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What happend to the Seleucid empire?

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  Quote strategos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What happend to the Seleucid empire?
    Posted: 05-Aug-2005 at 21:35
How was such a vast empire destoryed and conquered in my opinion such a short time? My guess was it was surrounded by powerful states and that Rome was the final blow? What do you know?
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2005 at 22:44
From its beginings, the Macedonian Empire was seriously overextended. The Seleucids, comprising the largest part of the empire was also seriously overextended.

The main factor of its weakening was not from outside sources, but from inside. The capital of the empire was at first at Seleucia, and later at Antioch. The moving of the administrative center to the extreme west of the empire alienated its far eastern provinces. Therefore, the Seleucid Empire lost about half its territory when the Greco-Bactrian,  and Parthian kingdoms declared themselves independent on 250 BCE.

Aside from this, the Seleucids were always in conflict with the diadochi kingdoms, especially the Ptolemies in Egypt. The Seleucids were often at the losing end of these battles, despite being stronger on paper.

The Seleucid had a brief period of revival, however. During this time they were able to restore at least nominal rule over Parthia and Bactria. They were even able to take the Levant from the Ptolemies despite a humiliating setback at the Battle of Raphia.

This was not to last, as Parthia and Bactria eventually broke away, and the Seleucids came into conflict with the Romans. Hannibal Barca, who had now fled to Syria gave the Seleucids confidence to extend their influence west. However, they foolishly gave him the rank of admiral rather than field command. All that was Hannibal the general was lost with Hannibal the admiral. The Seleucids allied themselves with the Aetolian League in Greece against the Romans. However, they were defeated twice at Thermopylae and at Magnesia. They were forced to make a humiliating peace with Rome where all their European holdings were ceded to the Romans and all of their holdings in Asia Minor were ceded to Pergamum, which was a close ally of Rome.

The Seleucids then attempted to extend their influence south, waging a successful war against the Ptolemies. They withdrew after forcing the main Ptolemaic army back to Alexandria because of Rome's threats to intervene in favor of the Ptolemies.

Realizing that they would be unable to take new territory, the Seleucids then tried to fortify the lands they already had. They tried to do this through forced Hellenization of its territories. This triggered tbe revolt of the Maccabees which lost the empire Judaea. At the same time, the Parthians began to take Persian territories almost unchallenged. The Seleucids were never able to defeat the Parthians. Frequent civil wars further weakened the empire, making it impossible for the Seleucids to defeat the growing power of the Parthians.

By the turn of the first century BCE, the Seleucids were reduced to Antioch and a few other Syrian cities. They were not even a minor player in the major events of this time. Tigranes, the son-in-law of Mithradates, conquered Syria and put a virtual end to the empire. However, after Mithradates' defeat, the Seleucids restored rule in Syria. After the Romans finally conquered Pontus, the Seleucids were nothing more than a nuisance, an annoying one at that. It was the famous Pompey of the First Truimvirate that turned Syria into a Roman province.

Sorry if it is a little long, but the diadochi, as well the Byzantine Empire, is something of a passion of mine.
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2005 at 22:44

 I dont know much about the empire, but from what ive seen ive heard it was simply to big to hold, it was to wide to keep secure and control of and surrounded by potential enemies.

 Revolts were common especially in the east and the rise of the likes of Parthia and Bactria who broke away from the empire, the east was barely possible to control and after a revival of fortunes under Antiochus III he was defeated by Rome at Magnesia 190bc and after him civil war and invasions reduced the empire.

 My knowledge is scant so im sure others can give more info.

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  Quote Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2005 at 00:32
whatever the reason was I don;t think size was major factor as it was only a fraction of the first Persian empire and not that much bigger than the Parthian empire that repalced it
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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2005 at 00:58
However, the ruling dynasty was not even close to being native to those regions, so it was difficulty to maintain. 
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2005 at 01:11
The non-native dynasty was a major reason. The non-centralized Achaemenid Empire worked well because of the familiar masters. The Seleucids attempted to have a centralized government, and so moving their capital to the extreme west practically begged for destablization.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2005 at 07:11
I know that the empire was never in it's full glory after the first Emperors and so I like to play it in the RTR or RTW to just hope they would have grown like that..
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2005 at 08:37
 I never understood that either, an empire that is so wide yet has the capital in the extreme west.....that makes no sense to me whatsoever.
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  Quote Perseas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2005 at 13:25

Originally posted by strategos

How was such a vast empire destoryed and conquered in my opinion such a short time? My guess was it was surrounded by powerful states and that Rome was the final blow? What do you know?

Better say the main reason of the decline of Seleucid empire were all these continuous civil wars. The defeat of Antiochus III from Romans had a large impact in the Seleucid empire, from the point that he lost all European territories and a part of Asia Minor which in combination of losing territorial possesions later, from Egypt, Parthians and Jews, the empire was limited quite noticeably (keep in mind that in the end of the reign of Seleucus Nicator, the empire was so huge that he had appointed as is said, 72 Satraps around his empire)

In the last century of the Seleucid empire existence empire we had many cases of successions who were largely disputed with result, outbursts of civil conflicts. The military forces residing in Antiochia along with the mob, played a quite significant role in the creation of riots and in the proclamation of the kings. 

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  Quote RollingWave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2005 at 22:25

   While their rule look big on paper, the truth was their rule wasn't firm outside of Syria and Mesopotamia,  their hold on Asia minor and the Leviants were not only constantly challanaged by the likes of Pontus and Ptolomics, but also had to deal with the various city states, whom would sometimes submit to their rule but withdraw quickly when the tides turn. 

    Thus when they suffer some defeats or bad times they would suddenly lose a huge part of their empire without their foes even setting foot on them.... as they pull away themself, it was somewhat the same problem with the Persian empire.

    To make a empire like the Selucid work, they must ensure constant military success, it was possible during Alexander the Great and Selucis I Nictor, but as soon as they start to lose, they fall apart very quickly.

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  Quote strategos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2005 at 22:43

Can you tell me any more information of ancienct Pontos?

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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2005 at 23:28

Originally posted by strategos

Can you tell me any more information of ancienct Pontos?

The Kingdom of Pontus was founded by Mithradates Ktistes, who was the son of the Persian satrap in Kios (The elder Mithradates being executed by Antigonus in the late 4th C), in 281 BC .  Pontus was made famous by Mithradates VI (Eupator Dionysius), whose expansionist policies and etnical slaughters brought him to war with Rome on three occasions.  Most notable of the wars were the first, which resulted in a defeat for Pontus at the hands of Sulla, and the third, which resulted in a Roman victory as well (the campaign being predominately settled by Lucullus, but finished by Pompey).



Edited by Lannes
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2005 at 00:18
Originally posted by strategos

Can you tell me any more information of ancienct Pontos?



Link 1:

KINGS OF PONTUS
Mithridates of Cius337/6-302/1
Mithridates I302/1-266/5
Ariobarzanes266/5-c.255
Mithridates IIc.255-c.220
Mithridates IIIc.220-c.185
Pharnaces Ic.185-c.170
Mithridates IV
Philopator Philadelphus
c.170-c.150
Mithridates V Euergetesc.150-121/0
Mithridates VI Eupator121/0-63
First Mithridatic War,
defeat by Rome, 88-85;
Second Mithridatic War, 83-82;
Third Mithridatic War, 74-63;
Pompey's Settlement of the East, 63
Pharnaces II of the
Bosporus
63-47
Darius39-37? BC
Roman Province
The small states of Armenia, Pontus, Bythynia, Pergamum, Cappadocia, Galatia, Commagene, and Caria testify to the ethnic complexity of Asia Minor.

(...) Of the lists given here, only the rulers of Pergamum would actually have been Greeks. We can see non-Greek influences in the names of the multiple "Mithridates" of Pontus and Commagene. This name means the "gift," dates, of the Iranian god Mithra (Sanskrit Mitra). This is a Persian name whose modern form is Mehrdd, of whose meaning many modern Iranians may be unaware. (...)

























Link 2
:

PONTUS, a name applied in ancient times to extensive tracts of country in the north-east of Asia Minor bordering on the Euxine (Black Sea), which was often called simply Pontos (the Main), by the Greeks. The exact signification of this purely territorial name varied greatly at different times. The Greeks used it loosely of various parts of the shores of the Euxine, and the term did not get a definite connotation till after the establishment of the kingdom founded beyond the Halys during the troubled period following the death of Alexander the Great, about 301 B.C., by Mithradates I., Ktistes, son of a Persian satrap in the service of Antigonus, one of Alexanders successors, and ruled by a succession of kings, mostly bearing the same name, till 64 B.C. As the greater part of this kingdom lay within the immense region of Cappadocia, which in early ages extended from the borders of Cilicia to the Euxine, the kingdom as a whole was at first called Cappadocia towards the Pontus (7rpm r~ llhvrq,), but afterwards simply Pontus, the name Cappadocia being henceforth restricted to the southern half of the region previously included under that title. Under the last king, Mithradates Eupator, commonly called the Great, the realm of Pontus included not only Pontic Cappadocia but also the seaboard from the Bithynian frontier to Colchis, part of inland Paphiagonia, and Lesser Armenia (see under MITHRADATEs). With the destruction of this kingdom by Pompey in 64 B.C., the meaning of the name Pontus underwent a change. Part of the kingdom was now annexed to the Roman Empire, being united with Bithynia in a double province called Pontus and Bithynia : this part included (possibly from the first, but certainly from about 40 B.C. onwards) only the seaboard between Heracleia (Eregli) and Amisus (Samsun) , the ora Pontica. Hereafter the simple name Pontus without qualification was regularly employed to denote the half of this dual province, especially by Romans and people speaking from the Roman point of view; it is so used almost always in the New Testament.

But it was also frequently used to denote (in whole or part) that portion of the old Mithradatic kingdom which lay between the Halys (roughly) and the borders of Colchis, Lesser Armenia, Cappadocia and Galatiathe region properly designated by the title Cappadocia towards the Pontus, which was always the nucleus of the Pontic kingdom.

This region is regarded by the geographer Strabo (A.D. 1920), himself a native of the country, as Pontus in the strict sense of the term (Geogr. p. 678). Its native population was of the same stock as that of Cappadocia, of which it had formed a part, an Oriental race often called by the Greeks Leucosyri or White Syrians, as distinguished from the southern Syrians, who were of a darker complexion, but their precise ethnological relations are uncertain. Geographically it is a table-land, forming the north-east corner of the great plateau of Asia Minor, edged on the north by a lofty mountain rim, along the foot of which runs a fringe of coast-land. (...) Between the Halys and the Iris the mountain rim is comparatively low and broken, but east of the Iris it is a continuous lofty ridge (called by the ancients Paryadres and Scydises), whose rugged northern slopes are furrowed by torrent beds, down which a host of small streams (among them the Thermodon, famed in Amazon story) tumble to the sea. These inaccessible slopes were inhabited even in Strabos time by wild, half-barbarous tribes, of whose ethnical relations we are ignorant, the Chalybes (identified by the Greeks with Homers Chalybes), Tibareni, Mosynoeci and Macrones, on whose manners and condition some light is thrown by Xenophon (Anab. V). But the fringe of coast-land from Trebizond westward is one of the most beautiful parts of Asia Minor and is justly extolled by Strabo for its wonderful productiveness.

The sea-coast, like the rest of the south shore of the Euxine, was studded with Greek colonies founded from the 6th century onwards: Amisus, a colony of Miletus, which in the 5th century received a body of Athenian settlers, now the port of Samsun; Cotyora, now Ordu; Cerasus, the later Pharnacia, now Kerasund; and Trapezus (Trebizond), a famous city from Xenophons time till the end of the middle ages. The last three were colonies of Sinope, itself a Milesian colony. The chief towns in the interior were Amasia, on the Iris, the birthplace of Strabo, the capital of Mithradates the Great, and the burial-place of the earlier kings, whose tombs still exist; Comana, higher up the river, a famous centre of the worship of the goddess Ma (or Cybele); Zela, another great religious centre, ref ounded by Pompey, now Zileh; Eupatoria, refounded by Pompey as Magnopolis at the junction of the Lycus and Iris; Cabira, Pompeys Diospolis, afterwards Neocaesarea, now Niksar; Sebastopolis on the Scylax, now Sulu Serar; Sebasteia, now Sivas; and Megalopolis, a foundation of Pompey, somewhere in the same district.

The history of this region is the history of the advance of the Roman Empire towards the Euphrates. (...)



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  Quote strategos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2005 at 00:43
Thanks for the info
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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2005 at 14:45
Originally posted by Maju

KINGS OF PONTUS
Mithridates of Cius 337/6-302/1
Mithridates I 302/1-266/5
Ariobarzanes 266/5-c.255
Mithridates II c.255-c.220
Mithridates III c.220-c.185
Pharnaces I c.185-c.170
Mithridates IV
Philopator Philadelphus
c.170-c.150
Mithridates V Euergetes c.150-121/0
Mithridates VI Eupator 121/0-63
First Mithridatic War,
defeat by Rome, 88-85;
Second Mithridatic War, 83-82;
Third Mithridatic War, 74-63;
Pompey's Settlement of the East, 63
Pharnaces II of the
Bosporus
63-47
Darius 39-37? BC
Roman Province
The small states of Armenia, Pontus, Bythynia, Pergamum, Cappadocia, Galatia, Commagene, and Caria testify to the ethnic complexity of Asia Minor.


(...) Of the lists given here, only the rulers of Pergamum would actually have been Greeks. We can see non-Greek influences in the names of the multiple "Mithridates" of Pontus and Commagene. This name means the "gift," dates, of the Iranian god Mithra (Sanskrit Mitra). This is a Persian name whose modern form is Mehrdd, of whose meaning many modern Iranians may be unaware. (...)


























 

Mithridates of Kios wasn't actually a king, just a satrap from the Persian Empire. And Mithridates I Ktistes didn't take the title of basileus until 281.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2005 at 15:08
Nice to know. Anyhow they ruled Pontus and gave birth to the famous local dynasty, didn't they?

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2005 at 20:38

Well Armenia took over the Empire under Tigranes the Great under Seleucid invitation and Rome conquered it from Armenia when Parthians allied with Romans opened an Eastern front and financed a rebellion within.

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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Aug-2005 at 23:43

Originally posted by Maju

Nice to know. Anyhow they ruled Pontus and gave birth to the famous local dynasty, didn't they?

The elder Mithridates's domain was actually a small region bordering the Propontis (Sea of Marmara), whereas the Kingdom of Pontus was further east in Turkey (into Cappadocia).

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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Aug-2005 at 18:00
Originally posted by Ogmios

Well Armenia took over the Empire under Tigranes the Great under Seleucid invitation and Rome conquered it from Armenia when Parthians allied with Romans opened an Eastern front and financed a rebellion within.


Finally someone mentions Tigranes as being the King of Armenia, not simply "Mithridates' son-in-law".

Mithridates lost his kingdom of Pontus to the Romans, and then he fled east to Tigranes. Tigranes conquered a large portion of Pontus back from the Romans, and reinstated Mithridates as King of Pontus. Mithridates was a pawn of the Armenian Empire to create a buffer-zone between Armenia and Rome. It was around this time (95-66 B.C.) that Tigranes conquered Syria, which was the last outpost of the Seleucid Empire, which was hardly an empire at this time.

Rome could not conquer Armenia without the Parthians' help. The Armenian capital of Tigranocerta (Tigranakert) was only conquered because the non-Armenian citizens of the city were paid off to open the gates for the Roman army to come in and take over.

Rome then tried repeatedly to take over Eastern Armenia but every siege they attempted was held back and defeated by Tigranes. Eventually, one of Tigranes' sons betrayed him and joined the Romans, while his other son betrayed him and joined the Parthians, who were attacking from the East. Rome only conquered Armenia with the help of Parthian attacks from the east, and with the help of Tigranes' 2 sons. The first wave of Parthian attacks and sieges were defeated by Tigranes as well, but eventually a dual attack by the Romans and Parthians was simply too much and he was forced to surrender in 65 B.C.

The Romans crowned Tigranes as the 'first King of Armenia', and he ruled the Roman province of Armenia for 10 years until his death in 55 B.C.

This is what Tigranes' Armenian Empire looked like before the Roman and Parthian invasions:



Syria, conquered from the Seleucid Empire from 95-66 B.C., ending their rule.


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  Quote shock and thunder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2015 at 11:23
In order of severity and importance (from most to least) :

1)  Rome meddling in politics and fomenting civil wars.  Crippled the empire for generations until its dissolution.  Even at its later date its armies were able to sweep back the Parthians easily when unified.  Rome could do this because of the next -

2)  Congenital goofiness, occurring even in the great rulers alongside their abilities and achievements.  All kings were great drinkers and had a bit of weak mindedness from time to time which proved fatal, despite their leadership otherwise and undertaking of grand projects.  Seleucids depended on a King, compared to the Romans who had a Senate, were relatively more cooperative, and also in their homeland, which leads to the next -

3)  Lack of manpower.  This could really be dealt with just fine if the unified domain was free to be ruled without molestation, and if the rulers and ruling class were not otherwise significantly compromised.


Edited by shock and thunder - 18-Aug-2015 at 11:43
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