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Seleucid Empire

Hellenistic-era Greek state in Western Asia (312–63 BC) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Seleucid Empire (/sɪˈljsɪd/;[11] Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, romanized: Basileía tōn Seleukidōn, lit.'Kingdom of the Seleucids') was a Greek power[12][13] in West Asia during the Hellenistic period. It was founded in 312 BC by the Macedonian general Seleucus I Nicator, following the division of the Macedonian Empire founded by Alexander the Great,[14][15][16][17] and ruled by the Seleucid dynasty until its annexation by the Roman Republic under Pompey in 63 BC.

Quick facts: Kingdom of the SeleucidsΒασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδ...
Kingdom of the Seleucids
Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν
Basileía tōn Seleukidōn
312 BC  63 BC
Tetradrachm of Seleucus I – the horned horse, the elephant and the anchor all served as symbols of the Seleucid monarchy. of Seleucid Empire
Tetradrachm of Seleucus I – the horned horse, the elephant and the anchor all served as symbols of the Seleucid monarchy.[3][4]
The Seleucid Empire (light blue) in 281 BC on the eve of the murder of Seleucus I Nicator
The Seleucid Empire (light blue) in 281 BC on the eve of the murder of Seleucus I Nicator
Common languages
GovernmentHellenistic monarchy
 305–281 BC
Seleucus I (first)
 65–63 BC
Philip II (last)
Historical eraHellenistic period
312 BC 
301 BC
192–188 BC
188 BC
167–160 BC
 Seleucia taken by Parthians
141 BC
129 BC
 63 BC
303 BC[9]3,000,000 km2 (1,200,000 sq mi)
301 BC[9]3,900,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi)
240 BC[9]2,600,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi)
175 BC[9]800,000 km2 (310,000 sq mi)
100 BC[9]100,000 km2 (39,000 sq mi)
 301 BC[10]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Vergina_Sun_-_Golden_Larnax.png Macedonian Empire
Parthian Empire Blank.png
Maurya Empire Blank.png
Province of Syria Blank.png
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Blank.png
Hasmonean kingdom Blank.png
Osroene Blank.png

After receiving the Mesopotamian regions of Babylonia and Assyria in 321 BC, Seleucus I began expanding his dominions to include the Near Eastern territories that encompass modern-day Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon all of which had been under Macedonian control after the fall of the former Persian Achaemenid Empire. At the Seleucid Empire's height, it had consisted of territory that had covered Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia and what are now modern Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Turkmenistan.

The Seleucid Empire was a major center of Hellenistic culture. Greek customs and language were privileged; the wide variety of local traditions had been generally tolerated, while an urban Greek elite had formed the dominant political class and was reinforced by steady immigration from Greece.[17][18][19] The empire's western territories were repeatedly contested with Ptolemaic Egypt—a rival Hellenistic state. To the east, conflict with the Indian ruler Chandragupta of the Maurya Empire in 305 BC led to the cession of vast territory west of the Indus and a political alliance.

In the early second century BC, Antiochus III the Great attempted to project Seleucid power and authority into Hellenistic Greece, but his attempts were thwarted by the Roman Republic and its Greek allies. The Seleucids were forced to pay costly war reparations and had to relinquish territorial claims west of the Taurus Mountains in southern Anatolia, marking the gradual decline of their empire. Mithridates I of Parthia conquered much of the remaining eastern lands of the Seleucid Empire in the mid-second century BC including Assyria and what had been Babylonia, while the independent Greco-Bactrian Kingdom continued to flourish in the northeast. The Seleucid kings were thereafter reduced to a rump state in Syria, until their conquest by Tigranes the Great of Armenia in 83 BC, and ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC.

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