Antiochus I Soter

From 1st decamillennium wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Antiochus I Soter on Wikipedia

Antiochus I Soter
Antiochos I Tetradrachm 620447.jpg
Silver coin of Antiochus I. The reverse shows Apollo seated on an omphalos.
Basileus of the Seleucid Empire
ReignSeptember 281 – 2 June 261 BC
PredecessorSeleucus I Nicator
SuccessorAntiochus II Theos
Bornc. 324/323 BC
Persia or Mesopotamia
Died2 June 261 BC
(aged 61–63)
SpouseStratonice of Syria
Apama II
Stratonice of Macedon
Antiochus II Theos
DynastySeleucid dynasty
FatherSeleucus I Nicator
ReligionGreek polytheism

Antiochus I Soter (Greek: Ἀντίοχος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour"; c. 324/3 – 2 June 261 BC), was a king of the Hellenic Seleucid Empire. He succeeded his father Seleucus I Nicator in 281 BC and reigned until his death on 2 June 261 BC.[1] He is the last known ruler to be attributed the ancient Mesopotamian title King of the Universe.


Antiochus I was half Sogdian,[2][3] his mother Apama, daughter of Spitamenes, being one of the eastern princesses whom Alexander the Great had given as wives to his generals in 324 BC.[4] [5] The Seleucids fictitiously claimed that Apama was the alleged daughter of Darius III, in order to legitimise themselves as the inheritors of both the Achaemenids and Alexander, and therefore the rightful lords of western and central Asia.[6]

In 294 BC, prior to the death of his father Seleucus I, Antiochus married his stepmother, Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. The ancient sources report that his elderly father reportedly instigated the marriage after discovering that his son was in danger of dying of lovesickness.[7] Stratonice bore five children to Antiochus: Seleucus (he was executed for rebellion), Laodice, Apama II, Stratonice of Macedon and Antiochus II Theos, who succeeded his father as king.

Cylinder of Antiochus, as great king of kings of Babylon, restorer of gods E-sagila and E-zida. Written in Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian.[8][9][10][11]
Gold stater of Antiochus I minted at Alexandria on the Oxus, c. 275 BC. Obverse: Diademed head of Antiochus right. Reverse: Nude Apollo seated on omphalos left, leaning on bow and holding two arrows. Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ (of King Antiochos). Δ monogram of Ai-Khanoum in left field.

On the assassination of his father in 281 BC, the task of holding together the empire was a formidable one. A revolt in Syria broke out almost immediately. Antiochus was soon compelled to make peace with his father's murderer, Ptolemy Keraunos, apparently abandoning Macedonia and Thrace. In Anatolia he was unable to reduce Bithynia or the Persian dynasties that ruled in Cappadocia.[5]

In 278 BC the Gauls broke into Anatolia, and a victory that Antiochus won over these Gauls by using Indian war elephants (275 BC) is said to have been the origin of his title of Soter (Greek for "saviour").[5]

At the end of 275 BC the question of Coele-Syria, which had been open between the houses of Seleucus and Ptolemy since the partition of 301 BC, led to hostilities (the First Syrian War). It had been continuously in Ptolemaic occupation, but the house of Seleucus maintained its claim. War did not materially change the outlines of the two kingdoms, though frontier cities like Damascus and the coast districts of Asia Minor might change hands.[5]

In 268 BC Antiochus I laid the foundation for the Ezida Temple in Borsippa.[12] His eldest son Seleucus had ruled in the east as viceroy from c. 275 BC until 268/267 BC; Antiochus put his son to death in the latter year on the charge of rebellion. Around 262 BC Antiochus tried to break the growing power of Pergamum by force of arms, but suffered defeat near Sardis and died soon afterwards.[5] He was succeeded in 261 BC by his second son Antiochus II Theos.[13]

Neoclassical art

Antiochus und Stratonike, Theodoor van Thulden (1669).

The love between Antiochus and his stepmother Stratonice was often depicted in Neoclassical art, as in a painting by Jacques-Louis David.


  1. "Antiochus I Soter". Livius.
  2. Magill, Frank N. et al. (1998), The Ancient World: Dictionary of World Biography, Volume 1, Pasadena, Chicago, London,: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Salem Press, p. 1010, ISBN 0-89356-313-7.
  3. Holt, Frank L. (1989), Alexander the Great and Bactria: the Formation of a Greek Frontier in Central Asia, Leiden, New York, Copenhagen, Cologne: E. J. Brill, pp 64–65 (see footnote #63 for a discussion on Spitamenes and Apama), ISBN 90-04-08612-9.
  4. Arrian, Anabasis 7.4.6
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Seleucid Dynasty s.v. Antiochus I. Soter". Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 604.
  6. Shahbazi, A. Sh. "Apama". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  7. Plutarch, Demetrius, 38 gives the most famous account of this tale. See also Appian, Syr. IX.59
  8. Haubold, Johannes (2013). Greece and Mesopotamia: Dialogues in Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 135. ISBN 9781107010765.
  9. Andrade, Nathanael J. (2013). Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World. Cambridge University Press. p. 46. ISBN 9781107244566.
  10. "Antiochus cylinder". British Museum.
  11. Wallis Budge, Ernest Alfred (1884). Babylonian Life and History. Religious Tract Society. p. 94.
  12. Oelsner, Joachim (2000). "Hellenization of the Babylonian Culture?" (PDF). The Melammu Project. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  13. Smith, Andrew. "Johannes Malalas - translation". Retrieved 2017-06-06.


External links

Antiochus I Soter
Born: 324 BC Died: 261 BC
Preceded by
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucid ruler
281–261 BC
Succeeded by
Antiochus II Theos