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Antiochus III’s Eastern Campaigns and Power Dynamics


Antiochus in Bactria and Beyond

In the following two years, Antiochus engaged in a prolonged struggle with his Bactrian counterpart, Euthydemus I, resulting in a stalemate. The prolonged siege of Bactra, the capital, proved fruitless, leading Antiochus to a crucial realization—he possessed the capability to defeat eastern adversaries, but lacked the resources to permanently garrison the vast region. Consequently, he opted for peace with Bactria. Euthydemus retained his crown, contributed elephants to the Seleucids Antiochus the Great and the Shifting Fortunes, and solidified the peace by having his son Demetrius marry Antiochus’s daughter.

Antiochus then ventured across the Hindu Kush into the Kabul valley, forging an alliance with one of the last Mauryan emperors of India, acquiring more elephants. Despite the campaign’s success, its strategic impact was limited, leaving Parthian and Bactria

Antiochus the Great and the Shifting Fortunes


Antiochus III’s Reversal of Fortunes

Antiochus III (223-187) emerged as the sole Seleucid monarch capable of halting the kingdom’s decline. Despite his efforts to rebuild Alexander’s empire, he faced an insurmountable obstacle—the rising power of the Roman Republic, which marked the beginning of the nation that would later dominate the New Testament era The Splendor of Pergamun.

Strategic Victories and Setbacks

Antiochus showcased his military prowess by reclaiming Atropatene under Seleucid rule in 220. Launching the Fourth Syrian War (219-217) against Egypt, he aimed to exploit the weaknesses of Egypt’s ruler, Ptolemy IV. Despite marching with his war elephants down the Levant, Antiochus suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Raphia (217), just south of Gaza. Forced to retreat to Syria, the Orontes River once again marked the border between the northern and southern kingdoms.


The Splendor of Pergamun


Champions of Hellenism

Eumenes I Breaking Free and Expanding

Eumenes I (263-241), the nephew and adopted son, liberated Pergamun from the Seleucid rule. Forming an alliance with Ptolemy III, he seized a piece of Seleucid territory. His successor, Attalus I (241-197), achieved a remarkable victory against the Galatians Antiochus III’s Eastern Campaigns and Power Dynamics, posed challenges for the Seleucids, and meddled in Greek affairs. While officially advocating Hellenism in Asia Minor, many Greeks viewed him as a Roman tool as Rome began asserting itself in the region.

Pergamun’s Modest Monarchs

Despite their equal authority, the kings of Pergamun, including Eumenes I and Attalus I, lived more modestly compared to their counterparts. A key factor in their success was avoiding internal power struggles and family conflicts, unlike other Greek monarchies. Devoted to cultu

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