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The Seleucids

Some years following the downfall of the Achaemenian Empire, Alexander of Macedonia, died in Babylonia in 323 BC and his vast empire came to be divided among his commanders. Eleven years after the death of Alexander and following the internal conflicts among his successors, Babylonia fell into the hands of a Macedonian commander by the name of “Seleucid” (312 BC). Consequently, he also added on Ilām and parts of the Median territories to his own kingdom and named himself “Seleucus Nicator” (The Conqueror) and proclaimed himself to be an independent ruler. He also gained control over Syria and a large part of Asia Minor in the year 301 BC. Seleucus I and his son Antiochus I tried to spread the Hellenistic culture throughout the eastern parts of their kingdom by establishing new cities. Two of the most prominent of these cities were Sulukiyah (Seleucia) on the western banks of the River Tigris and Antioch in Syria. Selecting Antioch as the capital as well as the conflicts between the Seleucids and the Egyptian Ptolemies drew their attention towards the western part of their empire as a result of which the Greek rulers of the eastern part of the Seleucid Empire began to think of gaining autonomy, prompting Andragoras and Diodotus to revolt against them in Parthia and Bactria (Balkh) in the years 245 BC and 239 BC respectively. Later on Arsaces (Persian: Arshak) proclaimed independence in Parthia (the historical land of Khorāsān) in the year 238 BC, as a result of which the Seleucids could not regain dominion over the eastern regions. Eventually, the victory of the Parthian army over Antiochus VII in 129 BC ended the Seleucid dominion over Iran completely.

* source: Zarrinkoob ,Roozbeh "Iran Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V. 10 , pp. 526 - 527


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