Seleucid Empire

Seleucid Dynastic Wars
Seleucid Dynastic Wars ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
157 BCE Jan 1 - 63 BCE

Seleucid Dynastic Wars


The Seleucid Dynastic Wars were a series of wars of succession that were fought between competing branches of the Seleucid royal household for control of the Seleucid Empire. Beginning as a by-product of several succession crises that arose from the reigns of Seleucus IV Philopator and his brother Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 170s and 160s, the wars typified the final years of the empire and were an important cause of its decline as a major power in the Near East and Hellenistic world. The last war ended with the collapse of the kingdom and its annexation by the Roman Republic in 63 BCE.

The civil wars that characterized the later years of the Seleucid Empire had their origins in the defeat of Antiochus III the Great in the Roman–Seleucid War, under which the peace terms ensured that a representative of the Seleucid royal family was held in Rome as a hostage. Initially the future Antiochus IV Epiphanes was held hostage, but with the succession of his brother, Seleucus IV Philopator, in 187 and his apparent breaking of the Treaty of Apamea with Rome, Seleucus was forced to recall Antiochus to Syria and instead replace him with his son, the future Demetrius I Soter in 178 BCE.

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Last Updated: : Wed Jan 31 2024