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Antiochus, the son of Seleucus and grandson of Antiochus, king of the Syrians, the Babylonians, and other nations, was the sixth in succession from that Seleucus who succeeded Alexander in the government of the Asiatic countries around the Euphrates. He invaded Media and Parthia, and other countries that had revolted from his ancestors, and performed many exploits, from which he was named Antiochus the Great.
Antiochus the Third wrote to the cities, that if he should at any time write for any thing to be done contrary to the law, they should not obey, but suppose it to be done out of ignorance.
|Ruler:||Antiochos III Megas (“Antiochos the Great”), Seleukid King, born in the period c. 243 - 241 BC,1 reigned 223 - 187 BC, died 187 BC (killed in mounting a raid on a temple treasury in Elymais2)|
|Father:||Seleukos II Kallinikos, Seleukid King, born c. 260 BC (son of Antiochos II Theos, Seleukid King, and Laodike I, Queen of the Seleukid Empire), reigned 246 - 226 BC, died 226 BC (killed by a fall from his horse)|
|Mother:||Laodike II, sister of Andromachos and aunt of Achaios3 (viceroy of Antiochos III and then anti-King in Asia Minor, reigned 220 - 214 BC4)|
|Siblings:||(1)||Seleukos III Soter (Keraunos),5 Seleukid King, born before c. 243 BC, reigned 226 - 223 BC, died 223 BC (killed by two of his officers from unknown reasons)|
|(2)||Antiochis (sister), married to Xerxes, King of Armenia, in 212 BC6 (she later killed him7)|
|Wifes:||(1)||Laodike III, Seleukid Queen (daughter of Mithridates II, King of Pontos, and Laodike, daughter of Antiochos II Theos), married Antiochos III in 222/1 BC (as his first wife),8 died probably by 191 BC|
|(2)||Euboia, Seleukid Queen (daughter of Kleoptolemos of Chalkis in Euboia), married Antiochos III in 191/0 BC (as his second wife)9|
|Children:||(All children by his first wife, Laodike III.)10|
|(1)||Antiochos, joint King with Antiochos III, born 221/0 BC,11 joint reign with his father since 210 BC, married his sister Laodike (5) in 195 BC (the first sibling marriage in the Seleukid dynasty),12 died 193/2 BC (from an illness)13|
|(2)||Seleukos IV Philopator, Seleukid King, born c. 216/5 BC,14 joint King with his father since 189 BC,15 reigned 187 - 175 BC, died September 175 BC (supposedly murdered by his minister Heliodoros)|
|(3)||Antiochos IV Theos Epiphanes Nikephoros,16 Seleukid King, born c. 212 BC,17 reigned 175 - 164 BC, died 164 BC (the cause of his death is not known)|
|(4)||possible another son Ardys18|
|(5)||Laodike, chief priestess of the cult of her mother Laodike III in Media, married to her brother Antiochos (1) in 195 BC12|
|(6)||Kleopatra I Syra, Queen of Egypt, born c. 219/8 BC,19 wife of Ptolemy V Epiphanes Eucharistos (married to him in 194/3 BC), mother of Ptolemy VI Philometor (King of Egypt), Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Tryphon (King of Egypt) and presumably of Kleopatra II (Queen of Egypt), senior co-ruler with her son Ptolemy VI after her husband’s death (180 BC - 178/7 BC), died 178/7 BC20|
|(7)||Antiochis, Queen of Cappadocia, wife of Ariarathes IV (King of Cappadocia), mother of Ariarathes V (King of Cappadocia), Orophernes (King of Cappadocia) and Mithridates|
|(8)||perhaps Nysa, wife of Pharnakes I, King of Pontos21|
|(9)||possible another daughter (unknown name) engaged to Demetrios I, King of Baktria22|
1 Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 15: c. 243 BC; Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 2: c. 242/1 BC.
2 Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 28.3.1: As for Antiochus (Antiochos III), his project of pillaging the sanctuary of Zeus at Elymaïs brought him to appropriate disaster, and he perished will all his host.
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 29.15.1: Antiochus (Antiochos III), pressed for funds and hearing that the temple of Bel in Elymaïs had a large store of silver and gold, derived from the dedications, resolved to pillage it. He proceeded to Elymaïs and after accusing the inhabitants of initiating hostilities, pillaged the temple; but though he amassed much wealth he speedily received meet punishment from the gods.
Eusebius, Chronicle, pp. 253-254: Antiochus (Antiochos III) was called [the Great] and reigned for 36 years, from the second year of the 139th Olympiad (August 224 BC – July 223 BC) until the second year of the 148th Olympiad (August 187 BC – August 186 BC). In the latter year, he made an expedition to Susa and the eastern provinces, but was killed with all [his men] in battle with the Elymaeans; ...
Strabo, Geography, 16.1.18: The Elymaei occupy a country larger in extent, and more varied, than that of the Paraetaceni. The fertile part of it is inhabited by husbandmen. The mountainous tract is a nursery for soldiers, the greatest part of whom are archers. As it is of considerable extent, it can furnish a great military force; their king, who possesses great power, refuses to be subject, like others, to the king of Parthia. The country was similarly independent in the time of the Persians, and afterwards in the time of the Macedonians, who governed Syria. When Antiochus the Great attempted to plunder the temple of Belus, the neighbouring barbarians, unassisted, attacked and put him to death.
3 Polybios, Histories (the Loeb edition), 4.51: ... for Andromachus was Achaeus’ (Achaios’) father and brother of Laodice the wife of Seleucus (Seleukos II).
Polybios, Histories (the Macmillan edition), 4.51: For Andromachus was not only father of Achaeus (Achaios), but brother also of Laodice, the wife of Seleucus (Seleukos II).
Polybios, Histories (the Loeb edition), 8.20: For Achaeus (Achaios) was the son of Andromachus the brother of Laodice the wife of Seleucus (of Seleukos II); he had married Laodice the daughter of King Mithridates (Mithridates II), ...
Polybios, Histories (the Macmillan edition), 8.22: For here was Achaeus (Achaios), a son of Andromachus, the brother of Seleucus’s (of Seleukos II) queen Laodice, and married to Laodice, a daughter of King Mithridates (Mithridates II), ...
Note that these English translations of the passage 8.20/8.22 (the Loeb and the Macmillan edition, respectively) suggest that Andromachos was the father of Laodike, the wife of Seleukos II. However, according to Passehl, personal communication, the original text is explicit that Andromachos was the father of Achaios and the brother of Laodike.
Note also that Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 5 - Achaios (1) and p. 8 - Andromachos, also states that Achaios was a nephew of Laodike, the wife of Seleukos II, but he is shown as her brother in Table 1 on p. 820.
4 These dates are taken from Houghton and Lorber, Seleucid Coins, A Comprehensive Catalogue. Part I, Vol. 1, p. 347 (they refer to John Ma, Antiochos III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor, Oxford, 1999). According to Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 5 - Achaios (1), he reigned as King from 221 to 213 BC. Green, Alexander to Actium, pp. 293 and 734, gives him the regnal period from 220 to 213 BC.
5 Originally called Alexander, he took the name Seleukos on becoming king.
Eusebius, Chronicle, pp. 253-254: Seleucus Callinicus (Seleukos II), the brother of Antigonus (perhaps a personal name of Antiochos Hierax before he assumed the diadem), died in the next year, and was succeeded by his son Alexander, who adopted the name Seleucus, and was called Ceraunus by his army.
6 Polybios, Histories (the Loeb edition), 8.23: When Xerxes was king of the city of Armosata, which lies near the “Fair Plain” between the Euphrates and Tigris, Antiochus (Antiochos III), encamping before this city, undertook its siege. Xerxes, when he saw the king’s strength, at first conveyed himself away, but after a short time fearing lest, if his palace were occupied by the enemy, the rest of his dominions would be thrown into a state of disturbance, he regretted this step and sent a message to Antiochus proposing a conference. The most trusty of Antiochus’ friends advised him not to let him go, but to make himself master of the city and bestow the sovereignty on Mithridates his own sister’s son. The king, however, paid no attention to them, but sent for the young man and composed their differences, remitting the greater part of the sum which his father had still owed for tribute. Receiving from him a present payment of three hundred talents, a thousand horses, and a thousand mules with their trappings, he restored all his dominions to him and by giving his sister (a correction of the Loeb edition which has “daughter”) Antiochis in marriage conciliated and attached to himself all the inhabitants of the district, who considered that he had acted in a truly royal and magnanimous manner.
Polybios, Histories (the Macmillan edition), 8.25: In the reign of Xerxes, prince of the city of Armosata, situated on the “Fair Plain,” between the Tigris and Euphrates, King Antiochus (Antiochos III) encamped under its walls and prepared to attack it. When he saw the king’s forces, Xerxes at first conveyed himself away; but feeling afterwards that, if his palace were seized by his enemies, his whole kingdom would be overthrown, he changed his mind, and sent a message to Antiochus declaring his wish for a conference. The most loyal of the friends of Antiochus were against letting the young prince go when they once got him into their hands, and advised Antiochus to take possession of the town, and hand over the principality to Mithridates, his own sister’s son. The king, however, would not listen to any of these suggestions; but sent for the young prince and accommodated their differences, forgiving him the larger part of the money which he allowed to be owing from his father under the head of tribute, and accepting a present payment from him of three hundred talents, a thousand horses, and a thousand mules with their trappings. He then settled the government of the city, and gave the prince his sister Antiochis as a wife. By these proceedings, in which he was thought to have acted with true royal magnanimity, he won the affection and support of all the inhabitants of that part of the country.
7 Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 8 - Antiochis (2) (he refers to John of Antioch, FHG iv, 557)
8 Polybios, Histories (the Loeb edition), 5.43.1-4: He (Antiochos III) was now near Seleucia, the city at the crossing of the Euphrates (Seleukeia-Zeugma, i.e. Seleukeia “the Bridge”), and there he was joined by Diognetus, the admiral from Cappadocia Pontica, bringing Laodice (Laodike III), the daughter of Mithridates (Mithridates II), a virgin, the affianced bride of the king. Mithridates claimed to be a descendant of one of those seven Persians who had killed the Magus, and he had preserved in his family the kingdom on the Pontus originally granted to them by Darius (Darius the Great). Antiochus received the maiden on her approach with all due pomp and at once celebrated his nuptials with right royal magnificence. After the wedding was over he went down to Antioch, where he proclaimed Laodice queen and henceforth busied himself with preparations for the war.
Polybios, Histories (the Macmillan edition), 5.43.1-4: While this was going on, Antiochus (Antiochos III) happened to be at Seleucia, on the Zeugma (Seleukeia-Zeugma, i.e. Seleukeia “the Bridge”), when the Navarchus Diognetus arrived from Cappadocia, on the Euxine, bringing Laodice (Laodike III), the daughter of king Mithridates (Mithridates II), an unmarried girl, destined to be the king’s wife. This Mithridates boasted of being a descendant of one of the seven Persians who killed the Magus, and he had maintained the sovereignty handed down from his ancestors, as it had been originally given to them by Darius (Darius the Great) along the shore of the Euxine. Having gone to meet the princess with all due pomp and splendour, Antiochus immediately celebrated his nuptials with royal magnificence. The marriage having been completed, he went to Antioch; and after proclaiming Laodice queen, devoted himself thenceforth to making preparation for the war.
9 Polybios, Histories (the Loeb edition), 20.8.1-5: Antiochus (Antiochos III), surnamed the Great, he whom the Romans overthrew, upon reaching Chalcis, as Polybius tells us in his 20th Book, celebrated his wedding. He was then fifty years old, and had undertaken two very serious tasks, one being the liberation of Greece, as he himself gave out, the other a war with Rome. He fell in love, then, with a maiden of Chalcis at the time of the war, and was most eager to make her his wife, being himself a wine-bibber and fond of getting drunk. She was the daughter of Cleoptolemus, a noble Chalcidian, and of surpassing beauty. So celebrating his wedding at Chalcis, he spent the whole winter there not giving a moment’s thought to the situation of affairs. He gave the girl the name Euboea, and when defeated in the war fled to Ephesus with his bride.
Polybios, Histories (the Macmillan edition), 20.8.1-5: Antiochus the Great (Antiochos III) came to Chalcis in Euboea, and there completed his marriage, when he was fifty years old, and had already undertaken his two most important labours, the liberation of Greece – as he called it – and the war with Rome. However, having fallen in love with a young lady of Chalcis, he was bent on marrying her, though the war was still going on; for he was much addicted to wine and delighted in excesses. The lady was a daughter of Cleoptolemus, a man of rank, and was possessed of extraordinary beauty. He remained in Chalcis all the winter occupied in marriage festivities, utterly regardless of the pressing business of the time. He gave the girl the name of Euboea, and after his defeat fled with his bride to Ephesus.
Appian, Syriake 16: ... Antiochus (Antiochos III) thought that Baebius and Philip had arrived, and became panic-stricken, abandoned the siege on a pretext of bad weather, and retreated to Chalcis. There he fell in love with a pretty girl, and, although he was above fifty years of age and was supporting the burden of so great a war, he celebrated his nuptials with her, gave a public festival, and allowed his army to spend the whole winter in idleness and luxury.
Appian, Syriake 20: ... The king himself (Antiochos III), at the first sign of defeat, fled precipitately with 500 horse as far as Elateia, and from Elateia to Chalcis, and thence to Ephesus with his bride Euboea, as he called her, with his ships; ...
Livy, The History of Rome, 36.11.1-2: The king (Antiochos III) left Demetrias for Chalcis. Here he fell in love with a daughter of Cleoptolemus, a Chalcidian magnate, and after numerous communications to her father followed by personal interviews (for he was reluctant to be entangled in an alliance so far above his own rank) Antiochus married the girl. The wedding was celebrated as though it were a time of peace, and forgetting the two vast enterprises in which he had embarked - war with Rome and the liberation of Greece - he dismissed all his cares and spent the rest of the winter in banquets and the pleasures attendant on wine, sleeping off his debauches, wearied rather than satisfied.
10 Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, suggests the following order of birth of Antiochos III’s children (he excludes Ardys, see footnote 18):
- Antiochos, b. in 220 BC
- Laodike, b. in 219 or 221 BC
- Kleopatra I, b. in 219/8 BC
- Antiochis, b. in 218/7 BC
- possible daughter (unknown name), b. in 217 BC
- Seleukos IV, b. in 216/5 BC
- Antiochos IV (Mithridates), b. in 212 BC
- Nysa (?), b. in 211 BC
- possible daughter (unknown name), b. in 210 or in 203/2 BC
11 Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 26 – Antiochos (2): 221 BC; Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 5: 220 BC.
12 Appian, Syriake 5: ... There (at Seleukeia in Pieria) he (Antiochos III) celebrated the nuptials of his children, Antiochus and Laodice, whom he had joined together in marriage.
13 Probably at the beginning of 192 BC, between January and the earlier days of March. (Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 5; he refers to Giuseppe Del Monte, Testi dalla Babilonia Ellenistica. Volume I: Testi Cronografici. Pisa - Roma, 1997)
14 Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 6
15 According to Babylonian documents, Antiochos III appears sole sovereign from 18 March 192 BC to 9 February 189 BC. The first attestation of the co-regency of Antiochos III and Seleukos IV is an Astronomical Diary dated 1-10 Nisan 123 BC (= 25 March - 3 April 189 BC). (Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 6; Lucherini, personal communication; he refers to Giuseppe Del Monte, Testi dalla Babilonia Ellenistica. Volume I: Testi Cronografici. Pisa - Roma, 1997)
16 According to Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 22, he was originally probably called Mithridates in his youth after his maternal grandfather (Antiochos III’s son called Mithridates is mentioned by Livy, The History of Rome, 39.19); the death of his eldest brother Antiochos in 193 BC presumably permitted the change of name. Bennett, Egyptian Royal Genealogy: Cleopatra I, discusses Ogden’s suggestions (D. Ogden, Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death: The Hellenistic Dynasties. Duckworth, with The Classical Press of Wales, London, 1999) that this Mithridates was not identical with Antiochos IV.
Livy, The History of Rome, 33.19.8-10: During the previous summer (197 BC) Antiochus (Antiochos III) had reduced all the cities in Coelo-Syria which had been under Ptolemy’s sway (Ptolemy V), and though he had now withdrawn into winter quarters he displayed as great activity as he had done during the summer. He had called up the whole strength of his kingdom and had amassed enormous forces, both military and naval. At the commencement of spring he had sent his two sons, Ardys and Mithridates, with an army to Sardis with instructions to wait for him there whilst he started by sea with a fleet of a hundred decked ships and two hundred smaller vessels, including swift pinnaces and Cyprian barques.
17 Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 7
18 Ardys is only attested in a passage of Livy (The History of Rome, 33.19, see footnote 16). According to Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 10, either this is Livy’s mistake or the text is corrupted.
19 Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 6. According to Bennett, Egyptian Royal Genealogy: Cleopatra I, she was born in the period c. 219 - c. 212 BC.
20 Nearly all information about Kleopatra I is taken from Bennett, Egyptian Royal Genealogy: Cleopatra I.
21 Nysa is noted only on an inscription at Delos and her identity is not certain. She was probably the daughter of either Antiochos III or Antiochos IV, see Lucherini, The Children of Antiochos III, p. 9. Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 52, attributes her to Antiochos IV. Lucheriny (ibid) prefers Antiochos III based on another dating of the inscription (Steven V. Tracy, Attic Letter-Cutters of 229-86 BC. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1990).
22 Polybios, Histories (the Loeb edition), 11.39.8-9: Teleas went backwards and forwards more than once to both kings (Antiochos III and Euthydemos I), and finally Euthydemus (Euthydemos I) sent off his son Demetrius (Demetrios I) to ratify the agreement. Antiochus (Antiochos III), on receiving the young man and judging him from his appearance, conversation, and dignity of bearing to be worthy of royal rank, in the first place promised to give him one of his daughters in marriage and next gave permission to his father to style himself king.
Polybios, Histories (the Macmillan edition), 11.39.8-9: And after several journeys of Teleas to and fro between the two (Antiochos III and Euthydemos I), Euthydemus (Euthydemos I) at last sent his son Demetrius (Demetrios I) to confirm the terms of the treaty. Antiochus (Antiochos III) received the young prince; and judging from his appearance, conversation, and the dignity of his manners that he was worthy of royal power, he first promised to give him one of his own daughters, and secondly conceded the royal title to his father.
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