ANTIOCHUS, name of thirteen kings of the Seleucid dynasty, several of whom were active in Iran. They are as follows:

Antiochus I Soter

Antiochus II Theos

Antiochus III Megas

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Nicephorus

Antiochus V Eupator

Antiochus VI Epiphanes Dionysus

Antiochus VII

Antiochus VIII Epiphanes Philometor Kallinikos

Antiochus IX Philopator

Antiochus X Eusebes Philopator

Antiochus XI Epiphanes Philadelphus

Antiochus XII Dionysus Epiphanes Philopator Kallinikos

[Antiochus XIII Asiaticus:
  -   see]


Antiochus I Soter, the son of Seleucus I Nicator, born ca. 324 B.C. and died 1 or 2 June 261 (Eusebius Chron. I, p. 249, gives his age at death as 64; the death date is certain: see Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 21). He participated in the battle of Ipsus in 301, where he inadvertently contributed to the defeat of Antigonus and Demetrius (Plutarch Demetrius 29). On marrying his stepmother, Stratonice, Antiochus was appointed co-ruler by his father. His co-regency began ca. 292 (Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 21) and lasted until the murder of Seleucus in September, 281. Antiochus administered the satrapies east of the Euphrates (Appian Syriaca 62). As co-regent Antiochus remained in Bactria rather than at his official residence at Seleucia on the Tigris (Strabo Geography 16.1.5, 738; E. Will, Histoire politique, pp. 267f.). He had family ties there through his mother, Apama, the daughter of the Bactrian noble Spitamenes (Arrian Anabasis 7.4.6; Plutarch Demetrius 31; cf. Berve, Alexanderreich, nos. 98, 717). The Seleucid mint in Bactria was established in the co-regency of Antiochus to meet the economic needs of this region with its eastern connections (Will, Histoire politique, p. 271). The reconnaissance of Patrocles in the Caspian (Pliny Naturalis historia 6.58) and the expedition beyond the Jaxartes (Syr Darya) of Demodamas (ibid., 6.49) date to the co-regency. The years Antiochus spent in the northeast involved the construction of frontier defenses which Alexander or even the Achaemenids had initiated (Will, Histoire politique, pp. 269-72). The founding and refortifying of cities appear to have been in response to invasion. Sites included Antiochia in Scythia and Antiochia Margiana (Pliny 6.47: qua diruta a barbaris; Strabo Geography 11.10.2), Achais (Pliny 6.48, who says this town was founded as Heracleia by Alexander, but subsequently subversum), and Alexandria-Antiochia-Artacoana (Pliny 6.93). Perhaps sporadic invasions by nomads and revolts, rather than a Scythian invasion, necessitated Antiochus’s efforts in Bactria (Will, Histoire politique, pp. 268, 271). Early in 281 Antiochus’s responsibilities were extended to include all of Asia, when his father crossed to Macedonia after defeating Lysimachus (Memnon, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 434 F8.1). With the murder of Seleucus Antiochus ruled the empire alone.

Between ca. 281 and ca. 271 Antiochus was embroiled in a revolt in Syria (Memnon, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 434 F9.1), and wars in Asia minor (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 434 F10.12). Peace with Antigonus Gonatas was concluded ca. 278 (Justin Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum 25.1). Both kings may have felt Celtic pressure, and Antiochus’s victory over the Gauls between 278 and 275 won for him the epithet Soter. In 275 Antiochus marched from Sardis against Egypt (J. Epping and J. Strassmaier, in ZA 7, 1892, p. 232) in the First Syrian War, which lasted until ca. 271.

Antiochus’s involvement in the west during the first decade of his reign provided the opportunity for a local Persian dynasty to arise near Persepolis. Our knowledge of the date for its emergence rests largely on a local coinage with Mazdean symbols, Persian personal names, and possibly the Persian title for governor (frataraka). E. T. Newell (Eastern Seleucid Mint, pp. 154-61) dates this coinage to ca. 275, but the degree of the dynasty’s independence and the chronology are disputed. E. Eddy (The King is Dead, Lincoln, 1961, pp. 75-77) claims the dynasty was independent of Seleucid authority from the time of Antiochus I to Antiochus II. E. Will (Histoire politique, pp. 279-81) admits the existence of this dynasty as early as Antiochus I, but suggests that it acknowledged the suzerainty of the Seleucids. Others, either ignoring or rejecting Newell's chronology, associate the rise of the dynasty with widespread disaffection in the eastern satrapies during the 240s (Schmitt, Utersuchungen, pp. 46-47, 68-70; Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 85).

Antiochus's arrangements for the eastern satrapies are not well known. He probably followed his father's precedent and appointed his son over the upper satrapies as co-regent (Bengtson, Strategie II, pp. 82-84). According to the cuneiform texts, Antiochus appointed a son Seleucus as co-regent shortly after the death of Seleucus I in late 281 B.C. (Epping and Strassmaier, in ZA 7, 1892, p. 234; Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 21). This son, when suspected of treason, was executed about 267; and a younger one, Antiochus, was appointed ca. 266 (Joannes Antiochenus, in C. Müller, Fragmenta IV. p. 558, 55; Parker and Dubberstein, op. cit., p 21).

The eastern satrapies—Babylon and Bactria at least—were sufficiently loyal in 273 to send substantial reinforcements, including silver and elephants, to Antiochus during the First Syrian War (Epping and Strassmaier, in ZA 7, 1892, p 232). The Persian feat used in stratagem by which Antiochus tricked Dion, the general of Ptolemy, and captured Damascus during this war may reflect Persian influence in Antiochus's army (Polyaenus 4.15).

Although most of the reign of Antiochus was spent in the west, he was not unattractive to his religious duties in the east. At least he was present in Babylon at the time of Akitu (New Year) Festival in 268, when he also laid the foundation for a temple of Nebo in Borsippa (J.B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Princeton, 1969, p. 317). His eastern interests are further attested by his friendship with Amitrochates of India (Hegesander Delphus, in C. Müller, Fragmenta IV, p. 421, 43). He died fighting the Galatians on 1 or 2 June 261 (Aelian De nature animalism 6.44; Pliny Naturalis historia 8.158).

Antiochus II Theos, born ca. 286, Eusebius reports he was forty years old when he died in July/August 246 (Chron. I, p. 251; Sachs and Wiseman, “A Babylonian King List,” p. 206). After the death of his father, Antiochus II ruled without a co-regent (Parker and Dubberstein, Chronology, p. 21). The first years of his reign saw him fighting in Asia Minor and Thrace (Memnon, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 434 F15; Polyaenus 4.16). During most of his reign he was preoccupied by the Second Syrian War, which ended ca. 251. The peace agreement included the marriage of Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy II, to Antiochus, who repudiated Laodice and her two sons. The result was instability at the Seleucid court and the mysterious death of Antiochus while reunited with Laudice at Ephesus (Will, Histoire politique, pp. 234-48). The neglect of the eastern provinces during the reign of Antiochus II probably contributed to the growing independence of Bactria under Diodotus, Parthia under Androgoras (q.v.), and the region of Astauene under Arsaces. The satraps appear to have become increasingly dependent on the Greek and native inhabitants of their provinces to defend the northern and eastern frontiers, while the Seleucid king remained in the west (Will, op. cit., pp. 281-90). 

Antiochus III Megas, 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 Astarābād; 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).


E. Badian, “Rome and Antiochos the Great: A Study in Cold War,” Classical Philology 54, 1959, pp. 81-99.

H. Bengtson, Die Strategie in der hellenistischen Zeit II, München, 1964, pp. 82-84.

E. R. Bevan, The House of Seleucus, 2 vols., London, 1902.

H. Berve, Das Alexanderreich auf Prosopographischer Grundlage II, 1926, repr. New York, 1973, nos. 98 and 717.

Camb. Hist. Iran III, see index.
J. Epping and J. N. Strassmaier, “Babylonische Mondbeobachtungen aus den Jahren 38 und 79 der Seleuciden-Aera,” ZA, 1892, pp. 232-34.

Eusebius, Chronicorum libri duo, ed. A. Schoene, I, 1875, II, 1866.

C. Müller, ed., Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum, 5 vols., Paris, 1841-70.

E. T. Newell, The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints, New York, 1938, pp. 154-61.

R. A. Parker and W. H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75, Providence, 1956, pp. 20-22.

H. R. Rawlings III, “Antiochos the Great and Rhodes,” American Journal of Ancient History, 1976, pp. 2-78. 

A. J. Sachs and D. J. Wiseman, “A Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period,” Iraq 16, 1954, pp. 206-11.

H. H. Schmitt, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Antiochos’ des Grossen und seiner Zeit, Historia, Einzelschriften 6, Wiesbaden, 1964.

É. Will, Histoire politique du monde hellénistique (323-30 av. J. C.), 2nd ed., 2 vols., Nancy, 1979-82, I, pp. 135-52, 234-48, 262-90; II, pp. 15-69, 101-21, 178-240.

See also Bibliography below. 

(D. Bing)

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Nicephorus, son of Antiochus III; he cannot have been born much before 215 B.C. and must have been at least eighteen years old in 189 (cf. Polybius, Histories 21.41 [43 Büttner-Wobst].22). After the battle of Magnesia (190 B.C.), Antiochus was sent to Rome as a hostage and was kept there until ca. 176-175 B.C. After his release, he spent some time in Athens. Learning that his brother, Seleucus IV, had been assassinated by Heliodorus, Antiochus gained the support of the Attalids of Pergamum, who crowned him king late in 175 B.C. (OGIS, no. 248; Appian, Syriaca 45). Antiochus’s alliance with Eumenes of Pergamum apparently lasted throughout his reign (Appian, Syriaca 45; cf. Polybius, Histories 30.30.4; Livy Periochae 46). The Babylonian King List puts his accession in September, 175 B.C., too early to account for the events between the death of his brother Seleucus IV and Antiochus’s coming to power (Sachs and Wiseman, “A Babylonian King List,” pp. 204, 208; cf. Daniel 11:21-22; Porphyry in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F49; Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, pp. 42-44).

Probably soon after his accession Antiochus married a certain Laodice who may have been the widow of his brother Seleucus IV (OGIS, no. 252; cf. Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, p. 49, n. 44); the marriage may have served as an expedient to smooth the transition. The only known children of this marriage were Antiochus V (b. 173 B.C.) and Laodice. (Concerning another alleged son, see O. Mørkholm, “The Accession of Antiochus IV of Syria,” American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 11, 1964, pp. 63-76.) The claim that Alexander Balas was his son has been disputed since antiquity.

During the first half of his reign, Antiochus’s most immediate preoccupations in foreign policy were relations with Rome and Egypt. He invaded Egypt in 170-69 and again in 168 B.C.. but a Roman ultimatum delivered to him at his camp near Alexandria caused him to relinquish Egypt at once. Two years later, during the summer of 166, he celebrated a grandiose festival at Daphne near Antioch, with a procession of over 50,000 soldiers and lavish games and banquets (Polybius, Histories 30.25-26). At about the same time charisteria were held in Babylon and the king was hailed is “savior of Asia” (OGIS, no. 253; cf. Zambelli, “L’ascesa al trono,” pp. 377-78). W. Tarn’s attempts to link these two festivals with the eastern campaigns of Antiochus and Eucratides is not supported by the evidence (Greeks in Bactria, pp. 193-95). An area of grave conflicts was Judea, where, on his return from Egypt (169 or 168 B.C.), he robbed the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. Later on, in a singular move, he changed the Temple cult and prohibited observance of Jewish law under penalty of death. To what extent these measures were caused by a prior rebellion is unclear. In any event, when the king’s armies were unable to crush the ensuing revolt, he granted conditional amnesty to the rebels early in 164 and ended the ban on observance of the Jewish law (1 Maccabees 1-6; 2 Maccabees 4-9; 11:27-33; Josephus Bellum Judaicum 1.31-39; idem, Antiquitates Judaicae 12.237-92).

Antiochus’s sudden leniency may have been caused by his desire to avoid trouble in Palestine while on a campaign in the eastern part of his empire (cf. Tacitus Histories 5.8.4-5; Daniel 11:44). Our information about his eastern expedition is very fragmentary. In 147 Seleucid Era (probably spring, 165 B.C.) he set out from Antioch, crossed the Euphrates, and continued through “the Upper Country” (1 Maccabees 3:37). He left Lysias behind as administrator of the western provinces and guardian to his son Antiochus V (1 Maccabees 3:32-33). Antiochus probably marched first against the king of Armenia, Artaxias (Diodorus 31.17a; Appian, Syriaca 45, 66; Porphyry in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F38, 56). According to Appian (Syriaca 66), Antiochus even took him prisoner. But Artaxias was allowed to remain ruler of Armenia as a vassal king.

From Armenia Antiochus must have moved southeast. Pliny (Naturalis historia 6.138-39) tells us that the fifth King Antiochus “restored” the town of Charax on the Persian Gulf and gave it his own name. As Antiochus V (164-62) can hardly be meant, it has been suggested that his passage refers to Antiochus IV. Pliny’s count may include either Antiochus’s older brother, who was co-regent of Antiochus III, or perhaps Antiochus Hierax (cf. Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, p. 168). Pliny further relates (6.147) that the coast from Charax onward was first explored for Antiochus IV. This statement is incorrect, because Antiochus III had been in this region in 204 (Polybius, Histories 13.9.4-5). Pliny also reports a double victory over the Persians by a certain Numenius “put in charge of Mesene by King Antiochus” 16.152), i.e., Antiochus III or IV (Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, pp. 169-70).

In Elymais Antiochus attempted to seize the treasures of the temple of Nanaia (2 Maccabees 1:13; cf. Polybius, Histories 31.9; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 12.354-55; Porphyry, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F53, 56; Appian, Syriaca 66). Several authors, most notably Bouché-Leclercq, have thought this a doublet of Antiochus III’s fatal attempt at robbing the temple of Bel in Elymais (Histoire I, pp. 297-306; cf. Diodorus, 28.3, 29.15). Holleaux (Ētudes III, pp. 255-79) has refuted this thesis and shown that Josephus and Porphyry clearly understood that Polybius was writing about Antiochus IV, that the tradition about both attempted temple robberies goes back directly to Polybius, and that the differences between the two stories preclude simple duplication. The similarity is based on the fact that both kings suffered financial difficulties. But Antiochus IV, rather than risk being killed like his father, gave up his attempt when the natives threatened armed resistance.

Shortly afterwards, Antiochus died at Tabae (Gabae?) in Persis of an unknown disease (Polybius, Histories 31.9; Porphyry, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F56; cf. Appian, Syriaca 66; differently 2 Maccabees 1:13-16). Most of the details surrounding the attempted temple robbery and death of Antiochus as reported in 1 Maccabees 6:1-13 (cf. Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 12.354-59) and 2 Maccabees 9 are legendary and cannot be used as historical evidence. From the Babylonian King List (Sachs and Wiseman, “A Babylonian King List,” pp. 204, 208) it seems that the news of his death arrived in Babylon between November 19 and December 19, 164 B.C. This accords with the dates given by 1 Maccabees 6:16 (149 Seleucid Macedonian Era [began October, 312] = 164-63 B.C.) and Porphyry, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.12 (Olympic calendar [01., began summer, 776]154, 1, i.e., the first year after the 154th quadrennial Olympic cycle = 164-63 B.C.). However, Granius Licinianus (ed. M. Flemisch, Leipzig, 1904, pp. 5-6) dates Antiochus’s death to 163 B.C. (consulship of T. Sempronius Gracchus).

Even though Antiochus’s eastern expedition was not entirely successful, at least nominal Seleucid rule over the eastern satrapies continued until Demetrius II. The rationale for Antiochus’s policy concerning the eastern provinces of his empire remains obscure. Against Tarn (Greeks in Bactria, p. 203), there is no evidence that Eucratides, King of Bactria, acted on his behalf and was his “sub-king.” An inscription from Babylon speaking of Antiochus as “foun[der and benefactor] of the city” (OGIS, no. 253 with conjectures by Zambelli, “L’ascesa al trono,” p. 378) does not prove that he intended to make Babylon the capital of his empire (see Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, pp. 172-75).

Against the notion that Antiochus’s eastern campaign was aimed mainly against the Parthians, it may be said that the chief evidence for this (Tacitus Histories 5.8.4-5) combines events that are at least 25 years apart. Therefore, the question of whether Tacitus’s Parthorum bellum, was that of Antiochus IV or Antiochus VII has been a point of contention. As we do not know the date of the Parthian defection, we may tentatively accept the plain meaning of Tacitus’s statement about Antiochus’s (preparation for his) Parthian war (so Bevan, House of Seleucus, London, 1902, II, p. 158 n. 5; Altheim and Stiehl, Geschichte Mittelasiens, p. 554; Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, pp. 309-24; differently Otto, “Geschichte des 6. Ptolemäers,” p. 85, n. 3 and Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, pp. 176-80). Perhaps Antiochus’s Parthian problems began already with the accession of Mithridates I Arsaces V (ca. 171 B.C.), but he had to put off his expedition because of the more immediate threat from Egypt (cf. Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, p. 311).

Except for the province of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, we know very little about the Seleucid administration under Antiochus. The provinces of Media (Diodorus 31.27a) and Babylonia (Appian, Syriaca 45) were governed by the satrap Timarchus of Miletus (see Bengtson, Strategie II, pp. 86-88). Both he and his brother Heracleides, who was appointed secretary of the treasury, were the king’s intimates (Appian, Syriaca 45). Whether Persis was under his control is uncertain. It had a Seleucid governor under Antiochus III, but its independence is attested ca. 150 B.C. (Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, p. 30 n. 40). Despite revolts in Judea, Armenia, and Cilicia, conflicts with Egypt and Parthia, and strong pressures from Rome, Antiochus was able to keep the bulk of the Seleucid empire intact.

Ancient tradition noticed two outstanding concerns of Antiochus, for the cities and for the gods (e.g., Polybius, Histories 26.1.10-11; 29.24.13; Livy Periochae 41.20.5-9). The only “foundations” of cities that can be ascribed to him with any confidence are those of Babylon (OGIS, no. 253), Ecbatana-Epiphaneia (Charax, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 103 F41), Epiphaneia in Armenia (Stephanus Byzantinus, s.v. Epiphaneia), Jerusalem (2 Maccabees 4:9; see M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism, Philadelphia, 1974, II, p. 184; differently J. Goldstein, 1 Maccabees, Garden Ctty, 1976, pp. 111-17), and probably Antiochia-Charax Spasinu (Pliny, Naturalis historia 6.139; contrast V. Tscherikower, Die hellenistischen Städtegründungen, Leipzig, 1927, p. 176). Antiochus spent unusual sums on gifts to Hellenistic cities and subsidies for public buildings (cf. Livy Periochae 41.20.5-9, but see also Polybius, Histories 32.8.5).

Antiochus’s coinage gives no clear evidence as to his policies, although it does provide some peculiar data. In about 169 B.C. many municipa1 Mints in the western part of the empire and in northern Mesopotamia started issuing bronze coins that combined features of royal and municipal coinage. The common date suggests a royal initiative, although there is considerable diversity of coin types and weight standards (Mørkholm, “Municipal Coinages,” pp. 64-66), and the purpose of the issues is not clear. Antiochus was the first Seleucid king to be called a god (theos) on his coinage. This title was used by the mint of Antioch consistently from 173/2 and in Ace-Ptolemais from 168 B.C., but the eastern mints used it rarely or never (Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, p. 113). Because of the lack of uniformity it is better not to speak of a general religious reform. Antiochus is not known to have interfered in the religious life of his subjects except in Judea (see Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, p. 132 n. 53, against S. Eddy, The King is Dead, Lincoln, 1961, pp. 135-36).

Antiochus’s personality was as puzzling to many ancients as it is to moderns. Polybius (26) describes his erratic behavior at length (cf. Diodorus 29.32), but his information is probably derived from sources close to Antiochus’s rival, Demetrius (cf. Polybius, Histories 31.14.3). The Jewish tradition, seeing only the persecutor, mingles fact with legend and is therefore of limited value for a general assessment. In his own dynasty his memory was revered; his son was named Eupator in memory of his father’s bravery (Appian, Syriaca 46) and as late as 144 B.C. his portrait appeared on tetradrachms of Antiochus VI. Fragments of a bronze portrait found by A. Stein in Šāmī, Iran, have been tentatively assigned to Antiochus (Rostovtzeff, History I, p. 66, pl. X.I), but Mørkholm (“Studies,” pp. 64-66) has shown that this identification is most probably incorrect.

Antiochus was thwarted in his plans for the West by Roman intervention, and his premature death cut short any designs he may have had in the East. His only outstanding achievement for which we have literary, epigraphic, and numismatic evidence is the promotion of Hellenistic cities. We have no basis for making him a hero, as Tarn has done (Greeks in Bactria, pp. 188-90), nor is there reason to suppose that he was deranged (so Otto, “Geschichte des 6. Ptolemäers,” p. 84; Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire I, p. 279).

Antiochus V Eupator, son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Laodice (see OGIS, no. 252 with commentary). He was nine years old when his father died (Appian, Syriaca 46, 66), and therefore was born in 173 B.C. Porphyry (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.13) appears to be mistaken concerning his age. His nomination as co-regent (April-May, 165 B.C.; see Porphyry, loc. cit., 2 Maccabees 9:25) can plausibly be connected with his father’s departure for the East. During that campaign (165-64 B.C.), Antiochus stayed in Syria under the care of Lysias, whom the king had made deputy for the provinces west of the Euphrates (1 Maccabees 3:32-33; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 12.295-296; Appian, Syriaca 46).

Upon news of the father’s death, Antiochus V was made king by Lysias (late 164 B.C.; cf. 1 Maccabees 6:16-17), who assumed the office of “prime minister” (2 Maccabees 10:11). The accession may not have been entirely peaceful; we hear of an upheaval in Syria (Livy Periochae 46; cf. Polybius, Histories 31.8.6). This may refer to the struggle with Philip, a courtier to whom Antiochus IV on his deathbed had allegedly given his royal insignia. Philip conquered Antioch while Antiochus and Lysias were besieging Jerusalem. After hearing of Philip’s advance they quickly returned and reconquered Antioch (1 Maccabees 6:14-15, 55-63; 2 Maccabees 13:23; differently Josephus, Bellum Judaicum 1.46).

Not long after this, a Roman envoy to the Seleucid government was assassinated in Laodicea (Appian, Syriaca 46; Diodorus 31.29). This event strained relations with Rome. Demetrius (later Demetrius I Soter), the son of Seleucus IV and since 176-75 a hostage in Rome (see below), took this opportunity to attempt to take his father’s throne from his cousin. Arriving in Syria with a small army, he met no noteworthy resistance. Antiochus and Lysias were captured by Demetrius’s troops and put to death shortly thereafter, in 162-61 B.C. (1 Maccabees 7:1-4; 2 Maccabees 14:1-2; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 12.389-90; Livy, Periochae 46; Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 253, 254). The last document referring to Antiochus as king is reportedly dated 11 January 161 B.C. (A. R. Bellinger, 1945, p. 43).

Antiochus VI Epiphanes Dionysus, son of Alexander Balas and Cleopatra Thea, born between 150 and 145 B.C. (1 Maccabees 10:57-58; 11:12, 39; cf. Appian, Syriaca 68, where he is mistakenly called Alexander). Coins show him as king from 168 to 171 Seleucid Macedonian Era (145/4 to 142/1 B.C.). Coins of year 167 have often been attributed to him (see Babelon, Les rois de Syrie, p. CXXXV), but Mørkholm convincingly argues that they were issued in remembrance of Antiochus IV, probably by Alexander Balas (Antiochus IV, p. 185 n. 20; contrast Numismatic Chronicle, 1960, p. 29). He was crowned king by Tryphon, who had been a high official under Alexander Balas, probably early in 144 B.C. (see Otto, “Geschichte des 6. Ptolemäers,” p. 128, n. 4; A. E. Samuel, Ptolemaic Chronology, Munich, 1962, p. 145; the events described in 1 Maccabees 11:18-54 between Ptolemy’s death and Antiochus’s accession cover severa1 Months).

On many of Antiochus’s coins the letters “TRY” appear, probably referring to his guardian, Tryphon, who was the real ruler. Tryphon never gained even nominal control over large parts of the Seleucid empire (Syncellus, Chronographia, ed. W. Dindorf, Bonn, 1829, p. 554). Antiochus was accepted as king by parts of Syria, most of Palestine, and probably a limited area in Cilicia (cf. Strabo 14.5.2/668; Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, p. 370 n. 2; Numismatic Chronicle, 1972, p. 305). However, even in these areas there was strong opposition. Babylonian records continued to list Demetrius II as ruler (see F . X. Kugler, Von Moses bis Paulus, Münster, 1922, p. 335).

When Tryphon felt that he no longer needed Antiochus to legitimize his position, he had the young king murdered under the pretext of a surgical operation (Livy Periochae 55; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.218; cf. 1 Maccabees 12:39, 13:3l; Diodorus 33.28-28a; Appian, Syriaca 68; Justin 36.1.7). 1 Maccabees 13:31 tells of the assassination with events of the year 170 Seleucid Babylonian Era (142-41 B.C.[began April, 311]). This agrees with the last date on Antiochus’s coins (171 Seleucid Macedonian Era; see Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, p. 370, n. 2) and with Josephus’s statement that he ruled for four years (Antiquitates Judaicae 13.218). For discussion of reports (accepted by Baldus, rejected by Fischer) that he was killed only after Demetrius II had been taken captive by the Parthians (138 B.C.), see Bibliography.

Despite his youth Antiochus was deified during his lifetime (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.218). On coins from the first year of his reign on he bears the title “Dionysus the God manifest” and wears a radiate crown (P. Gardner, Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: The Seleucid Kings of Syria, London, 1878, p. 63).

Antiochus VII, third son of Demetrius I Soter (cf. 1 Maccabees 15:1; Livy, Periochae 50). According to Porphyry (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.19) he was 35 years old when he died in 129 B.C. However, since his father seems to have been single when he escaped from Rome in 162-61 B.C. (cf. Polybius, Histories 31.13.1, 14.11-13), Antiochus can hardly have been born before 159 B.C. His titulature on a recently found inscription of 130-29 B.C. (Y. H. Landau in Israel Exploration Journal 11, 1961, pp. 118-26; Supplementum epigraphicum Graecum XX.43) appears to be Megas Soter Euergetes Kallinikos (Fischer, Partherkrieg, p. 109, disregards two letters seen by Landau on the stone). He was commonly called Sidetes, because he grew up in Side in Pamphylia (Porphyry, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F37.17). Josephus reports his titles as Soter and Eusebes (Antiquitates Judaicae 13.222, 271, and 7.393; 13.244; cf. Josephus Contra Apionem 2.82).

When Antiochus received news that his brother Demetrius II Nicator had been captured by the Parthians (138 B.C.; Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 255, 256; see Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, pp. 369-72; cf. 1 Maccabees 14:3), he set out to claim the Seleucid throne for himself and invaded Syria in 174 Seleucid Macedonian Era (l39-38 B.C., 1 Maccabees 15:10; his earliest dated coins belong to the same year). He accepted an offer of marriage and kingship from Cleopatra Thea, his brother’s wife, who was shut up in Seleucia Pieria with her children (cf. Diodorus 33.28; Appian, Syriaca 68; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.222; Justin Epitoma 36.1.9). Many soldiers went over to Antiochus and Cleopatra, so that their rival Tryphon had only a small force left (1 Maccabees 15:10; Josephus, op. cit., 13.221). Antiochus pursued him to Apamea, captured him and put him to death or forced him to commit suicide (Josephus, op. cit., 13.224; Appian, Syriaca 68; Strabo, Geography 14.5.2/668).

Meanwhile, a dispute over control of Joppa, Gazara, and the Acra of Jerusalem had arisen between Antiochus and the Hasmonean Simon. Despite initial setbacks, Antiochus was able temporarily to regain control over Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine (1 Maccabees 15:38-16:10; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.236-48, 261), and he reconquered other territory lost through local revolts (Justin Epitoma 36.1.9; cf. 38.10.1). However, Rome gave increasing support to movements of local independence, thereby greatly restricting Seleucid freedom of action in the West (see Josephus, op. cit., 13.260-66; 14.247-55; cf. E. Schürer, G. Vermes, and F . Millar, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ I, Edinburgh, 1973, pp. 204-06).

Antiochus’s major adversaries were the Parthians, who had conquered most of the eastern provinces of the Seleucid empire (Debevoise, History of Parthia, p. 27) and held his brother Demetrius II captive in Hyrcania. According to Justin (Epitoma 38.9.10-10.1), Antiochus’s fear that the Parthians might set up Demetrius as his rival was the reason for his Parthian war. However, this explanation is based on hindsight. The scope of the operation seems to indicate a more ambitions goal than retrieval of his brother. Apparently he sought to reestablish the Seleucid empire as the major power in Western Asia. The several fragmentary accounts of the war may go back to Posidonius (ca. 135 to ca. 50 B.C.). However, complete reconciliation of the literary and documentary data is impossible. Therefore, the following outline presents possibilities, not certainties.

After extensive preparations Antiochus set out with a large army in the spring of 130 B.C.; Porphyry’s date (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.19: 01.162,4 = 129-28 B.C.) is manifestly wrong. Numbers are greatly exaggerated in the sources (Justin Epitoma 38.10.2: 80,000 soldiers, 300,000 noncombatants; Orosius Historiarum adversus paganos libri 5.10.8: 100,000 soldiers, 200,000 noncombatants; see G. Downey, A History of Antioch in Syria, Princeton, 1961, p. 125 n. 28). The royal retinue included a son or nephew Seleucus and a niece, a daughter of Demetrius II (Porphyry, loc. cit., Justin Epitoma 38.10.10; cf. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire II, p. 600). A contingent under the Jewish high priest and ruler, John Hyrcanus, participated at least in the first phase of the war (Nicolaus of Damascus, in Jacoby, Fragmente, 90 F92 = Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.250-51). Many oriental kings went over to Antiochus’s side and apparently helped him defeat the Parthians in three battles (Justin Epitoma 38.10.5-6; cf. Nicolaus of Damascus, ibid.; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.252), the chronology of which unfortunately continues to be disputed. However, Antiochus’s rule in Babylonia is well attested by coinage from the mint of Seleucia on Tigris, dated 182 and 183 Seleucid Macedonian Era (131-30 and 130-29 B.C.; Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, pp. 154-55). In a copy of a Babylonian hymn, Antiochus is listed as king on 1 June 130 B.C. (Aiaru 22, 182 Seleucid Babylonian Era; see A. A. Olmstead, “Cuneiform Texts and Hellenistic Chronology,” Classical Philology 32, 1937, p. 14; Fischer, Partherkrieg, p. 91, n. 197). According to Justin 38.10.6, Antiochus’s spectacular successes caused all the subject peoples to defect from the Parthians, and after his conquest of Babylonia he was called “the Great.” This title is also found in several of his inscriptions (OGIS, nos. 255, 256; for an inscription from Ptolemais, Israel Exploration Journal 11, 1961, p. 219, see above).

In the same year the king proceeded to Media. According to Orosius (Hist. adv. paganos 5.10.8) he took possession of it and even ventured beyond. However, Posidonius (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 87 F9, 11) and Aelian (De natura animalium 10.34) seem to imply that his last battle was in Media and that he never went further. No coins of Antiochus are known from the Ecbatana mint—probably an indication that his control over Media was short-lived and incomplete. The Susa mint appears to have produced bronze coins for him (Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides, pp. 83-84, no. 110, p. 377).

The greatest problem for Antiochus’s troops, especially with the approach of winter, was provisions: thus he decided to disperse the army over a wide area for winter quarters (Justin Epitoma 38.10.8). Early in the spring of 129 B.C. Phraates sent messengers to ask for peace, but negotiations failed because Phraates would not accept Antiochus’s harsh conditions: release of Demetrius, withdrawal from all conquered territories, and payment of tribute for the Parthian homelands, probably Parthyene and Hyrcania (Diodorus 34-35.15). Phraates, instead of surrendering Demetrius, sent him to Syria with a Parthian escort shortly before Antiochus’s final battle (Justin Epitoma 38.10.7; cf. 10.11; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.253; Appian, Syriaca 68; Porphyry, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.19).

Meanwhile, the people who had welcomed Antiochus as a liberator had grown weary of his undisciplined troops and resented the economic burden of their presence. An uprising, probably masterminded by Phraates, was planned while the troops were still in winter quarters. Antiochus rushed to help the troops stationed nearest to him, but before reaching them he was surprised by a large Parthian army under Phraates (Justin Epitoma 38.10.8-9). Although his advisers tried to dissuade him from joining battle on hilly terrain against a superior enemy force, he decided to fight. His troops were defeated and fled (Diodorus 34-35.16.1, 17.2). Antiochus, after fighting courageously, either committed suicide (Appian, Syriaca 68; Aelian De natura animalium 10.34) or was killed in battle (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.253; Justin Epitoma 38.10.10; Porphyry, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.19; Julius Obsequens 28). Apparently, most of his scattered army was destroyed or taken captive. Diodorus 34-35.17.1 tells us that the loss of 300,000 persons was bewailed in Antioch (see however Fischer, Partherkrieg, p. 52). Phraates paid royal honors to the dead Seleucid king and sent his body back to Syria in a silver casket (Justin, Epitoma 38.10.10; 39.1.6; cf. Posidonius, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 87 F11; see also Debevoise, History of Parthia, pp. 31-35, and Camb. Hist. Iran III/1, pp. 37-38).

A cuneiform tablet lists Antiochus as king still in 183 Seleucid Babylonian Era (31 March 129 to 17 April 128 B.C.; T. G. Pinches, J. N. Strassmaier, and A. J. Sachs, Late Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts, Providence, 1955, p. 171 no. 1137). His coins are dated from 174 to 183 Seleucid Macedonian Era (autumn, 139 to autumn, 129 B.C.). For 183 we have again a sizable number of coins of Demetrius II, who must have established himself in Syria well before October, 129 B.C. (see Babelon, Les Rois de Syrie, d’Arménie et de Commagène, Paris, 1890, p. CXLI). As Antiochus’s troops were still in their winter quarters when he lost his life, his death must have occurred during the spring of 129 B.C. However, the date of the beginning of his Parthian campaign is open to discussion. The above reconstruction, which follows the almost universal consensus of scholars, has recently been challenged by Fischer. He distinguishes between a “Parthian campaign” in 131 and a “Median campaign against Phraates” in 130 B.C. (Partherkrieg, pp. 47, 43 , n. 80) and suggests, on the basis of Josephus (Antiquitates Judaicae 13.253) and of the name Hyrcanus (from Hyrcania), that Antiochus actually invaded Parthia proper (Partherkrieg, pp. 39-41). By assuming this longer chronology, Fischer solves two important problems: (a) The apparent date of the battle at the Lycus river (June, 131 or 130 B.C.) no longer conflicts with Antiochus’s rule being accepted in Babylonia by 1 June 130 B.C.; (b) by placing the peace negotiations in the spring of 130 B.C. one may accept Porphyry’s statement that Antiochus died before the end of winter (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.19; cf. Justin, Epitoma 38.10.9), shortly before 31 March 129 B.C.

However, no author speaks in any detail of two separate campaigns or implies that the war lasted more than one year (but see Livy Periochae 59; Ps.-Plutarch Regum et imperatorum apophthegmata, Loeb ed., p. 184 D). Josephus uses Parthyene, not only for Parthia proper, but for the entire Parthian empire (so at least Antiquitates Judaicae 18.353, 20.245, and probably Bellum Judaicum 1.273). Even though the derivation of Hyrcanus’s name from Hyrcania is probably correct, a connection with Antiochus’s Parthian war is not proven, because the name Hyrcanus is attested earlier (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 12.186). Furthermore ad Parthos deficiunt cannot mean that inhabitants of Parthia proper defected from Antiochus (Justin Epitoma 38.10.8; against Fischer, Partherkrieg, pp. 4344). Hence the evidence goes against an invasion of Parthia proper. Lastly, Porphyry’s account of Antiochus’s later years is so full of errors that we can not take it as a basis for chronological details.

Antiochus VII was the last Seleucid king to make a serious attempt at reconquering Mesopotamia and Iran. Achieving as much by diplomatic means as by military exploits, he showed himself as a man of remarkable political acumen. His Parthian war indicates that he had reestablished the military and economic strength of the Seleucid empire. However, like other Hellenistic monarchs, he was reproached by ancient authors for his dissolute living. Posidonius has Phraates say at his funeral: “In your large wine cups you hoped to drink away the kingdom of Arsaces” (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 87 F11; cf. F9; Pompeius Trogus, Fragmenta, ed. O. Seel, Leipzig, 1956, fr. 155a; Justin, Epitoma 38.10.2-4 = Pompeius Trogus, fr. 155b Seel). Antiochus may have set the example for the luxurious lifestyle of his army, which became a major cause of his failure, or his failure may have led to the legend of his luxury.

According to Porphyry (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 260 F32.20) Antiochus had two daughters, both named Laodice, and three sons, one named Seleucus and two named Antiochus. Bouché-Leclercq (Histoire II, p. 600) considered these to be the children of Cleopatra Thea by her second husband Demetrius II (Seleucus V, Antiochus VIII, Laodice) and by Antiochus, her third husband. On the basis of fragments of Malalas (C. Müller, Fragmenta IV p. 561, F66.1) and Posidonius (Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 87 F12). Fischer instead distinguishes Seleucus V from Antiochus’s son of the same name (Partherkrieg, pp. 49-51). The youngest child became known as Antiochus IX. After the king’s death, Alexander Zabinas pretended to be his adopted son in order to strengthen his unfounded claim to the Seleucid throne (Justin Epitoma 39.1.5).

Antiochus VIII Epiphanes Philometor Kallinikos (full name in OGIS, nos. 258, 259, cf. 260), commonly known as Grypus (“hook-nosed”), a son of Cleopatra Thea by her second husband, Demetrius II, born in 141 B.C., died in 96 B.C. He was educated in Athens (Eusebius Chron. I, pp. 259-60; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.365; Appian, Syriaca 68). His mother co-opted him as joint ruler in 126-25 B.C. Justin (39.1.9) tells us that the power at first remained in her hands. The same impression is conveyed by the coins of their joint rule (187-92 Seleucid Macedonian Era = 126-25 to 121-20 B.C.). Before the end of 123 B.C., Antiochus received substantial military support from Egypt with which he eliminated his rival, Alexander Zabinas, formerly a protégé of Ptolemy Euergetes II (Justin Epitoma 39.2.1-6; Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 257, 258; Diodorus 34-35.28.2; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.269). In 192 Seleucid Macedonian Era (121-20 B.C.; see Babelon, Les rois de Syrie, pp. 175-77) Antiochus became sole ruler after having forced his mother to drink the poison she reportedly had prepared for him (Appian, Syriaca 69; Justin, Epitoma 39.2.7-8).

The Seleucid kingdom seems to have enjoyed relative peace during the next years, until Antiochus Cyzicenus, a half brother, tried to seize power (Appian, Syriaca 69; Justin Epitoma 39.2 10). Livy (Periochae 62) would put the beginning of hostilities already between 118 and 115 B.C. (cf. Justin Epitoma 39.3.1). Numismatic evidence, however, indicates that Antiochus remained in power until 114-13 B.C. (Babelon, Les rois de Syrie, pp. CLXII, 189; cf. Bellinger, “End of the Seleucids,” pp. 66-67). His later years were overshadowed by the continuing conflict with Cyzicenus. Between 114 and 109 B.C. Antiochus appears to have lost and regained

Antioch three times (Justin, Epitoma 9.3.4-12; Bellinger, “End of the Seleucids,” p. 87). Renewed fighting is reported after 104 B.C. (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.325; Livy Periochae 68). Probably in 112 B.C. Antiochus fled to Aspendus for about one year, hence his surname Aspendius (Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 259, 260). These prolonged dynastic struggles hastened the decline of the Seleucids.

Throughout his reign Antiochus was involved in the intrigues of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Both his first wife Tryphaena and his second wife Selene were daughters of Cleopatra III, who arranged their marriages (ca. 123 and before 101 B.C.). Both wives brought armies as part of their dowry; Tryphaena’s army was crucial in defeating Alexander Zabinas (see above); Selene’s army was meant to counterbalance a possible alliance between Cyzicenus and Ptolemy Soter II, her brother and former husband (Justin Epitoma 39.4.4). In spite of the king’s pleading, Tryphaena had her sister Cleopatra IV, Cyzicenus’s wife, murdered in a temple in Antioch. Shortly afterwards, Cyzicenus had Tryphaena killed in revenge (Justin, Epitoma 39.3.5-12).

In 96 B.C., Antiochus fell victim to a plot by a certain Heracleon, probably his war minister (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.365; Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 259, 260; cf. Posidonius, in Jacoby, Fragmente, no. 87 F25). He left behind five sons, Seleucus VI, Demetrius III, Philip I, Antiochus XI and XII. Each claimed the Seleucid throne at one time or other. The only known daughter, Laodice, was to become queen of Commagene.

Antiochus IX Philopator, youngest son of Cleopatra Thea and her third husband Antiochus VII (OGIS, nos. 255, 256), born ca. 135 B.C. After his father’s death in 129 B.C., Cleopatra Thea sent him to Cyzicus (hence his name Cyzicenus) in northwestern Asia Minor (Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 257, 258; OGIS, no. 256; Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.271). Growing up there, Antiochus soon raised an army against his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, who reportedly attempted to poison him (Appian, Syriaca 69; Justin Epitoma 39.2.10). After perhaps several years of struggle, Antiochus conquered Syria in 114-13 B.C. and apparently started minting his own coinage in all the remaining Seleucid mints (Bellinger, “End of the Seleucids,” p. 87).

Soon after he had started his revolt, he married Cleopatra IV (see under Antiochus VIII). She brought him troops which he deployed to fight Grypus, the continued struggle with whom took up most of his energy and resources. After Grypus’s death in 96 B.C., Antiochus immediately tried to regain control of Syria. Several coins with his portrait have been attributed to his fourth and last reign in Antioch in 96-95 B.C. (Newell, “Seleucid Mint of Antioch,” p. 109; cf. Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 259, 260). Presumably during this period he married Selene, Grypus’s widow (Appian, Syriaca 69). He died ca. 95 B.C. after having lost a battle against Grypus’s son, Seleucus VI. He was either executed (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.366) or committed suicide to avoid capture (Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 259, 260; his age is stated incorrectly and may plausibly be emended from fifty to forty). By starting a war against Grypus, Antiochus precipitated the ruin of the Seleucid kingdom, which was never again to recover.

Antiochus X, son of Antiochus IX, called Eusebes Philopator on all his extant coins. Shortly after his father’s death in 95 B.C., Antiochus put on royal diadem in Aradus (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.367). For a time he controlled at least parts of Syria and Cilicia, but he had to contend with the claims of four sons of Antiochus VIII, his cousins, who at times combined their forces against him (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.368-71; Appian, Syriaca 69; Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 259-62; Newell, “Seleucid Mint of Antioch,” pp. 115-17; cf. Bellinger, “End of the Seleucids,” p. 74). According to Josephus, he died in battle while assisting an otherwise unknown queen Laodice in fighting the Parthians (Antiquitates Judaicae 13.371). The manuscript tradition of her people’s name is singularly corrupt, making it impossible to identify the area of the Parthian advance (see however Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire I, p. 421). Antiochus’s early death would be confirmed if a rather worn bronze coin published by Bellinger (in American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 5, 1952, pp. 53-55; pl. XII.4) really was struck in 92 B.C. and shows Antiochus’s wife Selene with their son Antiochus XIII (cf. Appian, Syriaca 69-70). However, Appian indicates that the king continued to hold Cilicia and says three times (Mithridatica 105; Syriaca 48, 69) that he was expelled from his kingdom by Tigranes (83 B.C.). If this was so, nothing is known of his activities after 92 B.C. Eusebius gives us yet another version saying that the king, defeated by his cousin Philip, had fled to the Parthians prior to Tigranes’s arrival (Chron. I, pp. 261-62). Several ancient authors bring Antiochus in contact with Pompey, most likely confusing him with his son, Antiochus XIII (Eusebius, ibid.; Justin Epitoma 40.2.2-3).

Antiochus XI Epiphanes Philadelphus, son of Antiochus VIII and Tryphaena. He must have been in his twenties when in 93 B.C. he gained control over Antioch for a short time (Newell, “Seleucid Mint of Antioch,” pp. 115-17). On some rare coins he is associated with his twin brother Philip (Bellinger, “End of the Seleucids,” pp. 92-93). He was drowned in the Orontes River while fleeing from Antiochus X after a lost battle (Eusebius, Chron. I, pp. 261, 262).

Antiochus XII Dionysus Epiphanes Philopator Kallinikos, youngest son of Antiochus VIII. Soon after his brother Demetrius III had become a prisoner of the Parthian king Mithridates II (88-87 B.C.), Antiochus installed himself in Damascus in his stead. The Damascus mint issued dated coins in his name in 226-27 Seleucid Macedonian Era = 87-86 to 86-85 B.C. There are also several coin types without date. Therefore, it is thought that his rule extended into 84 B.C. (Newell, “Late Seleucid Mints,” pp. 86-89; Bellinger, “End of the Seleucids,” p. 77, n. 84). He met his death in a battle near the Dead Sea while on expedition to Arabia (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.387-91; idem, Bellum Judaicum 1.99-102).


F. Altheim and R. Stiehl, Geschichte Mittelasiens im Altertum, Berlin, 1970. É. Will, Histoire politique du monde hellénistique, 2 vols., Nancy, 1966-67.

E. Bikerman, Institutions des Séleucides, Paris, 1938.

A. Bouché-Leclerq, Histoire des Séleucides, 2 vols., Paris, 1913-14.

G. Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides et les Parthes, Mémoires de la mission archéologique en Iran 38, Paris, 1965.

OGIS: Orientis Graeci inscriptiones selectae, ed. W. Dittenberger, Leipzig, 1903-05.

M. Rostovtzeff, The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World, 3 vols., Oxford, 1941.

C. B. Wells, Royal Correspondence in the Hellenistic Period, New Haven, 1934. 

Antiochus IV and V.

J. G. Bunge, “Antiochos-Helios,” Historia 24, 1975, pp. 164-88.

O. Mørkholm, The Seleucid Mint at Antiochia on the Persian Gulf, American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 16, 1970, pp. 31-44.

Idem, Antiochus IV of Syria (Classica et Mediaevalia. Dissertationes 8), Copenhagen, 1966 (includes extensive bibliography).

Idem, “The Municipal Coinages with Portrait of Antiochus IV of Syria,” Congresso internazionale di numismatica Roma 1961 II, 1965, pp. 63-67.

Idem, Studies in the Coinage of Antiochus IV of Syria, Hist. Filos. Medd. Dan. Vid. Selsk. 40, no. 3, 1963.

M. Zambelli, “L’ascesa al trono di Antioco IV Epifane di Siria,” Rivista di filologia, N.S. 38, 1960, pp. 363-89.

W. W. Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 1951, pp. 183-224, 463-66, 528-29.

M. Holleaux, “La mort d’Antiochos IV Ēpiphanès,” Études d’épigraphie et d’histoire grecques III, Paris, 1942, pp. 255-79.

W. Otto, Zur Geschichte des 6. Ptolemäers, Abh. Bayer. Ak. Wiss., Phil.-hist. Kl., N.S., 11, Munich, 1934.

Antiochus VI.

H. Seyrig, Notes on Syrian Coins, American Numismatic Society Numismatic Notes and Monographs 119, pp. 12-17.

T. Fischer, “Zu Tryphon,” Chiron 2, 1972, pp. 201-13.

H. R. Baldus, “Der Helm des Tryphon und die seleukidische Chronologie der Jahre 146-138 v. Chr.,” Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 20, 1970, pp. 217-39.

Antiochus VII.

T. Fischer, “Untersuchungen zum Partherkrieg Antiochos’ VII. im Rahmen der Seleukidengeschichte” (dissertation), Tübingen, 1970.

N. C. Debevoise, A Political History of Parthia, Chicago, 1938, pp. 31-34.

Later Seleucids.

E. T. Newell, “The Seleucid Mint of Antioch,” American Journal of Numismatics 51, 1917-18, pp. 90-151.

Idem, Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus, American Numismatic Society Numismatic Notes and Monographs 84, 1939.

A. R. Bellinger, “The End of the Seleucids,” Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1949, pp. 51-102.

(J. Sievers)

(D. Bing, J. Sievers)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 5, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 2, pp. 125-135