Antiochus III

Antiochus III (Antiochus the Great), d. 187 B.C., king of Syria (223–187 B.C.), son of Seleucus II and younger brother of Seleucus III, whom he succeeded. At his accession the Seleucid empire was in decline. Although Antiochus did not succeed in totally restoring the greatness of the Seleucid dynasty, he did much to revive its glory. He led an expedition (212–205 B.C.) to the eastern provinces and went as far as India. Although he was defeated earlier by the Egyptians at Raphia (modern Rafa), he and Philip V of Macedon undertook (202 B.C.) to wrest Egyptian territories from the boy king, Ptolemy V. Antiochus did not properly appreciate the growing power of Rome. While Philip V was engaged by the Roman armies, Antiochus recovered S Syria and Asia Minor. In 199 he won a decisive victory over the Egyptians; Palestine then reverted to Syria, having been under Egyptian rule for almost a century. In 196 he seized the Thracian Chersonese and thus alarmed the Greeks. They as well as the Egyptians sought the aid of the Romans. Antiochus, who disregarded the advice of Hannibal in 193, waited and then challenged Rome by accepting the invitation of the Aetolian League to interfere in Greece in 192. The Romans crushed him (191) at Thermopylae and again at Magnesia (190). He also lost a number of naval engagements, and in 188 he was forced to give up all his territory W of the Taurus. Thus the Seleucid empire became a purely inland Asian state, and dreams of reviving Alexander the Great's empire died.

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