conditions with the Ptolemies was the marriage between Antiochus and the Egyptian princess Berenike , for which the Seleucid king rejected his first wife Laodike . Antiochus II later returned to Laodike, who, however, had him murdered together with Berenike and their son in order to secure the succession of their own children.

Under Seleukos II Kallinikos (246–226), the eldest son of Antiochus II and Laodike, the situation of the Seleucid Empire worsened considerably. Ptolemy III used the murder of his sister Berenike as an excuse to open the Third Syrian War . The Ptolemy troops briefly captured Syria and advanced into Mesopotamia until an uprising in Egypt forced their return. Seleukos was able to regain the lost territories, but had to accept the loss of some areas in Ionia and the most important Seleucid port city of Seleukeia in Pierien . He installed his brother Antiochus Hierax as viceroy in Asia Minor, where he went into business for himself. Seleucus had to accept the rule of Hierax, who had allied himself with the Galatians and Ptolemies. When Hierax was expelled from Asia Minor by Attalus I of Pergamon in 228 , Seleucus was able to repel an invasion of his brother in Syria. The eastern satrapies Parthia and Bactria took advantage of the weakness of the central office and made their way around 245 BC. Chr. Independent. A campaign by Seleucus II to regain these areas was unsuccessful.

His eldest son, Seleucus III. Keraunos (226–223), undertook a campaign in Asia Minor in 223 to recapture the territories lost to Pergamon. The company was militarily successful, but Seleukos III. murdered in a mercenary uprising.

Restoration of Great Power and Conflict with Rome (223-164)

Antiochus III. the great (bust from the Louvre)

Antiochus III. At the beginning of his reign, “the great” , Seleucus III's younger brother, had to accept the defection of the eastern territories under the viceroy Molon , who controlled the Mesopotamia and Iran. Not until 220 BC Chr. Would strike down Antiochus Molon uprising and also brought the only formally associated with the Seleucid kingdom Atropatene under his control. At that time, his uncle Achaios , who was the viceroy of Asia Minor, made himself king. However, Antiochus attacked first at the allied Achaeus Ptolemies in Coelesyria: In the Fourth Syrian war Antiochus was initially able to conquer much of Koilesyriens until 217 in the Battle of Raphia the army of Ptolemy IV. Defeated. Nevertheless, the re-conquered Seleukeia in Pierien remained in Seleucid hands. Antiochus now turned against his uncle Achaios, whom he included in his capital Sardis and defeated in 213, whereby the inland Asia Minor again became part of the Seleucid Empire.

212 BC In BC Antiochus began an eight-year campaign (anabasis) against the eastern parts of the empire that had become independent: After Armenia had been enforced by Seleucid suzerainty, Antiochus fought for the nominal recognition of his suzerainty over the Parthians and the Greco-Bactrian Empire in numerous battles and sieges and left the regional kings in office and dignity against payment of tributes. As before his great-great-grandfather Seleucus I ended Antiochus III. his eastern campaign in India, where he concluded a peace agreement with the Indian king Sophagasenos of Kabul . After his return to the West, Antiochus, in alliance with the Macedonian king Philip V, took advantage of the domestic political weakness of the Ptolemy Empire under Ptolemy V and fell in 202 BC. BC again in Koile Syria. In the victorious battle of Paneion 200, the Seleucids finally secured the disputed province in the Fifth Syrian War .

The Seleucid Empire at the accession of Antiochus III. (light coloring) and the extended border of its zone of influence before the conflict with the Roman Republic

196 BC BC built Antiochus III. his position in Asia Minor considerably expanded, where he conquered the earlier coastal holdings of the Ptolemies, crossed the Hellespont and established himself in Thrace . As a result, he came into competition with the Romans , who at the same time gained a foothold in Greece and were able to defeat Philip V. Several years of negotiations between the Romans and the Seleucids about a future limit of interests brought no results. Antiochus allied himself with the Aetolian League and landed in 192 at its invitation in Greece, which triggered the Roman-Syrian War . Although he was able to win some areas in central Greece for himself at first, he was defeated by the Romans at the Thermopylae Pass . After several defeats at sea, he also lost the decisive battle of Magnesia in Asia Minor in 190 . As a result, in the Peace of Apamea in 188 Antiochus had to cede all Seleucid areas in Thrace and Asia Minor except Cilicia to Rome's allies, especially Rhodes and Pergamon. In addition, the Seleucids had to pay high tribute payments to Rome for years. When trying to collect an extraordinary temple tax, Antiochus was killed in 187 BC. Killed in Iran by indignant locals when he tried to plunder a Bel shrine near Susa.

The Seleucid Empire 187 BC BC, after the death of Antiochus III, called "the great", on the map the empire is also called Syria .

After the death of Antiochus III. the satraps or the kings of Parthia, Bactria, Armenia, the Atropatene, Sophene, Elymais and Persis fell again from the Seleucid Empire, which was thus limited directly to Syria, Palestine, Cilicia, the Mesopotamia and western Iran. The Seleucids continued to be the strongest military force in the Middle East, but from then on they were increasingly restricted in their foreign policy and placed on the defensive. In the east the pressure of the aspiring Parthian Empire increased, in the west Roman interventions in Greek affairs were increasingly likely. In addition, permanent dynastic disputes permanently weakened the empire and ultimately led to the loss of all non-Syrian territories.

Among the two sons of Antiochus III. the Seleucid Empire remained relatively stable: The rule of Seleukos IV Philopater (187–175) was determined by the compulsion to pay reparations to Rome. His younger brother Antiochus IV. Epiphanes (175-164), who had passed over Seleucus' sons to the throne, gained freedom of action again. He came in the Sixth Syrian War 170 BC. BC before a Ptolemy attack, carried out an extremely successful preventive strike, conquered much of Lower Egypt and made Ptolemy VI. in fact to the Seleucid marionette. This seemed to be a successful liberation and the great power of the Seleucid Empire secured or renewed. But Antiochus, who was about to move into the Egyptian capital Alexandria and was already in the suburb of Eleusis, could not reap the fruits of the victory: on the day of Eleusis in 168 he was instead forced by a Roman embassy under threat of war, Egypt without a fight to give up again. On the way back, burdened by the cost of the war and outstanding reparations payments to Rome, he had the temple in Jerusalem looted 167, thereby triggering the Maccabees uprising . With an unprecedented victory parade, the humiliated king then tried to conceal the political catastrophe in which the Syrian war had ended due to the Roman intervention at the “ Daphne procession ”. Nevertheless, since 168 it has become clear that Rome now had the last word in the eastern Mediterranean. In 165 Antiochus IV forced Armenia under King Artaxias I back into the Seleucid Empire and demanded tributes from him, but died a year later in Iran during a campaign against the Parthians to regain the eastern territories that had fallen away after 187 under the Seleucid supremacy .

Unsuccessful struggle against decline (164–129)

Antiochus V. Eupator (164–162), son of Antiochus IV., Was not of age when he ascended the throne. Taking advantage of this fact, the Seleucid satrap Ptolemaios rose to be king ( self-coronation ) of the Commagene with the capital Samosata . A surviving son of Seleucus IV, Demetrios I Soter (162-150), therefore returned from exile in Rome and had his cousin murdered. The Roman Senate now turned against the new king and supported his enemies. Demetrios first successfully struck 160 BC. The usurper Timarchus , recognized by Rome , who relied on the Iranian satrapies. In 150, Alexander I Balas (150-146), supported by Rome, Pergamon and Egypt, appeared another pretender to the throne , who posed as the illegitimate son of Antiochus IV and had Demetrios I murdered. His son Demetrios II. Nikator (145-138; first government) came to an agreement with the Maccabees and defeated Alexander Balas. In parts of Syria, Demetrios II lost influence to the general Diodotos Tryphon (142-138), who was the minor son of Balas, Antiochus VI. Dionysus (145-142), proclaimed king. After the murder of his puppet, Diodotos took over the royal dignity of Syria in his sphere of influence. In order to secure his rule, he sought to get along with the Maccabees and recognized the autonomy and tax exemption of Judea .

After 141/140 at the latest, the Parthian Arsacids under Mithridates I took advantage of the civil war that was raging in Syria and overran the eastern satrapies or vassal kingdoms of the Seleucids (Babylonia, Media, Persis, Elymais), so that the effective rule of the legitimate King Demetrius II. ended in the east on the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris . Although the latter won Babylonia back for the Seleucids, he was ambushed by the Parthians in 139 on a campaign of reconquest in Iran and thus into the captivity of Mithridates I.

Then boarded Demetrius' younger brother . Antiochus VII Sidetes (139-129) to the throne, who previously in Side in exile had found. This is considered to be the last important Seleucid ruler. He first allied himself with the Hasmonean Simon and, with Jewish help at Dor, put an end to the rule of the usurper Diodotus Tryphon 137. 135/134 Antiochus stood with his troops before Jerusalem and successfully demanded submission from Simon's successor, John Hyrcanus I. He once again forced the Seleucids to recognize suzerainty over the Jews, as well as tributes and military service . In 131 he then went to war with what was probably the last powerful Seleucid army against the Parthians and retook Babylonia, the Media and the neighboring areas. This enabled Antiochus VII to unite a considerable part of the old Seleucid Empire in one hand. The decline of the empire seemed averted; the king, sure of victory, rejected an offer of peace by the Arsacids. But when he was advancing to Parthia in 129 he was ambushed by the Arsacids; the king was killed in battle and his army destroyed. The Seleucids lost in the wake of this defeat definitively rule over Iran, Mesopotamia and even eastern Syria, which under the name Osrhoene as independent kingdom constituted . Your time as a great power was forever over.

Client state of Egypt and Rome (129-63)

Ancient map of Syria and Mesopotamia

After the death of Antiochus VII, the Seleucid Empire was only a regional power that was under the influence of its neighboring states. The realm only existed because the neighbors could not agree on its division. His kings therefore still controlled western Syria as well as parts of Koile Syria and Cilicia. For most of the time, several pretenders existed in parallel on the throne, each supported by outside powers.

Demetrios II (129-125; second government) was released after ten years of Parthian captivity and ascended the Syrian throne a second time. When Demetrios tried to intervene in Egyptian politics in 129/128, Ptolemy VIII built an alleged descendant of Alexander I Balas, Alexander II. Zabinas (129 / 128-123), as a usurper who was able to assert himself in part of Syria.

Cleopatra Thea (125–121) had successively been the wife of Alexander Balas, Demetrios II, Antiochus VII and then again of Demetrios II. After Alexander II. Zabinas asserted himself militarily against Demetrios, Cleopatra had her husband murdered and took over the government over the remaining part of Syria herself. She had her eldest son of Demetrios, Seleukos V (125), murdered because he demanded sole rule. To legitimize her rule Cleopatra shared the throne with her younger son Antiochus VIII. Grypos (125-96). This defeated 123 BC Alexander Zabinas and had his mother Cleopatra Thea murdered in 121, whereby Antiochus VIII temporarily became the sole ruler of Syria, with his wife Tryphaina at his side.

115 BC His half-brother Antiochus IX returned. Kyzikenos (115–96), who had emerged from the marriage between Antiochus VII and Cleopatra Thea, returned from exile and prevailed in southern Syria with the support of Ptolemy. For almost twenty years both fought for rule of the country, with the mutual support of different Ptolemy factions. During this time, the Syrian cities gained influence, while the Romans and Maccabees established themselves in Cilicia and Koile Syria, respectively. 96 Antiochus VIII. Grypus was murdered, but defeated and killed his eldest son Seleukos VI. Epiphanes (96-95) his uncle Antiochus IX. Kyzikenos in battle. His son Antiochus X. Eusebes (95-83) in turn beat his cousin and then fought against his brothers Antiochus XI. Epiphanes (95-92), Demetrios III. Eukairos (95-87), Philip I Philadelphos (92-83) and Antiochus XII. Dionysus (87-84), who also fought among themselves.

In 83 BC The Armenian King Tigranes the Great (83-69) took advantage of the dynastic chaos under the Seleucids and occupied what was left of their former great empire, Syria , which restored the country to political stability. As an ally and son-in-law of Mithridates VI. of Pontos , however, Tigranes came into conflict with Rome and was defeated in 69 by the Roman general Lucullus . Thereupon was by the grace of Rome with Antiochus XIII. Asiatikos (69–64), the son of Antiochus X, restored Seleucid rule in Syria . After a failed campaign against the Arabs , however, Philip II Philorhomaios (65-63), the son of Philip I, was raised to the rank of anti -king. Finally, when the descendants of General Seleucus began to fall back into old behavior patterns again, the Roman general Pompey decided in 63 BC. BC to put an end to the Seleucid rule, as rule of chaos , and established the Roman province of Syria .


Empire building

The king was at the head of the Seleucid Empire. This was supported by his council, which was composed of high military and civil servants, his friends ("philoi"). Satraps were appointed at the regional level to collect taxes and recruitment. These were either important regional nobles or friends of the king. The favor of the king and the balance of power in the Council of Friends decided on the allocation of offices . Compared to the Achaemenid period, the number of the former twenty satrapies had probably doubled or tripled, whereby the Seleucids tried to make separatism more difficult. Since the periphery needed strong leadership, governors-general or viceroys were also appointed, of whom there were usually two. These sat in Seleukeia on the Tigris and Sardis , from where the east of the empire and Asia Minor was ruled. Due to their abundance of power, the viceroys represented a threat to the king, which is why only relatives or particularly deserving friends were placed in this position.

The individual territories of the Seleucid Empire were dependent on the imperial headquarters in different ways. First, there was the actual Seleucid state, which was composed of the areas administered directly by the royal bureaucracy or the satraps. Second, there were other territories within the satrapies that enjoyed internal autonomy. These included the Greek-Macedonian cities, various temple states and regional princes. Above all, the cities in Asia Minor attached great importance to their formal independence; this also applies to a lesser extent to places in Syria and the eastern territories of the empire. The temple states in Asia Minor or Iran were limited in size by the Seleucids, but retained their autonomy. Some princes of the regional nationalities in Iran or Palestine exercised sovereign rights, but were controlled by the Seleucids in foreign policy. In addition to directly administered and autonomous areas, there was a third category of neighboring states to the Seleucid Empire, which were formally subordinate to it: The kings of Armenia, Atropatene, Parthia and Bactria temporarily recognized the Seleucid supremacy without having to give up their titles.


The Seleucid kings drew their legitimacy on the one hand from the descent from the dynasty founder Seleukos I and on the other hand from the Macedonian army kingship. The second Seleucid, Antiochus I , had his father's time calculation continued (from 312 BC) when he came to power in order to create dynastic continuity. In addition, he increasingly introduced the cult of Apollo into the empire, who was considered the ideal ancestor of the Seleucids. An additional ruler's cult should make the dynasty inviolable throughout the empire. In addition, almost all kings bore the two dynastic names Antiochus and Seleucus, which also created continuity. So did Antiochus IV. Originally received the third son the Iranian name Mithridates, however, took the new name on his accession. In view of the establishment of the dynasty, most usurpers such as Alexander I. Balas posed as illegitimate descendants of deceased Seleucids in order to legitimize their rule.

The second base of the monarchy was the Macedonian army kingship. The ruler was expected to be victorious in the war and to have the approval of the army assembly. Most of the Seleucids therefore placed themselves in the tradition of Alexander the Great and took an active part in the fighting. The two principles of dynastic legitimation and acclamation by the army could also contradict each other: 220 the soldiers in Asia Minor proclaimed their successful general Achaios to be king, but then refused to oppose their previous ruler Antiochus III. to pull.

Domestic politics

The relationship between the Seleucid king and the inhabitants of his empire was not based on a constitution, but was negotiated on a case-by-case basis. As a rule, the autonomous areas had to pay tribute and accept the establishment of garrisons, but this depended on the respective political situation. In times of peace, the Seleucid kings sometimes tightened the conditions, while in times of crisis they were satisfied with a purely formal suzerainty. In particular, the eastern regional princes, Jewish Orthodoxy and some of the cities in Asia Minor were difficult to control for the Syrian headquarters. After the Seleucid throne changes, they often pushed out of the imperial association, so that the new king had to enforce his claim militarily. This lack of continuity in the periphery was a weak point of the Seleucid Empire: as soon as a mediocre ruler ascended the Syrian throne, these centrifugal forces caused the loss of large territories.

The Seleucid kings saw themselves as the rightful rulers of the world. They therefore did not strive for final treaties and limits, but based their policies on the given possibilities. In religious centers like Babylon, the Seleucid kings held sacred positions to bind these areas to the empire. In relation to the cities of Asia Minor they tried to act primarily as benefactors and protectors in order to preserve the appearance of political equality. In the Iranian satrapies, the Seleucids took the position of the great Achaemenid kings. This role also enabled them to tolerate the existence of regional kings within the empire, who were formally subordinate to the Seleucid rulers.


The eldest son of the king was usually chosen to be his father's co-king at some point, so as not to leave a power vacuum in the event of a later change to the throne. All sons were installed as governors general or viceroys above the satraps as early as possible. In this way, the dynasty's control over the periphery of the empire was to be preserved. It also gave the princes command of secondary military operations. Even if they were still too inexperienced, at least nominal supreme command fell to them, so that they could gradually grow into the role of the future king of the army.

The Seleucid marriage policy was important for their relations with their own people and with neighboring powers. Seleucus I had already married the Iranian princess Apame , which brought him and his descendants the support of the local population. Antiochus III, too. married Laodike, a member of the Iranian dynasty of Pontos . Otherwise, marriages were preferred to form alliances with neighbors or to seal peace agreements. The Seleucids married several times in the principalities of Asia Minor. The marriages with the Ptolemies were risky because they could often create dangerous legal claims for both sides. Furthermore, for the descendants of Antiochus III. Several sibling marriages are also documented: His daughter Laodike married her three brothers one after the other, including the later kings Seleucus IV and Antiochus IV. In contrast to the Ptolemies, however, sibling marriage was the exception among the Seleucids.

The central problem of the Seleucid dynasty was the internal struggles: The younger princes were also installed as viceroys in order to integrate them into the leadership of the empire and to use their energy for the dynasty. But very often they developed into a threat to their older brothers after the death of their father. There were throne disputes in almost every generation in which more than one prince reached adulthood. In this way satrapies of the empire were lost several times for years. In the last three generations in particular, the struggle within the dynasty increased so much that the empire's remaining forces were drained. In this point the Seleucids differed significantly from the Attalids , who benefited from their family unity.

family tree

Seleukos I. Nikator
Kg. 305-281
Achaios the Elder
Antiochus I. Soter
Kg. 281-261
Antiochus II. Theos
Kg. 261–246
Achaios the Younger
Kg. 220–213
Seleukos II. Kallinikos
Kg. 246-226
Antiochus Hierax
Kg. 240-228
Seleucus III Keraunos
Kg. 226-223
Antiochus III. the Great
Kg. 223–187
Seleucus IV. Philopator
Kg. 187-175
Antiochus IV. Epiphanes
Kg. 175-164
Demetrios I. Soter
Kg. 162-150
Antiochus V. Eupator
Kg. 164-162
Alexander I. Balas
Kg. 150-146
Cleopatra Thea
Demetrios II. Nikator
Kg. 145–125
Antiochus VII. Sidetes
Kg. 138–129
Antiochus VI. Dionysus
Kg. 144-142
Seleukos V. Philometor
Kg. 126-125
Antiochus VIII. Grypos
Kg. 125-96
Cleopatra Tryphaina
Antiochus IX. Kyzikenos
Kg. 116-96
Seleucus VI. Epiphanes
Kg. 96-95
Antiochus XI. Eusebes
Kg. 95-92
Philip I Philadelphos
Kg. 95-83
Demetrios III. Eukairos
Kg. 95-88
Antiochus XII. Dionysus
Kg. 87-84
Antiochus X. Eusebes
Kg. 95-83
Philip II Philorhomaios
Kg. 69-63
Antiochus XIII. Asiatikos
Kg. 69-64



The Seleucids had inherited rule over various ethnic groups from the Achaemenids. The largest population groups were made up of Greeks or Macedonians, Iranians and Babylonians. Instead of the old Iranian elite, however, the empire relied mainly on the Greek-Macedonian population. The early Seleucid kings in particular therefore founded over one hundred new poleis in Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Iran and Bactria in order to build stable pillars for their dynasty. In the east of the empire, however, the Greeks remained a clear minority. In the West, however, especially in Asia Minor and Syria, a partially permanent Hellenization was set in motion. Under Antiochus IV , this development was one of the reasons for the Maccabees' revolt .

The Seleucids knew two different types of cities: relatively autonomous citizen cities (Poleis) and military colonies. The former were, for example, the ancient Greek cities in Ionia, towards which the Seleucid kings were as tolerant as possible; partly because of the competition from Ptolemies and Attalids , who also had an influence here. Even if these cities actually belonged to the empire, they therefore formally retained their autonomy and were little disrupted in the exercise of local legislation, as long as tributes were regularly paid to the king. However, he occasionally set up new elites in the cities that he liked. In order to bring the de facto royal rule into a form acceptable to the Greek cities, the Seleucids often officially granted them "freedom"; for this they let themselves be venerated by the citizens as Euergeten and given "gifts" instead of taxes. The ruler's cult also belongs in this context and came outwardly from the Poleis; Only under the later kings (from Antiochus III.) was a dynasty cult centrally demanded.

In contrast, the Macedonian military colonies were entirely under the will of the king. Their Greek-Macedonian inhabitants served the Seleucids as a reservoir for the phalanx , the heart of the army.

The non-Greek population was to a lesser extent involved in the imperial government. The members of the central and regional administration were recruited from the friends of the king, so that they were usually of Greek descent. The individual nationalities, however, were ruled by their own elites at the local level, as in Jerusalem or Babylon. The Seleucid kings tried not to be perceived as strangers by the individual peoples. Seleucus I was only able to assert himself against Antigonus in Babylonia because he enjoyed the approval of the population. Therefore, the kings adapted their appearance as rulers to regional traditions and religions whenever possible. They also retained the architectural styles typical of the region when erecting representative buildings.


As with all European and Oriental empires in antiquity, agriculture was the basis of the economic system in the Seleucid Empire. The vast majority of the population consisted of farmers who had relatively no rights and who were tied to their land as "serfs" . The property was either in the hands of the king, the regional nobles, the cities or the temples.

The farmers in the villages and the royal lands contributed to a large extent to the revenue of the empire. In addition, the kings gave land to deserving private individuals from the administrative or military staff. These "fiefdoms" were not hereditary and fell back to the king after the death of the feudal men, if the king did not give the heirs the property again. Of particular importance were the military colonies (clergy) in which the Greek-Macedonian veterans of the Seleucids were settled and which were directly subordinate to the king. Its residents were also farmers, but primarily served as a reservoir for the army and to control the other nationalities.

Trade in the Mediterranean was limited at the time of the Seleucids, but some goods and services found buyers both inside and outside the empire. Local trade consisted primarily of the transport of grain from the villages to the cities. Long-distance trade contributed to the financing of the royal household through travel duties. Like their predecessors and successors, the Seleucids benefited from their favorable location on the Silk Road and continuously expanded the transport routes and ports. The most important export goods of the Seleucid Empire were slaves . Since there was little need for slavery in their own country due to serfdom, prisoners from conquered cities were sold to Greece and Italy.

The cities of Syria specialized in metal jewelry (gold, silver, bronze) and ceramics and exported their products to Iran and Greece. Furthermore, Syrian bricklayers and mosaicers were hired for commissioned work in Greece. In addition, the Syrian and Phoenician craftsmen excelled in glass foundries and shipbuilding. The cities of Mesopotamia and Babylonia were predominant in textile production . Asphalt for road construction was extracted from the Dead Sea . Centers of perfume production were in Asia Minor and Mesopotamia .


Ruin of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma

Greek was the official language of the Seleucid Empire at the highest administrative level , but above all Aramaic, which was adopted by the Achaemenids . In the east, royal decrees were also written in the Iranian languages . The indigenous peoples continued to speak their own languages ​​such as Akkadian , Phoenician and Hebrew . However, they included numerous Greek terms in their vocabulary during the Seleucid reign.

Eutychides' Tyche of Antiocheia (copy in the Vatican)

The Seleucid kings tried to secure their rule over the numerous nationalities on the one hand through Hellenization and on the other hand through a dynastic cult. The latter was originally intended for the deceased rulers, but was used in the second century BC. Extended to include the living kings and their families. The ruler's cult was primarily political and not religious in nature. He was supposed to increase the Seleucid rule sacred throughout the empire and also offered members of the dynasty easy access to priesthoods for their deceased ancestors. In addition to the ruler's cult, there were countless other religions that were generally tolerated by the Seleucids. Since the Greek god Apollo was the progenitor of the dynasty, his sanctuaries in Delphi , Delos and above all Didyma were financially supported. The destroyed temple of Didyma was rebuilt under Seleucus I and his successors.

The most famous work of art in the Seleucid Empire was the statue of Tyche , which was created by Eutychides , a student of Lysippus . It stood in Antiocheia on the Orontes and was the symbol of the city. The statue was already completed under Seleucus I. From the perspective of people at the time, the goddess of fate Tyche symbolized the chaotic conditions of the Diadoch period, in which a man like Seleucus was able to rise to ruler of a vast empire with initially only a few followers.

In contrast to the Ptolemy Alexandria and the Attalidic Pergamon, there was no spiritual center in the Seleucid Empire. This was partly related to the fact that the king and his court migrated due to the size of the empire. What was missing was a locally bound institution like the Library of Alexandria that could have supported science. Nevertheless, important poets and thinkers of the Hellenistic era stayed at the Seleucid court. The kings also employed leading physicians such as Erasistratos and his students as personal physicians . The priest and philosopher Berossus wrote a history of Babylon on behalf of Antiochus I. Antiochus III. promoted the poet Euphorion and some historians. Furthermore, Seleucid researchers undertook several voyages of discovery in the Caspian Sea , in the Persian Gulf or on the Ganges .



The military headquarters of the Seleucids was in peacetime in Apamea on the Orontes . Their armies were among the largest armies of all in the Hellenistic era, as the cohesion of the empire primarily depended on military strength. Therefore, troops were recruited from all parts of the empire, so that the army was composed heterogeneously in contrast to the Greek state administration. However, the heavy troops were mostly composed of warriors of Greek-Macedonian descent in order to make separatist uprisings among the other nationalities difficult.

Whenever possible, the Seleucid kings themselves took over command of the army. In this point they differed from the Ptolemies, who mostly left the military planning to experienced mercenary leaders from Greece. The Seleucids saw themselves in the tradition of the Macedonian army kings, who saw their power owed to the benevolence of the army and their success in battle. If the king was prevented or a secondary army was formed, the command fell to one of the viceroys or a high-ranking member of the dynasty.

The Seleucids were only partially able to raise powerful armies on two fronts, so that the decisive military operations were almost always carried out by the king. The structure of the main army provided for an elitist core of standing troops, which was then reinforced with regional contingents. These troops were generally subordinate to the king, while secondary armies were often made up of mercenaries. Militarily, the Seleucids differed considerably from the Romans, whose legions could operate independently, so that powerful Roman armies could be set up at several locations.

If a battle was taking place in the open, the Seleucid king was expected to take an active part in it. Although this had a positive effect on his own soldiers, it meant that the king, in his function as general, lost track of what was happening in battle. This increased the importance of the commanders of the individual branches and contingents. The senior officers were usually members of the royal house or noble families at the Syrian court. They were supplemented by mercenary leaders who had left the service of other Hellenistic states, but their role was less pronounced than in Ptolemy Egypt. Promotion in the Seleucid army was not only dependent on social origin, but also on earnings, so that soldiers were able to rise to high positions. The non-Greek elites, however, were denied a career in the army.


The Macedonian phalanx formed the core of the Seleucid army.

The Seleucids maintained a standing army of around 30,000 men, which was always available but also very expensive. This consisted of the elite troops and various mercenary units. During protracted campaigns in remote areas, the army was largely limited to these soldiers. In the short term, however, the Seleucid Empire was able to mobilize much larger armies by calling military colonists and urban contingents to arms. In the decisive battles against the Ptolemies at Raphia and Paneion , around 70,000 soldiers fought on both sides. This army strength could be maintained almost until the final loss of the eastern territories.

As with all Hellenistic powers, the Macedonian phalanx , whose fighters were exclusively Greek-Macedonian nationality, stood as heavy infantry in the center of the army during the battle . Their elite were the Argyraspiden (silver shields), who were recruited from the sons of the military colonists. Their number was kept constant at ten thousand in analogy to the Achaemenid immortals . In contrast to the other phalangites, they were permanently available to the king. The remaining military colonists only served as reserves and were otherwise farmers. If the warriors of the autonomous cities were added, the strength of the Seleucid phalanx could be increased to around 30,000 men in an emergency. The phalangites were armed with long lances ( sarissa ) and stood in close formation next to each other, which made them very immobile but also extremely powerful. If the battle line of the phalanx collapsed, the battle was lost. After the defeat by Rome, the Seleucid infantry was defeated after 190 BC. Reformed BC: Based on the example of the Roman maniples , the syntagma (with 256 men, however, larger) was formed as a tactical unit, while some infantrymen were armed in the Roman manner.

The cavalry was deployed on the wings of the army . Most of the riders were recruited from the eastern satrapies of the empire, where the Medes and Persians were able to muster more than 10,000 men. Their elite were the roughly three thousand heavily armored cataphracts who were integrated into the army after Antiochus the Great's eastern campaign. So that the Iranian element within the cavalry did not get too strong, the Seleucids also maintained a heavy Greco-Macedonian cavalry, at whose head the king was often. In addition to these heavy units, there were several thousand light units that were mainly used as border troops. Thanks to the horsemen from the eastern part of the empire, the Seleucid cavalry was usually superior to its opponents, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

In the Seleucid army, lightly armed infantry was used as a mobile link between the wings and the center. These were recruited from warriors from non-Greek parts of the empire as well as mercenaries from neighboring regions such as the Galatians of Asia Minor or the Arabs . In the back rows, indigenous ranged fighters such as archers, spear throwers and slingshots were also deployed, each representing the common fighting techniques of their countries of origin.

War elephants , which already played an important role during the Seleucid period , were imported from India . However, the elephants in Syria could not be bred efficiently, so that the kings had to regularly replenish their stocks on the eastern border of their empire. The Seleucids had an advantage over the Ptolemies because the Indian elephants were superior to the smaller forest elephants of their competitors. Furthermore, the Indian mahouts had an older tradition of taming elephants. In battle, the animals were used both on the flanks and in the center of the battle line and could decide a fight solely through their psychological effect on the enemy. War elephants decided several important battles in favor of the Seleucids, but the animals proved ineffective against the agile and disciplined Roman legions.


In contrast to the Ptolemies, the Seleucids did not maintain a notable fleet . On the one hand, the peripheries of the empire could also be reached by land; on the other hand, maintaining naval forces was very expensive. Thus only a few warships were stationed in the important port cities of Seleukeia in Pierien and Laodikeia by the sea . In addition, there was a flotilla in the Persian Gulf, where some Seleucid bases were located. The latter was probably stationed in Alexandria on the Tigris .

During the Roman-Syrian War , the Seleucids exceptionally set up a large fleet of around 100 heavy ships and twice the number of light units, as this conflict took place in the Aegean region . However, after this armada had to bow to the combined fleets of the Romans, Pergameners and Rhodians , the Seleucid maritime sovereignty was again limited to the Syrian and Phoenician waters.

The last stronger fleet of the Seleucids was used under Antiochus IV, when he occupied the island of Cyprus during the Sixth Syrian War .


The foreign policy of the Seleucid Empire can be largely reconstructed through treatises by historians from the Greek motherland, Rome and Judea. This applies primarily to events that affect the Mediterranean, while the activities of the Seleucids in the east of their empire sometimes remain unclear. The focus of the historians lies among other things on the emergence of the Diadochian empires, Rome's conflict with the Seleucids and the Jewish struggle for independence. Some of the ancient considerations are biased, as the majority of them were written by historians on the other side.

A central literary source for the reconstruction of the Seleucid history is the Greek historian Polybius , who was a contemporary of the middle kings, but also collected material on the history of the early Seleucids. Its primary goal was to show the rise of Rome to become the only great power in the Mediterranean. Polybius was personally friends with Demetrios I, who was living with him as a hostage in Rome at the same time. The Greek Poseidonios , who comes from Syria and who reports as a contemporary of the late Seleucids, ties in with Polybius .

Several chroniclers refer directly or indirectly to Polybius and Poseidonios: Appian wrote a treatise on the Seleucids, the Syriake , in post-Christian times . On the Roman side, Justin and Livy are of particular importance, on the Jewish side Josephus and the first two books of the Maccabees .

Domestic politics and social history are more difficult to grasp on the basis of ancient authors. However, here too, isolated comments, for example on military history, allow conclusions to be drawn about the structure of the state. The numerous epigraphic sources such as administrative decrees provide information about the internal politics of the Seleucid Empire. In this way, among other things, the relationship between imperial headquarters and city or between king and follower can be reconstructed. Nevertheless, due to the sparse sources, especially in the area of ​​economic and social history, some structures of the Seleucid Empire remain unclear.

The frequent coin finds are also significant, as they provide information about the rulership programs of the kings as well as chronological processes.


Overview representations

  • Edwyn Robert Bevan: The House of Seleucus. 2 volumes, Edward Arnold, London 1902 (reprint, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London 1966).
  • Elias Bikerman : Institutions des Séleucides. Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, Paris 1938.
  • Auguste Bouché-Leclercq : Histoire des Séleucides (323-64 avant J.-C.). 2 volumes, Leroux, Paris 1913–1914 (reprint, Culture et civilization, Brussels 1963).
  • Laurent Capdetrey: Le pouvoir séleucide. Territoire, administration, finances d'un royaume hellénistique (312–129 avant J.-C.). Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Rennes 2007.
  • Boris Chrubasik: Kings and Usurpers in the Seleukid Empire. The men who would be King . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016, ISBN 978-0-19-878692-4 .
  • John D. Grainger: A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer. Brill, Leiden / Boston 1997, ISBN 90-04-10799-1 (reference work on people, places and institutions of the Seleucid Empire).
  • Paul Kosmin: The Land of the Elephant Kings. Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire . Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2014, ISBN 978-0-674-72882-0 .
  • Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. A new approach to the Seleucid Empire . Duckworth, London 1993, ISBN 0-7156-2413-X .
  • Józef Wolski: The Seleucids. The Decline and Fall of their Empire . Nakładem Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności, Kraków 1999, ISBN 83-8695655-0 .

Individual examinations (selection)

  • Altay Coşkun, Alex McAuley (Eds.): Seleukid royal women. Creation, representation and distortion of Hellenistic queenship in the Seleukid empire . Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2016, ISBN 978-3-515-11295-6 .
  • Kay Ehling : Studies on the history of the late Seleucids (164–63 BC). From the death of Antiochus IV to the establishment of the province of Syria under Pompey (= Historia individual writings. Volume 196). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-09035-3 .
  • David Engels : Benefactors, Kings, Rulers. Studies on the Seleukid Empire between East and West (= Studia Hellenistica. Volume 57). Peeters, Leuven 2017, ISBN 978-90-429-3327-9 .
  • John D. Grainger: The Rise of the Seleukid Empire. Pen and Sword, Barnsley 2014, ISBN 978-1-78303-053-8 .
  • John D. Grainger: The Seleukid Empire of Antiochus III 223-187 BC. Pen & Sword, Barnsley 2015, ISBN 978-1-78303-050-7 ( academic review ).
  • John D. Grainger: The Fall of the Seleukid Empire 187-75 BC. Pen & Sword, Barnsley 2015, ISBN 978-1-78303-030-9 ( academic review ).
  • Jeffrey D. Lerner: The Impact of Seleucid Decline on the Eastern Iranian Plateau. The Foundations of Arsacid Parthia and Graeco-Bactria (= Historia individual writings . Volume 123). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-515-07417-1 .
  • Edward Dąbrowa (Ed.): New Studies on the Seleucids (= Electrum. Journal of Ancient History. Volume 18). Jagiellonian University Press, Krakow 2011, ISBN 978-83-233-3053-0 (collection of articles on various aspects of the Seleucid Empire).
  • Sonja Plischke: The Seleucids and Iran. The Seleucid domination policy in the eastern satrapies (=  Classica et Orientalia . Volume 9 ). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-447-10061-8 ( scientific review ).
  • Werner Widmer: Hellas in the Hindu Kush. Greek culture in the far east of the ancient world. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2015, ISBN 978-3-8301-1661-5 .

Rulers' biographies

  • John D. Grainger: Seleukos Nikator. Constructing a Hellenistic Kingdom . Routledge, London 1990, ISBN 0-415-04701-3 .
  • Peter Franz noon : Antiochus IV. Epiphanes. A political biography . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-05-004205-2 .
  • Hatto H. Schmitt : Investigations into the history of Antiochus the great and his time . Steiner, Wiesbaden 1964.
  • Michael Taylor: Antiochus the Great . Pen and Sword, Barnsley 2013, ISBN 978-1-84884-463-6 .


  • Bezalel Bar-Kochva: The Seleucid Army. Organization and Tactics in the Great Campaigns . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1976, ISBN 0-521-20667-7 .
  • Thomas Fischer : Investigations into the Parthian War Antiochus VII. In the context of the Seleucid history. Self-published, Tübingen 1970 (also dissertation, Munich 1970).
  • John D. Grainger: The Roman War of Antiochus the Great . Brill, Leiden / Boston 2002, ISBN 90-04-12840-9 .
  • Nick Seconda: The Seleucid Army under Antiochus IV Epiphanes . Montvert, Stockport 1994, ISBN 1-874101-02-7 .

economy and society

  • GG Aperghis: The Seleukid Royal Economy. The Finances and Financial Administration of the Seleukid Empire. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004.
  • Getzel M. Cohen: The Seleucid colonies. Studies in founding, administration and organization . Steiner, Wiesbaden 1978, ISBN 3-515-02581-2 .
  • John D. Grainger: The Cities of Seleukid Syria . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1990, ISBN 0-19-814694-9 .
  • Heinz Kreissig : Economy and Society in the Seleucid Empire. The ownership and dependency relationships . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1978.
  • Amélie Kuhrt (Ed.): Hellenism in the East. The Interaction of Greek and Non-Greek Civilizations from Syria to Central Asia after Alexander . Duckworth, London 1987, ISBN 0-7156-2125-4 .
  • John Ma: Antiochus III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor . Oxford University Press, Oxford 1999, ISBN 0-19-815219-1 .
  • Wolfgang Orth : Royal claim to power and urban freedom. Investigations into the political relations between the first Seleucid rulers and the cities of western Asia Minor . CH Beck, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-406-06511-2 .

Culture and architecture

Web links


  1. ^ Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1993, p. 10.
  2. ^ Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1993, p. 12: According to Strabo (XV 2.9), there were 500 elephants, a number that Sherwin-White / Kuhrt considers too high.
  3. ^ Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1993, p. 21.
  4. ^ Elmar Schwertheim: Asia Minor in antiquity: From the Hittites to Constantine, Munich 2011, p. 75
  5. Jeffrey D. Lerner, The Impact of Seleucid Decline on the Eastern Iranian Plateau , Stuttgart 1999, p. 29
  6. Lerner, p. 43
  7. Small Lexicon of Hellenism, p. 288
  8. Affiliation of the Elymais and Persis to the Seleucids after 187 see also Peter Franz Mittag: Antiochus IV. Epiphanes: Einepolitische Biographie , S. 53/54
  9. Peter Franz Mittag: Antiochus IV. Epiphanes: A political biography , p. 296/297
  10. Josef Wiesehöfer: The Parthian Empire and His Testimonies , p. 267
  11. Monika Schuol: The Charakene: a Mesopotamian kingdom in the Hellenistic-Parthian period, p. 273
  12. Elymais had been independent of the Seleucids since 147 or was closely allied with them against the Parthian Arsacids, and was conquered by the Parthians around 140/139. Josef Wiesehöfer: The Parthian Empire and Its Testimonies , p. 265, remark 52
  13. Herbert Donner: History of the People of Israel and its Neighbors in Fundamentals (...) , Timeline, p. 514
  14. Klaus Bringmann: History of the Jews in antiquity: from the Babylonian exile to the Arab ..., p. 131/132
  15. The ancient sources name around 80,000 soldiers and a train of 200,000 people. Although the information is often viewed as implausible, at least the first number could be realistic, see Bezalel Bar-Kochva: The Seleucid Army. Organization and Tactics in the Great Campaigns. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1976, pp. 10 f.
  16. Thomas Fischer: Investigations into the Parthian War Antiochus VII. In the context of the Seleucid history. Dissertation, Tübingen 1970.
  17. ^ Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1993, p. 44. The exact number of satrapies cannot be reconstructed. Appian speaks of 72 satrapies under Seleucus I.
  18. ^ Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1993, p. 42.
  19. Cf. Gehrke, Geschichte des Hellenismus, p. 109
  20. Sherwin-White, Kuhrt, From Samarkhand to Sardis
  21. a b Kreißig, Economy and Society
  22. ^ Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt: From Samarkhand to Sardis. Berkeley, Los Angeles 1993, p. 50.
  23. Nick Seconda: Seleucid and Ptolemaic reformed Armies 186-145 BC , Stockport 1994, pp. 8 and 16.
  24. ^ Jean-François Salles: The Arab-Persian Gulf under the Seleucids . In: Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt. Hellenism in the East. The interaction of Greek and non-Greek civilizations from Syria to Central Asia after Alexander . London 1987.
  25. See Kay Ehling, Studies on the History of the Late Seleucids , Stuttgart 2008