Seleukos VI

Founded 27-Jul-2003
Last update 26-Apr-2006

Genealogy Biography References


Ruler: Seleukos VI Epiphanes Nikator (“Seleukos, the Illustrious Victor”), Seleukid King, born c. 124 - 112/1 BC, reigned 97/6 - 94 BC, died 94 BC (died in Mopsuhestia during an uprising against him)
Father: Antiochos VIII Epiphanes Philometor Kallinikos, Seleukid King, born c. 142 BC (son of Demetrios II Nikator, Seleukid King, and Kleopatra Thea Eueteria, Queen of the Seleukid Empire), reigned 126/5 - 97/6 BC, died 97/6 BC (killed by one of his generals, Herakleon)
Mother: Tryphaina (alternative spelling Tryphaena),1 Queen of the Seleukid Empire, born c. 141/0 BC (daughter of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Tryphon, called Physcon or Kakergetes, King of Egypt, and Kleopatra III Euergetis, Queen of Egypt), married Antiochos VIII in 124 BC (as his first wife), died 112/1 or 110/9 BC (executed by Antiochos IX Philopator, Seleukid King)
Siblings: (Tryphaina was probably the mother of all children of Antiochos VIII.2)
  (1) Antiochos XI Epiphanes Philadelphos (twin of Philip I), Seleukid King, born c. 124 - 112/1 BC, reigned c. 94/3 BC, died c. 94/3 BC (drawned while fording the river Orontes after his defeat by Antiochos X)
  (2) Philip I Epiphanes Philadelphos (twin of Antiochos XI), Seleukid King, born c. 124 - 112/1 BC, reigned 93 - 83 BC, died c. 83 BC (probably of natural causes)
  (3) Demetrios III Theos Philopator Soter, Seleukid King, born c. 124 - 112/1 BC, reigned 97/6 - 88/7 BC (defeated and captured by the Parthians), died later in the comfortable Parthian captivity by sickness
  (4) Antiochos XII Dionysos Epiphanes Philopator Kallinikos, Seleukid King, born c. 124 - 112/1 BC (the youngest son), reigned 87/6 - 83/2 BC, died 83/2 BC (killed in battle with the Arabs)
  (5) Laodike Thea, wife of Mithridates I Kallinikos, King of Commagene3


In 97/6 BC, Antiochos VIII was assassinated by his war minister Herakleon4 in an abortive coup. His half-brother and long-term enemy, Antiochos IX, took control of Antioch (his third reign in Antioch) and married Antiochos VIII’s widow, Kleopatra II Selene. However, his former ally Ptolemy Lathyros5 now deserted him and installed Demetrios III, the fourth son of Antiochos VIII, as king of Coele-Syria in Damaskos.6 Simultaneously, the eldest son of Antiochos VIII, Seleukos VI, assumed the diadem. His base was at Seleukeia on the Kalykadnos in Cilicia. Subsequently, he marched on Antiochos IX. Antiochos IX was defeated near Antioch in 95 BC and he either committed suicide to escape imprisonment or was executed. Seleukos VI captured Antioch for a short time. Antiochos X, the only son of Antiochos IX, proclaimed himself king at Arados. He married Kleopatra II Selene (the ex-wife of both of his father Antiochos IX and his uncle Antiochos VIII) and he defeated Seleukos VI (c. 94 BC) and drove him out from Antioch. Seleukos VI fled from Syria to Mopsuhestia in Cilicia and died a short time afterwards.7


1 Greek: Τρυφαινα. Bennett, Egyptian Royal Genealogy: Tryphaena, notes that she is “usually called Cleopatra Tryphaena in modern sources, although there is no ancient justification for this”.

2 Tryphaina was certainly the mother of Antiochos XI and Philip I and presumably the mother of Seleukos VI, Demetrios III, Antiochos XII and Laodike Thea. It is possible that Antiochos VIII had a second wife in the near-decade between the death of Tryphaina and his marriage to Kleopatra Selene in 103/2 BC but there is no evidence for it. (Bennett, Egyptian Royal Genealogy: Tryphaena, Cleopatra Selene)

3 See Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 48 - Laodike (8). Their son, Antiochos I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes Philorhomaios Philhellen, was the builder of the Nemrud monument (see, e.g., the website of The International Nemrud Foundation).

4 Herakleon was a senior figure at the court of Antiochos VIII, who held a military office, and exercised a strict discipline. He unsuccessfully attempted to seize the throne and probably died in the failure. His son Dionysios became tyrant of Bambyke, Beroia and Herakleia in the 80s BC. (Grainger, A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer, p. 92 - Herakleon, p. 647 - Dionysios (1))

Kidd, Posidonius, Volume 3, p. 139, F75 = Jacoby FGrH 87 F24 (at Athenaios of Naukratis, Deipnosophistai, Bk. 4.153B-C): In his account also about Heracleon of Beroea, the man who after advancement from King Antiochus Grypus (Antiochos VIII), almost drove his benefactor from his kingdom, [Posidonius] writes in Bk XXXIV of his History the following: ‘When feeding his army, he made the men lie on the ground in the open air in battalions of 1000. The meal consisted of a large loaf, meat, ordinary wine diluted with cold water, all served by men wearing their swords. Strict silence was observed.’

5 Ptolemy IX Soter II (nicknamed Lathyros), king of Egypt: born 143/2 BC (son of Ptolemy VIII by Cleopatra III), co-ruler of Egypt from 116 to 107 BC, expelled by Cleopatra III and replaced by Ptolemy X in 107 BC, took control of Cyprus in 105 BC, recalled to Alexandria to replace Ptolemy X in 88 BC, died 81 BC.

6 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 13.370: ... Ptolemy Lathyrus sent for his (Philip I’s) fourth brother Demetrius (Demetrios III), who was called Eucerus, from Cnidus, and made him king of Damascus.

His first tetradrachms there are dated 216 SE = 97/6 BC, see, e.g., Houghton, CSE, 858, and SNG Spaer, 2825.

7 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 13.365-368: About this very time Antiochus (Antiochos VIII), who was called Grypus, died. His death was caused by Heracleon’s treachery, when he had lived forty-five years, and had reigned twenty-nine. His son Seleucus (Seleukos VI) succeeded him in the kingdom, and made war with Antiochus (Antiochos IX), his father’s brother, who was called Antiochus Cyzicenus, and beat him, and took him prisoner, and slew him. But after a while Antiochus (Antiochos X), the son of Cyzicenus, who was called Pius, came to Aradus, and put the diadem on his own head, and made war with Seleucus (Seleukos VI), and beat him, and drove him out of all Syria. But when he fled out of Syria, he came to Mopsuestia again, and levied money upon them; but the people of Mopsuestin had indignation at what he did, and burnt down his palace, and slew him, together with his friends.

Appian, Roman History, 11.69: Then Seleucus (Seleukos VI), the son of Grypus (Antiochos VIII), made war on his uncle (Antiochos IX) and took the government away from him. The new sovereign was violent and tyrannical and was burned to death in the gymnasium at the city of Mopsus in Cilicia. Antiochus (Antiochos X), the son of Cyzicenus (Antiochos IX), succeeded him.

Eusebius, Chronicle, pp. 259-261: After Antiochus Grypus (Antiochos VIII) died at the time which was stated above, his son Seleucus (Seleukos VI) came with an army and captured many cities. Antiochus Cyzicenus (Antiochos IX) brought an army from Antioch, but was defeated in a battle; his horse carried him off towards the enemy, and when they were about to capture him, he drew his sword and killed himself. So Seleucus gained control of the whole kingdom, and captured Antioch. But the surviving son of Cyzicenus (Antiochos X) began a war against Seleucus. When their armies met at the city called Mopsuestia in Cilicia, the victory went to Antiochus (Antiochos X). Seleucus fled to the city, but when he learnt that the inhabitants intended to burn him alive, he hastened to commit suicide.

Porphyry, Chronika, 23-24: At the aforementioned time when Antiochos Grypos (Antiochos VIII) died, his son, Seleukos (Seleukos VI), coming with a large force attacked the city (Antioch). Antiochos Kyzikenos (Antiochos IX), leading forth an army from Antioch, and drawing up in battle-order, was defeated. Being carried by his horse towards the enemy and not wishing to be arrested, he killed himself. Seleukos, being master of the kingdom, captured Antioch. Antiochos (Antiochos X), being the son of Kyzikenos, made war against him. After a battle took place around a city called Mopsouestia, Antiochos was victorious. Seleukos, upon fleeing to the city and learning that the inhabitants were resolved to burn him alive, killed himself first.


Appian:Roman History, Book XI - The Syrian Wars. Translated by Horace White. Macmillan and Co., New York, 1899. (The Perseus Digital Library,;,
Bennett, Christopher J.:Egyptian Royal Genealogy. Website,
Bellinger, Alfred R.:The End of the Seleucids. Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 38, June 1949, pp. 51 - 102. New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Eusebius of Caesarea:Chronicle (Latin Schoene ed.). Translated into English by Andrew Smith. (Attalus,
Grainger, John D.:A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer. Brill, Leiden - New York - Köln, 1997.
Green, Peter:Alexander to Actium. University of California Press, Berkeley - Los Angeles, 1990.
Houghton, Arthur:Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton. The American Numismatic Society, New York, 1983. (abbr. CSE)
Houghton, Arthur; Spaer, Arnold (with the assistance of Catharine Lorber):Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. Israel I. The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins. Italo Vecchi Ltd., London, 1998. (abbr. SNG Spaer)
Josephus, Flavius:Antiquities of the Jews. Translated by William Whiston. John E. Beardsley, Auburn - Buffalo, 1895. (The Perseus Digital Library,
Kidd, I. G. (Editor):Posidonius. Volume 3, The Translation of the Fragments. Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Porphyry of Tyre:Chronika (Greek fragments; Thesaurus Linguae Graecae). Translated into English by Oliver D. Hoover (published at Oliver D. Hoover’s website