Antiochus III the Great

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Antiochus III the Great (Greek: Ἀντίoχoς Μέγας; ca. 241–187 BC, ruled 222–187 BC), younger son of Seleucus II Callinicus, became the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire as a youth of about eighteen in 223 BC. Ascending the throne at young age, Antiochus was an ambitious ruler. Although his early attempts in war against the Ptolemaic Kingdom were unsuccessful, in the following years of conquest Antiochus proved himself as the most successful Seleucid King after Seleucus I himself. His traditional designation, the Great, reflects an epithet he briefly assumed after his Eastern Campaign (it appears in regnal formulas at Amyzon in 203 and 202 BC, but not later). Antiochos also assumed the title "Megas Basileus" (which is Greek for "Great King"), the traditional title of the Persian kings, which he adopted after his conquest of Coele Syria.


Early years

Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Not only had Asia Minor become detached, but the easternmost provinces had broken away, Bactria under the Greek Diodotus of Bactria, 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, under the baneful influence of the minister Hermeias, authorised an attack on Ptolemaic Syria instead of going in person to face the rebels. The attack against Egypt of the Ptolemies proved a fiasco, and the generals sent against Molon and Alexander met with disaster. Only in Asia Minor, where the king's cousin, the able Achaeus represented the Seleucid cause, did its prestige recover, driving the Pergamene power back to its earlier limits.

In 221 BC Antiochus at last went east, and the rebellion of Molon and Alexander collapsed which Polybios attributes in part to his following the advice of Zeuxis ‎ rather than Hermeias.[1] 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 BC). 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 an attack on Syria, Antiochus considered that he might leave Achaeus for the present and renew his attempt on Ptolemaic Syria.

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