The Seleucid Empire: In the Shadow of Rome

At its height, the Seleucid Empire stretched from Thrace (modern day Bulgaria) to the Indus River Valley. Emerging from the tumultuous ‘Successor Wars’ that followed Alexander the Great’s passing, for over a century it was a superpower of the eastern Mediterranean. This, however, ultimately led it into conflict with Rome at the beginning of the 2nd century BC. The result was a devastating defeat for the Seleucid King Antiochus III ‘the Great’ at the Battle of Magnesia, fought around this time of year in either December 190 BC or January 189 BC. Following the battle, the Seleucids were humbled by a damaging treaty, but what happened next? What followed for the Seleucids, having been humbled by the Romans? Did they descend from superpower to suppliant? Or did they experience a resurgence? In today’s podcast, Eduardo Garcia-Molina, a PHD Classics student at the University of Chicago, argues the latter. Focusing in on the reign of Antiochus IV, Eduardo highlights how the Seleucid Empire remained a powerful entity in the wake of Magnesia and their Roman defeat.


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