The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



paign which followed (b. c. 301), are very imper­fectly known ; but it seems certain that the decisive victory of the confederates at Ipsus [lysimachus] was mainly owing to the cavalry and elephants of Seleucus, as well as to the skill with which he himself took advantage of the errors of Demetrius. (Pint. Deme-tr. 29.)

The removal of their common antagonist quickly brought about a change in the dispositions of the confederates towards each other. In the division of the spoil, Seleucus certainly obtained the largest share, being rewarded for his services with a great part of Asia Minor (which was divided between him and Lysjinachus) as well as the whole of Syria, from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean. Ptolemy, however, laid claim to Phoenicia and Coele-S3rria, and the possession of these provinces, so fruitful a subject of dissension between their successors, was near producing an immediate breach between the two kings of Syria and Egypt. Seleucus, indeed, waived his pretensions for the time ; but the jealousy thus excited, was increased by the close alliance soon after concluded between Ptolemy and Lysimachus, and Seleucus sought to strengthen himself in his turn, by forming a ma­trimonial connection with Demetrius. His over­tures to that prince were joyfully welcomed, the two rivals met on the most friendly terms, and the nuptials of Seleucus and Stratonice were ce­lebrated, with great magnificence, at Rhosus, on the Syrian coast. But even before the two princes separated, the seeds of new disputes were sown between them, by the refusal of Demetrius to yield to his son-in-law the important fortresses of Sidon and Tyre. (Plut. Demetr. 31—33 ; Diod. xxi. Exc. Vat. pp. 42, 43.) A few years afterwards, Seleucus appears to have taken advantage of the wars which kept Demetrius continually occupied in Greece, to wrest from him the possession, not only of these fortresses, but that of Cilicia also. .(Droysen, vol. i. p. 572.)

The empire of Seleucus was now by far the most extensive and powerful of those which had been formed out of the dominions of Alexander. It comprised the whole of Asia, from the remote provinces of Bactria and Sogdiana to the coasts of Phoenicia, and from the Paropamisus to the central plains of Phrygia, where the boundary which separated him from Lysimachus is not clearly denned. These extensive dominions were subdivided into seventy-two satrapies ; an arrange­ment evidently adopted with a view of breaking down the excessive power previously possessed by the several governors: but notwithstanding this precaution, Seleucus appears to have felt the diffi­culty of exercising a vigilant control over so ex­tensive an empire, and accordingly, in b. c. 293, consigned the government of all the provinces beyond the Euphrates to his son Antiochus, upon whom he bestowed the title of king, as well as the hand of his own youthful wife, Stratonice, for whom the prince had conceived a violent attach­ment. (Appian, Syr. 55, 59—62 ; Plut. Demetr. 38.)

In b. c. 288, the ambitious designs of Demetrius (now become king of Macedonia) once more aroused the common jealousy of his old adversaries, and led Seleucus again to unite in a league with Pto­lemy and Lysimachus against him. But he appears to have taken little part in the hostilities which followed, even when Demetrius, driven from his


kingdom by Lysimachus, transported the seat of war into Asia Minor ; nor was it until the fugitive monarch, hemmed in on all sides, threw himself into Cilicia, that Seleucus thought fit to take the field in person. Even then he readily entered into negotiations with Demetrius, and even allowed him to take up his winter quarters, during a truce of two months, in Cataonia ; but his apprehensions were soon again roused, he fortified all the moun­tain passes so as effectually to surround Deme­trius, and the latter was at length, after various vicissitudes of fortune, compelled to surrender to the Syrian king, b. c. 286. Seleucus had the generosity to treat his captive in a friendly and liberal manner; but at the same time took care to provide for his safe custody in the city of Apamea, on the Orontes. (Plut. Demetr. 44, 47—50; Po* lyaen. iv. 9. §§ 2, 3, 5.) Lysimachus in vain re­presented to him the danger of allowing so formi­dable an enemy any hope of escape, and urged him to put Demetrius at once to death: Seleucus in­dignantly refused to listen to his proposals ; and it is even said that he was really designing to set his illustrious prisoner altogether at liberty, when the death of Demetrius himself, in the third year of his captivity, prevented the execution of the plan. (Plut. Demetr. 51, 52 ; Diod. xxi. Exc. Vales, p. 561.)

It is probable that Seleucus was influenced aa much by policy as by generosity in his conduct on this occasion: increasing jealousies between him and Lysimachus had long threatened to lead to an open rupture, and it was not long after the death of Demetrius before the domestic dissensions in the family of the Thracian king [agathocles ; lysimachus] brought on the long-impending crisis. After the death of the unhappy Agatho-cles, his widow Lysandra and her children fled for refuge to the court of Seleucus, who received them in the most friendly manner. The general discontent excited in the dominions of Lysimachus by this event, and the defection of many of his principal officers, encouraged the Syrian king to commence hostilities against him, and he accord­ingly assembled a large army with which he in­vaded the dominions of his rival in" person. Lysi­machus, on his side, was not slow to meet him, and a decisive action ensued at Corupedion, b. c. 281, which terminated in the defeat and death of the Thracian monarch. (Memnon, c. 8 ; Justiri. xvii. 1,2; Appian. Syr. 62.) This victory appears to have been followed by the speedy submission of all the Asiatic provinces as far as the Hellespont; but not contented with this, Seleucus was desirous to occupy the throne of Macedonia, which had been left vacant by the death of Lysimachus ; and after spending a few months in arranging the affairs of Asia, the government of which he now consigned wholly to his son Antiochus, he himself crossed the Hellespont at the head of an army. But he had advanced no farther than Lysimachia, when he was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus, to whom, as the son of his old friend and ally, he had extended a friendly protection. His body was redeemed by Philetaerus, the governor of Perga-mus, who, after paying him due funeral honours, sent his remains to Antiochus, by whom they were deposited at Seleuceia on the Orontes, in a temple dedicated to his memory. His death took place in the beginning of b. c. 280, only seven months after that of Lysimachus, and in the thirty-second

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of