Seleucid Empire

CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı


Seleucid Empire

  Seleucid Empire (312-63 BC)


  • 306’da Seleucus öteki Ardılların yaptığı gibi ‘kral’ sanını aldı
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📹 Seleucid Empire (VİDEO)

Seleucid Empire (LINK)


📹 History of the Seleucid Empire (VİDEO)

📹 History of the Seleucid Empire (LINK)

The Seleucid Empire was one of the largest successor states to Alexander the Greats Macedonian Empire. Discover more about this ancient Empire!



🗺️ Mediterranean at 218 BC

Mediterranean at 218 BC (W)


🗺️ World in 300 BCE

World in 300 BCE (W)


🗺️ Hellenistic World in 300 BCE

Hellenistic World in 300 BCE (W)



Seleucid Empire

Seleucid Empire (312-63 BC) (W)

Seleucid Empire (MAPS)

Seleucia (305-240 BC)
Antioch (240-63 BC)
Languages Greek (official), Persian, Aramaic
Religion Olympianism, Babylonian religion, Zoroastrianism
Government Monarchy
• 305-281 BC Seleucus I (first)
• 65-63 BC Philip II (last)

Historical era Hellenistic period
• Wars of the Diadochi 312 BC
• Battle of Ipsus 301 BC
• Roman-Seleucid War 192-188 BC
• Treaty of Apamea 188 BC
• Maccabean Revolt 167-160 BC
• Annexed by Rome 63 BC

Preceded by
Macedonian Empire

Succeeded by
Province of Syria
Parthian Empire
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Hasmonean kingdom

The Seleucid Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, Basileía tōn Seleukidōn) was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty, which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC; Seleucus I Nicator founded it following the division of the Macedonian Empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great. Seleucus received Babylonia(321 BC), and from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan.

The Seleucid Empire became a major center of Hellenistic culture – it maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated, mostly in the urban areas. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece. Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece halted abruptly in the early 2nd century BC after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Seleucid attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands. Having come into conflict in the East (305 BC) with Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire, Seleucus I entered into an agreement with Chandragupta whereby he ceded vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan and offered his daughter in marriage to the Maurya Emperor to formalize the alliance.

Antiochus III the Great attempted to project Seleucid power and authority into Hellenistic Greece, but his attempts were thwarted by the Roman Republic and by Greek allies such as the Kingdom of Pergamon, culminating in a Seleucid defeat at the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia. In the subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, the Seleucids were compelled to pay costly war reparations and relinquished claims to territories west of the Taurus Mountains. The Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia conquered much of the remaining eastern part of the Seleucid Empire in the mid-2nd century BC, while the independent Greco-Bactrian Kingdom continued to flourish in the northeast. However, the Seleucid kings continued to rule a rump state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 BC and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompeyin 63 BC.


Seleucus I Nicator

Seleucus I Nicator (W)

Bust of Seleucus I Nicator (358-281 BC).

Seleucus I Nicator
(c. 358 BC - September 281 BC; Ancient Greek: Σέλευκος Α΄ Νικάτωρ Séleukos Α΄ Nikátōr; "Seleucus the Victor") was one of the Diadochi. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of the territory in the Near East which Alexander had conquered.

After the death of Alexander in June 323 BC, Seleucus initially supported Perdiccas, the regent of Alexander's empire, and was appointed Commander of the Companions and chiliarch at the Partition of Babylon in 323 BC. However, after the outbreak of the Wars of the Diadochi in 322, Perdiccas' military failures against Ptolemy in Egypt led to the mutiny of his troops in Pelusium. Perdiccas was betrayed and assassinated in a conspiracy by Seleucus, Peithon and Antigenes in Pelusium sometime in either 321 or 320 BC. At the Partition of Triparadisus in 321 BC, Seleucus was appointed Satrap of Babylon under the new regent Antipater. But almost immediately, the wars between the Diadochi resumed and Antigonus forced Seleucus to flee Babylon. Seleucus was only able to return to Babylon in 312 BC with the support of Ptolemy. From 312 BC, Seleucus ruthlessly expanded his dominions and eventually conquered the Persian and Median lands. Seleucus ruled not only Babylonia, but the entire enormous eastern part of Alexander’s empire.

Seleucus' wars took him as far as India, where, after two years of war (305-303 BC), he was defeated by the armies of the Maurya Empire and made peace by marrying his daughter to king Chandragupta, whereupon he was rewarded a considerable force of 500 war elephants, which would play a decisive role against Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC and against Lysimachus at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. Seleucus' victories against Antigonus and Lysimachus left the Seleucid dynasty virtually unopposed in Asia and in Anatolia. However, Seleucus also hoped to take control of Lysimachus' European territories, primarily Thrace and Macedon itself. But upon arriving in Thrace in 281 BC, Seleucus was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus, who had taken refuge at the Seleucid court with his sister Lysandra. The assassination of Seleucus destroyed Seleucid prospects in Thrace and Macedon, and paved the way for Ptolemy Ceraunus to absorb much of Lysimachus' former power in Macedon. Seleucus was succeeded by his son Antiochus I as ruler of the Seleucid empire.

Seleucus founded a number of new cities during his reign, including Antioch (300 BC) and in particular Seleucia on the Tigris (c. 305 BC), the new capital of the Seleucid Empire, a foundation that eventually depopulated Babylon.



Antiochus I Soter

Antiochus I Soter (W)

Antiochus I Soter (Ἀντίοχος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour"; c. 324/3 - 2 June 261 BC), was a king of the Hellenic Seleucid Empire. He succeeded his father Seleucus I Nicator in 281 BC and reigned until his death on 2 June 261 BC.

Antiochus I was half Sogdian, his mother Apama, daughter of Spitamenes, being one of the eastern princesses whom Alexander the Great had given as wives to his generals in 324 BC.

The Seleucids fictitiously claimed that Apama was the alleged daughter of Darius III, in order to legitimise themselves as the inheritors of both the Achaemenids and Alexander, and therefore the rightful lords of western and central Asia.

In 294 BC, prior to the death of his father Seleucus I, Antiochus married his stepmother, Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. His elderly father reportedly instigated the marriage after discovering that his son was in danger of dying of lovesickness. Stratonice bore five children to Antiochus: Seleucus (he was executed for rebellion), Laodice, Apama II, Stratonice of Macedon and Antiochus II Theos, who succeeded his father as king.

On the assassination of his father in 281 BC, the task of holding together the empire was a formidable one. A revolt in Syria broke out almost immediately. Antiochus was soon compelled to make peace with his father's murderer, Ptolemy Keraunos, apparently abandoning Macedonia and Thrace. In Anatolia he was unable to reduce Bithynia or the Persian dynasties that ruled in Cappadocia.

and a In 278 BC the Gauls broke into Anatolia,victory that Antiochus won over these Gauls by using Indian war elephants (275 BC) is said to have been the origin of his title of Soter (Greek for "saviour").

At the end of 275 BC the question of Coele-Syria, which had been open between the houses of Seleucus and Ptolemy since the partition of 301 BC, led to hostilities (the First Syrian War). It had been continuously in Ptolemaic occupation, but the house of Seleucus maintained its claim. War did not materially change the outlines of the two kingdoms, though frontier cities like Damascus and the coast districts of Asia Minor might change hands.

In 268 BC Antiochus I laid the foundation for the Ezida Temple in Borsippa. His eldest son Seleucus had ruled in the east as viceroy from c. 275 BC until 268/267 BC; Antiochus put his son to death in the latter year on the charge of rebellion. Around 262 BC Antiochus tried to break the growing power of Pergamum by force of arms, but suffered defeat near Sardis and died soon afterwards. He was succeeded in 261 BC by his second son Antiochus II Theos.

Antiochus and Stratonica (1774), Jacques-Louis David, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.



Antioch (W)

Map of Antiochia — capital of Roman Palestine.

Antioch on the Orontes (Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou; also Syrian Antioch) was an ancient Greek city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. Its ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, and lends the modern city its name.

Antioch was founded near the end of the fourth century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals. The city's geographical, military, and economic location benefited its occupants, particularly such features as the spice trade, the Silk Road, and the Royal Road. It eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East. the city was the capital of the Seleucid Dynasty until 63 B.C. when the Romans took control. They made it the seat of the Roman governor. From the early 4th century the city was the seat of the count of the Orient (the title of this vicar of the praetorian prefects), head of the regional administration of sixteen provinces. It was also the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch was one of the most important in the eastern Mediterranean area of Rome's dominions.

The Tyche (Fortune) of Antioch. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Eutychides of the 3rd century BC. (LINK) (LINK2)

Antioch was called “the cradle of Christianity” as a result of its longevity and the pivotal role that it played in the emergence of both Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity. The Christian New Testament asserts that the name “Christian” first emerged in Antioch. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis, and its residents were known as Antiochenes. The city was a metropolis of a quarter million people during Augustan times, but it declined to relative insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes, and a change in trade routes, which no longer passed through Antioch from the far east following the Mongol invasions and conquests.

Corvinus University of Budapest, west facade, Demeter, Hermes, Tykhe statues, 2016 Budapest. (LINK)





Galatia (W)

Asia Minor in the Greco-Roman period (332-395 AD)

Ancient Galatia (Γαλατία, Galatía, "Gaul") was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia (Ankara, Çorum, Yozgat Province) in modern Turkey. Galatia was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace (cf. Tylis), who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the "Gallia" of the East, Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli (Gauls or Celts).




💣 Roman-Seleucid War

Roman-Seleucid War (192-188 BC) (W)

Greece and the Aegean on the eve of the Second Macedonian War (200 BC)

The Seleucid War (192-188 BC), also known as the War of Antiochos or the Syrian War, was a military conflict between two coalitions led by the Roman Republic and the Seleucid Empire. The fighting took place in Greece, the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor.

The war was the consequence of a "cold war" between both powers, which had started in 196 BC. In this period Romans and Seleucids had tried to settle spheres of influence by making alliances with the Greek minor powers.

The fighting ended with a clear Roman victory. In the Treaty of Apamea the Seleucids were forced to give up Asia Minor, which fell to Roman allies. As a main result of the war the Roman Republic gained hegemony over Greece and Asia Minor, and became the only remaining major power around the Mediterranean Sea.


The Aegean world at the outbreak of the war in 192 BC.
Seleucid Empire and allies
Roman Republic and allies
Neutral states

Territorial changes resulting from the Peace of Apamea.

The Peace of Apamea
The battle was disastrous for the Seleucids, and Antiochus was forced to come to terms. Amongst the terms of the Treaty of Apamea, Antiochus had to pay 15,000 talents (450 tonnes) of silver as a war indemnity, and he was forced to abandon his territory west of the Taurus Mountains. Rhodes gained control over Caria and Lycia, while the Pergamese gained northern Lycia and all of Antiochus' other territories in Asia Minor.


💣 Seleucid-Mauryan war

Seleucid-Mauryan war (305-303 BC) (W)

Alexander the Great's Satrapies in Northern India.

The Seleucid-Mauryan War was fought between 305 and 303 BCE. It started due to the occupation of the Indian satrapies of the Macedonian Empire by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, of the Maurya Empire. Seleucus I Nicator, of the Seleucid Empire, sought to retake those territories.

The war ended in a settlement resulting in the annexation the Indus Valley region and perhaps Afghanistan to the Mauryan Empire, with Chandragupta securing control over the areas that he had sought, and a marriage alliance between the two powers. After the war, the Mauryan Empire emerged as the dominant power of the Indian Subcontinent.

Date 305-303 BC
Location Northwestern India; Chiefly the Indus River Valley
Result Decisive Mauryan Victory
Maurya Empire
Seleucid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Chandragupta Maurya, Chanakya
Seleucus I Nicator
Maurya Empire ~600,000 Infantry, ~9,000 Elephants
Seleucid Empire ~30,000 Cavalry

Chandragupta Maurya's Empire circa 320 BCE. His dynasty would later control the vast majority of India



💣 Battle of Magnesia

Battle of Magnesia (190 BC) (W)

The Battle of Magnesia was the concluding battle of the Roman-Seleucid War, fought in 190 BC near Magnesia ad Sipylum on the plains of Lydia between Romans, led by the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio and the Roman ally Eumenes II of Pergamum, and the army of Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid Empire. A decisive Roman victory resulted in Roman domination over the internal affairs of a large part of the territory once controlled by the Seleucid Empire.

The main historical sources for this battle are Livy and Appian.



📹 Battle of Magnesia 190 BC Roman-Seleucid (VİDEO)

Battle of Magnesia 190 BC / Roman-Seleucid War (LINK)



Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis

Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis (LINK)

Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis

Sammu-Ramat is thought to have lived around the transition period from the 9th century to the 8th century BCE, with her heyday approximately from 811-806 BCE. She was the wife of one Assyrian King and the mother of the next. In this, Sammu-Ramat is not very different from other powerful women leaders who existed both before and after her. For example, Queen Tiye or Tiy (lived in the 14th century BCE), also gained great power and influence in her country by being an extremely shrewd adviser and asset to her husband (Amenhotep III) and her son (Akhenaten) in Egypt. Though numerous other women reached incredible heights of power in the ancient world, few could match Sammu-Ramat in her most impressive feat. She reigned supreme in her (likely unintentional) creation of a cult of personality that, after death, raised her to godhood and distributed her legend out of Assyria and into neighboring regions.

Sammu-Ramat was made into a widespread legend under the name Semiramis, but even so, the actual living and breathing woman at the heart of it all remains fairly obscure. As her legend and cult grew, her story transitioned from history, to mythology, and eventually resembled a tall-tale. The facts, as far as historians and archeologists have been able to accurately uncover, should be clearly noted before moving from the human Queen Sammu-Ramat, to the mythological goddess, Semiramis. For full disclosure, some deny that Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis are related, but the majority believes that Sammu-Ramat served as either the archetype, or a significant inspiration, of the legendary Semiramis.

Sammu-Ramat began her rise to power at the start of Assyria’s long-awaited ascendance to dominance. She was wed to the Assyrian King Shamshi-Adad V (ruled approximately 823-811 BCE). Her husband ruled in a difficult time; his reign began after a civil war between his own father and brother. The Assyrian Kingdom was not stable, and Shamshi-Adad gladly accepted any advise that Sammu-Ramat provided. Queen Sammu-Ramat gladly took the opportunity to aid and influence the governing of the Assyrian Kingdom. She was reported to have been very active in her husband’s court. She participated in government and religious ceremony, court and even accompanied the Assyrian military on campaigns. The scale of her involvement in these government activities was never described in depth, but most sources imply that she was heavily involved in the governance of Assyria during her husband’s kingship.

Shamshi-Adad died around 811 BCE, and the Assyrian crown passed to the heir, Adad-Nirari III, who would lead an effective rule from 811-783 BCE. In 811, however, Adad-Nirari was too young to govern the kingdom. While the young king matured, Queen Sammu-Ramat was able to seize the position as regent ruler of the Assyrian people. She was able to maintain her authority and keep the kingdom stable until her son took the throne. Most historians propose two possible theories of Sammu-Ramat’s success; the Assyrians either both respected and admired her, or they were deathly afraid of her. The route of admiration and respect seems likeliest based on the facts that Sammu-Ramat was a trusted adviser to the late king, and had maintained a constant presence in court, ceremony and military campaigns.

As a regent, Queen Sammu-Ramat did not dawdle. She had no intention of simply waiting for the young king to grow old enough to rule. No, as far as we can tell, the regent Queen was very active during her period of rule. She reportedly gathered her fighting men and marched successfully against the Medes and the Armenians to her north. She created new roads and started construction on embankments for the Euphrates River near Babylon. She is thought to have funded the creation of at least one new temple, and erected a stela or obelisk. Many other miscellaneous structures and monuments were later attributed to Sammu-Ramat’s mythical incarnation, Semiramis.

Around 806 BCE, King Adad-Nirari III was at an age where he could take on the full responsibility of the Assyrian throne. In his reign, the Assyrian Kingdom continued to grow, following the example of Queen Sammu-Ramat. Under the rule of multiple successive kings, the Assyrians went on to expand their way outward into the Iranian plateau and down towards the Persian Gulf, and also spreading westward into Egypt. The Assyrian Kings did not besmirch Queen Sammu-Ramat’s name; quite the opposite occurred. Her historical regency transformed into a legendary tale of a conquering warrior queen, Semiramis of Assyria.

The mythology of the Assyrian warrior queen, Semiramis, spread all around the eastern Mediterranean. Her story permeated throughout the lands of the extensive Assyrian Kingdom, and moved up through Armenia and other Annatolian peoples to reach the Greek city-states. Numerous writers of antiquity wrote about Semiramis, including Ctesias, Herodotus, Strabo, Polyaenus, Plutarch and Justinus. Even the major Christian writer, Eusebius (263-339 CE), wrote about the legendary warrior queen of Assyria. Her story went on to inspire countless people; some wanted to worship her, and others, like Alexander the Great, wanted to exceed her in conquest. The brief, but admirable, reign of the regent Queen Sammu-Ramat became immortal in the cult and mythology of the warrior queen goddess, Semiramis.

When it is stated that the story of Semiramis was mythological, the statement is accurate; the tale of Semiramis acquired many of the common features found in Greek mythology. Storytellers took the life of Sammu-Ramat, added a divine origin story, increased her conquests, and amplified her sexual activities—the story was a hit, and a legend was born.

The legend of Semiramis began when a fisherman, headed to the water to haul in his daily catch. Instead of wrangling a fish, however, the fisherman found a fish goddess named Derceto. The goddess had somehow earned the wrath of Aphrodite—suffice it to say, Derceto was much more lusty than she would have been in usual circumstances. From the encounter between the fisherman and the fish goddess, Semiramis was born. There is no happy ending for Derceto, however, as mythology often has more tragedy than contentment. Feeling shameful and guilty for what she did under Aphrodite’s spell, Derceto committed suicide shortly after she gave birth to Semiramis.

Yes, Semiramis was alone and abandoned, but do not fret. A flock of doves fluttered to the newborn demi-god, giving little Semiramis comfort, warmth and food. Soon, a group of farmers stumbled upon the baby goddess and the doves relinquished Semiramis into their care. The farmers took the abandoned girl back to their village and raised her as their own. From this point of her myth, Semiramis begins the events that occurred in the life of Sammu-Ramat. A government official found his way to the farming village and instantly wanted to marry Semiramis. She agreed to marry him, and she helped him with his governing duties. Semiramis’ advice proved to be very wise and effective, resulting in her every word and suggestion being trusted and implemented in her husband’s politics.

Eventually, Semiramis, and her husband relocated to the court of the Assyrian King. Unfortunately for her husband, the King, too, wanted to marry the astute goddess. Semiramis’ husband, trapped between love and loyalty, fell into despair and committed suicide. The widowed Semiramis agreed to marry the Assyrian King. She and the King held court jointly, went on military campaigns together and shared the decision of government policy, just as Sammu-Ramat and Shamshi-Adad V seemed to work together as partners. The Assyrian King eventually died, and Semiramis, like Sammu-Ramat, was able to keep power through the respect of the people or the fear of her wrath. Some versions of the legend claim that Semiramis had the Assyrian king executed, which is plausible considering the King’s actions had forced Semiramis’ former husband into suicide.

With the Assyrian kingdom under her control, the legend claims that Semiramis personally went on to conquer the same lands that Sammu-Ramat conquered, as well as the lands historically conquered by King Adad-Nirari III (Sammu-Ramat’s son) and the succeeding Assyrian kings. The legend of Semiramis claims she conquered even more territory than what was held by historical Assyria. From the Assyrian lands in Egypt, her legend claims that she pushed into Libya. From her Persian territory, Semiramis was supposed to have launched a failed campaign against India (a claim known to Alexander the Great while he was in the region). In true Greek god fashion, the legend of Semiramis claims that she slept with many of her soldiers, but had them all executed afterwards, fearing the political ramifications of having a lover.

The military expeditions of Semiramis ended with her failed campaign into India. She returned back to Assyria and died shortly, thereafter. On her deathbed, however, Semiramis did not simply die and decay like a normal mortal. No, in the true fashion of a goddess of antiquity, Semiramis transformed into a dove, and flew away from the world of mortals and into the realm of the divine.

Mortals and Myths

There are immense differences between the historical life of Sammu-Ramat and the Semiramis of legend and myth. Despite the divine origin story, and the exaggerated conquests of land and lust, the legend of Semiramis had at its core the history of Sammu-Ramat—a formidable woman who was able to gain the respect of the Assyrain people, stabilize the Kingdom and usher the Assyrians on their path to becoming an empire. Sammu-Ramat ruled with brilliance and skill in an ancient world where women leaders were few and far between. Queen Sammu-Ramat left the Assyrian Kingdom, and others surrounding Assyria, in a state of bafflement. The only explanation they could find for Sammu-Ramat climbing to such a height in life was that she was descended from gods and, upon death, ascended back to the heavens.

Written by C. Keith Hansley


  🎨 Antiochus and Stratonike

🎨 Antiochus und Stratonike

🎨 Antiochus und Stratonike / Theodoor van Thulden (1669).

Antiochus und Stratonike / Theodoor van Thulden (1669)

Antiochus und Stratonike / Theodoor van Thulden (1669).


🎨 Antiochus and Stratonice / Jacques-Louis David (1774)

Antiochus and Stratonice / Jacques-Louis David (1774) (LINK)

🎨 Antiochus and Stratonica


Antiochus and Stratonica (LINK)
Apama was the daughter of the Bactrian aristocrat Spitamenes, and married to Seleukos by Alexander himself in the mass wedding at Susa in 324 BCE. Seleukos was the only one of the successors of Alexander that kept his Iranian wife during his reign.

Apama was not a silent queen either. Inscriptions from the great sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma show Apama making independent dedications as queen to Apollo, Artemis and Leto. Apama was also mother to the heir to Seleukos I, Antiochos.

It is with Antiochos that the love stories of the early Seleukids take an interesting turn. Seleukos, like Philip (Alexander’s father) and other Hellenistic kings, practiced polygamy. Shortly before Apama’s death, Seleukos married Stratonike, the daughter of Demetrios Poliorketes and a member of a major Macedonian family. Stratonike was much younger than Seleukos, and indeed of an age with his son, Antiochos.

In a beautiful story of love that survives in Plutarch, Appian, Valerius Maximus and Lucian, Antiochos falls in love with Stratonike, his father’s wife. The young man is unwilling to follow his passion and supplant his father. Instead he decides to commit suicide by starving himself. The loyal family doctor, Erasistratos, finds out about the young man’s secret love through observation of the “symptoms” of unrequited passion.

In Plutarch’s words, harkening back to the great archaic poetess, Sappho: “…whenever Stratonike came to see him, as she often did, either alone, or with Seleukos, lo, those tell-tale signs of which Sappho sings were all there in him, – stammering speech, fiery flushes, darkened vision, sudden sweat, irregular palpitations of the heart, and finally, as his soul, was taken by storm, helplessness, stupor and pallor.”

Seleukos loved his son, and in recognition of Antiochos’ love for Stratonike, he divorced Stratonike and married her to Antiochos himself.



🎨 Antiochus and Stratonice / Gaspare Diziani (1689-1767).

Antiochus and Stratonice / Gaspare Diziani (1689-1767) (LINK)

Antiochus and Stratonice / Gaspare Diziani (1689-1767).


🎨 Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)

Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp) (LINK)

Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)

Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)

Antiochus and Stratonice, Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp) (LINK)

Until its recent rediscovery, this ambitious history painting had long been considered a lost work by Rubens on account of an enthusiastic account of it given by Sir Joshua Reynolds after he saw it in a private collection in Antwerp. ‘At Mr. Dasch’s’, he wrote after a visit to the collector in 1781, ‘is an admirable picture of Rubens; the story of Seleucus and Stratonice. The languishing air of the son, who is lying on a bed, is eminently beautiful: the whole is well composed’ (J. Reynolds, H. Mount ed., A Journey to Flanders and Holland, op. cit., p. 79). Reynolds was so impressed by the picture that he made a swift compositional sketch of it, thus providing the only visual record of the work until its reappearance almost 250 years later (fig. 1).

While several scholars over the years have taken Reynolds’s word for the attribution, finding the composition ‘perfectly compatible with Rubens’ (E. McGrath, op. cit.), his high opinion of it has not found widespread support amongst today’s scholars now that the original has been unearthed. On stylistic grounds, the painting is certainly very closely linked to Rubens’s output in the mid-1630s. The elegant rendering of Stratonice, clad in shimmering yellow silk, her blond hair braided and adorned with pearls, compares closely to Rubensian female types from the period, such as, for example, the central protagonist in the Rape of the Sabines, (c. 1635; London, National Gallery. While the figure stroking his beard to the left of the composition is a direct quotation from Rubens’s Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism of circa 1618-1630 (Hampton Court, The Royal Collection). Changes to the composition, made clear by visible pentimenti (most notably the re-positioning of the central female) also attest to the inventiveness of the design. Despite its impressive quality and individual character, it has thus far not been possible to attribute the painting with certainty to any of the talented artists who were active in Rubens’s workshop at this time, including Justus van Egmont, Jan van den Hoecke and Theodoor van Thulden. The latter painted a version of this story in a much wider composition (Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 11 November 2008, lot 26).

Although Rubens apparently never treated the subject of Antiochus and Stratonice, this ancient tale of paternal love, recounted by Roman authors such as Valerius Maximus in Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, gained considerable popularity in 17th-century Europe, when it was adapted into numerous operas and novels (W Stechow, ‘“The Love of Antiochus with Faire Stratonice” in Art’, The Art Bulletin, XXVII, 1945, pp. 221-45). The story tells of Prince Antiochus, who fell profoundly in love with his young stepmother Stratonice, and became gravely ill after realising that his passion was hopeless. Lovesick, he decided to starve himself to death. His father, King Seleucus, alarmed by his son’s rapid decline, summoned the court physician Erasistratus. The doctor quickly discerned that the prince was suffering from unrequited love, but did not know the object of Antiochus’s affections. He therefore brought the ladies of the court to the young man’s bedside and observed his reactions. This painting captures the climactic moment when the doctor discovers who has caused the sickness, as the prince’s pulse increases dramatically when Stratonice enters the room. As a result of this realisation, Seleucus, a magnanimous monarch and loving father, ceded both his wife and his throne to his son. The composition, from which Seleucus is seemingly absent, reflects the contemporary development of the subject in literature and theatre, which side-lined the aging king to focus instead on the relationship between the two young lovers who are shown gazing at one another.

This picture was first documented (by Reynolds) in the collection of Mr Dasch in Antwerp in 1781. With the same owner, Reynolds also made note of two Rembrandts, although ‘not his best in style’ (untraced); a Jupiter and Antiope by van Dyck, ‘the same as Lord Coventry’ (possibly the picture now in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, which is a version of the ex-Coventry picture now in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne); and a pair of portraits by Rubens ‘A woman with a black veil and a gentleman’ (untraced). The name Dasch may refer to the Belgian noble family ‘D’assche’, represented in Antwerp at the time of Reynolds’s visit by Maximilien Louis van der Noot de Schoonhoven D’assche, who was born in 1764, making him just seventeen years old at the time. Even though the family of D’assche originates from Brussels, it is known that the grandmother of Maximilien, Catherine Louise de Cottereau, was born in Antwerp.



🎨 Erasistratus The Physician Discovers The Love Of Antiochus For Stratonice / Benjamin West

Erasistratus The Physician Discovers The Love Of Antiochus For Stratonice, Benjamin West

Erasistratus The Physician Discovers The Love Of Antiochus For Stratonice / Benjamin West (American, 1738-1820)



  Seleucid Dynasty (311-129 BCE)

Seleucid Dynasty (311-129 BCE)

Seleucid Dynasty (311-129 BCE) (W)

Portrait Title Regnal name Personal name Birth Family relations Reign Death Notes
Seleuco I Nicatore.JPG King Seleucus I Nicator c. 358 BCE Son of Antiochus son of Seleucus 311-281 BCE 281 BCE Assumed title of "King" from 306 BCE.
AntiochusI.jpg King Antiochus I Soter ? Son of Seleucus I 281-261 BCE 261 BCE Co-ruler from 291
AntiochusIIMET.jpg King Antiochus II Theos 286 BCE Son of Antiochus I 261-246 BCE 246 BCE
SeleucusII.jpg King Seleucus II Callinicus ? Son of Antiochus II 246-225 BCE 225 BCE
SeleucusIII.jpg King Seleucus III Ceraunus Alexander c. 243 BCE Son of Seleucus II 225-223 BCE 223 BCE
Antiochos III.jpg Great King Antiochus III the Great c. 241 BCE Son of Seleucus II 223-187 BCE 187 BCE
SeleucusIV.JPG King Seleucus IV Philopator ? Son of Antiochus III 187-175 BCE 175 BCE
Antiokhos IV.jpg King Antiochus IV Epiphanes Mithridates c. 215 BCE Son of Antiochus III 175-163 BCE 163 BCE Killed in Elymais
Antiochus v.jpg King Antiochus V Eupator c. 172 BCE Son of Antiochus IV 163-161 BCE 161 BCE
DemetriosISoter.JPG King Demetrius I Soter 185 BCE Son of Seleucus IV 161-150 BCE 150 BCE
AlexanderI.jpg King Alexander Balas ? Purported son of Antiochus IV 150-146 BCE 146 BCE
DemetriusII.jpg King Demetrius II Nicator ? Son of Demetrius I 146-139 BCE 139 BCE Defeated and captured by Parthians. He married Rhodogune daughter of Mithridates I
Antiochos VI.jpg King Antiochus VI Dionysus 148 BCE Son of Alexander III. 145-142 BCE 138 BCE In competition with Demetrius II.
Antiochus VII coin (Mary Harrsch).jpg King Antiochus VII Sidetes ? Son of Demetrius I 139-129 BC 129 BC Killed in battle with Phraates II




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