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ANTIOCHUS III

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 605 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ANTIOCHUS III. THE GREAT (242-187), Callinicus's younger son, a youth of about eighteen, now succeeded to a disorganized kingdom (223). Not only was Asia Minor detached, but the further eastern provinces had broken away, Bactria under the Greek Diodotus (q.v.), and Parthia under the nomad chieftain Arsaces. Soon after Antiochus's accession, Media and Persis revolted under their governors, the brothers Molon and Alexander. The young king was in the hands of the bad minister Hermeias, and was induced to make an attack on Palestine instead of going in person to face the rebels. The attack on Palestine was a fiasco, and the generals sent against Molon and Alexander met with disaster. Only in Asia Minor, where the Seleucid cause was represented by the king's cousin, the able Achaeus, was its prestige restored and the Pergamene power driven back to its earlier limits. In 221 Antiochus at last went east, and the rebellion of Molon and Alexander collapsed. The submission of Lesser Media, which had asserted its independence under Artabazanes, followed. Antiochus rid himself of Hermeias by assassination and returned to Syria (220). Meanwhile Achaeus himself had revolted and assumed the title of king in Asia Minor. Since, however, his power was not well enough grounded to allow of his attacking Syria, Antiochus considered that he might leave Achaeus for the present and renew his attempt on Palestine. The campaigns of 219 and 218 carried the Seleucid arms almost to the confines of Egypt, but in 217 Ptolemy IV. confronted Antiochus at Raphia and inflicted a defeat upon him which nullified all Antiochus's successes and compelled him to withdraw north of the Lebanon. In 216 Antiochus went north to deal with Achaeus, and had by 214 driven him from the field into Sardis. Antiochus contrived to get possession of the person of Achaeus (see POLYBIUS), but the citadel held out till 213 under Achaeus's widow and then surrendered. Having thus recovered the central part of Asia Minor—for the dynasties in Pergamum, Bithynia and Cappadocia the Seleucid government was obliged to tolerate—Antiochus turned to recover the outlying provinces of the north and east. Xerxes of Armenia was brought to acknowledge his supremacy in 212. In 209 Antiochus invaded Parthia, occupied the capital Hecatompylus and pushed forward into Hyrcania. The Parthian king was apparently granted peace on his submission. In 209 Antiochus was in Bactria, where the original rebel had been supplanted by another Greek Euthydemus (see further BACTRIA and articles on the separate rulers). The issue was again favourable to Antiochus. After sustaining a famous siege in his capital Bactra (Balkh), Euthydemus obtained an honour-able peace by which the hand of one of Antiochus's daughters was promised to his son Demetrius. Antiochus next, following in the steps of Alexander, crossed into the Kabul valley, received the homage of the Indian king Sophagasenus and returned west by way of Seistan and Kerman (206/5). From Seleucia on the Tigris he led a short expedition down the Persian Gulf against the Gerrhaeans of the Arabian coast (205/4). Antiochus seemed to have restored the Seleucid empire in the east, and the achievement brought him the title of " the Great King." In 205/4 the infant Ptolemy V. Epiphanes succeeded to the Egyptian throne, and Antiochus concluded a secret pact with Philip of Macedonia for the partition of the Ptolemaic possessions. Once more Antiochus attacked Palestine, and by 199 he seems to have had possession of it. It was, however, recovered for Ptolemy by the Aetolian Scopas. But the recovery was brief, for in 198 Scopas was defeated by Antiochus at the battle of the Panium, near the sources of the Jordan, a battle which marks the end of Ptolemaic rule in Palestine. In 197 Antiochus moved to Asia Minor to secure the coast towns which had acknowledged Ptolemy and the independent Greek cities. It was this enterprise which brought him into antagonism with Rome, since Smyrna and Lampsacus appealed to the republic of the west, and the tension became greater after Antiochus had in 196 established a footing in Thrace. The evacuation of Greece by the Romans gave Antiochus his opportunity, and he now had the fugitive Hannibal at his court to urge him on. In 192 Antiochus invaded Greece, having the Aetolians and other Greek states as his allies. In 191, however, he was routed at Thermopylae by the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio, and obliged to withdraw to Asia. But the Romans followed up their success by attacking Antiochus in Asia Minor, and the decisive victory of L. Cornelius Scipio at Magnesia ad Sipylum (190), following on the defeat of Hannibal at sea off Side, gave Asia Minor into their hands. By the peace of Apamea (188) the Seleucid king abandoned all the country north of the Taurus, which was distributed among the friends of Rome. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the outlying provinces of the empire, recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus perished in a fresh expedition to the east in Luristan (187). The Seleucid kingdom as Antiochus left it to his son, SELEUCUS IV. PHILOPATOR (reigned 187-176), consisted of Syria (now including Cilicia and Palestine), Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Nearer Iran (Media and Persis). Seleucus IV. was compelled by financial necessities, created in part by the heavy war-indemnity exacted by Rome, to pursue an unambitious policy, and was assassinated by his minister Heliodorus. The true heir, Demetrius, son of Seleucus, being now retained in Rome as a hostage, the kingdom was seized by the younger brother of Seleucus, ANTIOCHUS IV. EPIPHANES (i.e. " the Manifest [god]"; parodied Epimanes, " the mad "), who reigned 176-164. In 170 Egypt, governed by regents for the boy Ptolemy Philometor, attempted to reconquer Palestine; Antiochus not only defeated this attempt but invaded and occupied Egypt. He failed to take Alexandria, where the people set up the younger brother of Philometor, Ptolemy Eurgetes, as king, but he left Philometor as his ally installed at Memphis. When the two brothers combined, Antiochus again invaded Egypt (168), but was compelled to retire by the Roman envoy C. Popillius Laenas (consul 172), after the historic scene in which the Roman drew a circle in the sand about the king and demanded his answer before he stepped out of it. Antiochus exercised his contemporaries by the riddles of his half-brilliant, half-crazy personality. He had resided at Rome as a hostage, and afterwards for his pleasure at Athens, and had brought to his kingdom an admiration for republican institutions and an enthusiasm for Hellenic culture—or, at any rate, for its externals. There is evidence that the forms of Greek political life were more fully adopted under his sway by many of the Syrian cities. He spent lavishly on public buildings at home and in the older centres of Hellenism, like Athens. Gorgeous display and theatrical pomp were his delight. At the same time he scandalized the world by his riotous living and undignified familiarities. But he could persevere in an astute policy under the cover of an easy geniality and had no scruples. It is his contact with the Jews which has chiefly interested later ages, and he is doubtless the monarch described in the pseudo-prophetic chapters of Daniel (q.v.). Jerusalem, near the Egyptian frontier, was an important point, and in one of its internal revolutions Antiochus saw, perhaps not without reason, a defection to the Egyptian side. His chastisement of the city, including as it did the spoliation of the temple, served the additional purpose of relieving his financial necessities. It was a measure of a very different kind when, a year or two later (after 168), Antiochus tried to suppress the practices of Judaism by force, and it wasthis which provoked the Maccabaean rebellion (see MACCABEES) . In 166 Antiochus left Syria to attempt the reconquest of the further provinces. He seems to have been signally. successful. Armenia returned to allegiance, the capital of Media was re-colonized as Epiphanea, and Antiochus was pursuing his plans in the east when he died at Tabaein Persis, after exhibiting some sort of mental derangement (winter 164/3). He left a son of nine years, ANTIOCHUS V. EUPATOR (reigned 164-162), in whose name the kingdom was administered by a camarilla. Their government was feeble and corrupt. The attempt to check the Jewish rebellion ended in a weak compromise. Their subservience to Rome so enraged the Greek cities of Syria that the Roman envoy Graeus Octavius (consul 165 B.e.) was assassinated in Laodicea (162). At this juncture Demetrius, the son of Seleucus IV., escaped from Rome and was received in Syria as the true king. Antiochus Eupator was put to death. DEMETRIUS I. SOTER (reigned 162-150) was a strong and ambitious ruler. He crushed the rebellion of Timarchus in Media and reduced Judaea to new subjection. But he was unpopular at Antioch, and fell before a coalition of the three kings of Egypt, Pergamum and Cappadocia. An impostor, who claimed to be a son of Antiochus Epiphanes, ALEXANDER B ALAS (reigned 150-145), was installed as king by Ptolemy Philometor and given Ptolemy's daughter Cleopatra to wife, but Alexander proved to be dissolute and incapable, and when Demetrius, the son of Demetrius I., was brought back to Syria by Cretan condottieri, Ptolemy transferred his support and Cleopatra to the rightful heir. Alexander was defeated by Ptolemy at the battle of the Oenoparas near Antioch and murdered during his flight. Ptolemy himself died of the wound he had received in the battle.
End of Article: ANTIOCHUS III
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