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399 PARTHIA-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

misnamed; for the dominion so-called had, at first, but little respect to Syria proper. On

the contrary, it included all of the Alexandrian conquests in South- western Asia. It was

by far the most extensive and important part of what had been taken by the son of Philip;

and it is with this so-called Kingdom of Syria that we are here concerned.

Considered from the style of dynasty established over it, the same was known as the

Kingdom of the SELEUCIDAE, so named from Seleucus Nicator, founder of the line of

sovereigns referred to. As for Seleucus, he had not at the division of the Empire received

a portion, but he was at length appointed satrap of Babylon, and from that position soon

rose to preeminence in the East. In this relation he served under Antigonus, to whom the

Kingdom of Syria had been given. But having aroused the jealousy of the king, Seleucus

fled to Egypt, and put himself for a season under the protection of Ptolemy. At length the

Greek monarchs of the three western divisions of the Macedonian Empire banded against the

king of Syria. When this confederacy was formed, Seleucus first recovered his office as

satrap of Babylon, and in that relation joined the Western monarchs with his forces on the

field of Ipsus. It was by the battle so named that the subsequent destinies of Western

Asia were for a long time determined. A new division, being a modification of that already

in existence, was made by the victors, and Seleucus received for his part all of the

Asiatic conquests which had been achieved by Alexander, with the exception of Lower Syria

and Asia Minor.

No sooner had this result been achieved than Seleucus was able to look around and view

with complacency his dominions. These included Upper Syria, Mesopotamia, parts of

Cappadocia and Phrygia, Assyria, Media, Babylonia, Susiana, Persia proper, Carmania,

Sagartia, Hyrcania, Parthia, Bactria, Sogdiana, Arya, Zarangia, Arachosia, Sacastana,

Gedrosia, and the hither parts of India-and to these was presently added Armenia on the

west. The Imperial realms here defined included a million two hundred thousand square

miles, from which, after deducting the waste and desert parts, about eight hundred

thousand square miles of valuable and fertile territory remained.

It now devolved upon Seleucus to choose his capital and organize his government. In this

connection the cities of Mesopotamia, famous in ancient story, would naturally suggest

themselves. There on the Lower Euphrates was Babylon, which Alexander himself had

preferred as the seat of his dominion. On the Upper Tigris was Nineveh, or the site of

Nineveh, equally well situated for a capital of empire. For a short season the former was

chosen; but Seleucus for some reason wearied of Babylon, and determined to build a capital

of his own. For this he chose a site about forty miles distant to the north-east, on the

right bank of the Tigris, and there laid the foundations of Seleucia, which soon sprang

into importance and grandeur as the seat of. central interest for all of South- western

Asia.

Here then was founded the Kingdom of the Seleucidae, under auspices favorable to

permanence and grandeur. But it was not long until Seleucus made the fatal mistake of

abandoning the position which he had so well chosen in Mesopotamia and seeking another and

less favorable capital in the far south-west, on the border of his Empire.

It would appear that Alexander and his successors fought against the law of nature in

their attempt to carry European institutions backwards across Asia. There is certainly an

irresistible cosmic force which draws men to the West. The historical drama constantly

shifts its scene in the direction of the setting sun. There was doubtless a time in the

past when Babylon itself was a young and progressive municipality in the West. A large

part of ancient history is concerned with the processes and vicissitudes by which the

central energies of human power were transferred from Babylon to Rome, just as a large

part of modern history has covered the details of the movement from Rome to London. There

is something in nature, there is something in man, there is much in the correlations of

man and nature, which propel civilization in the direction indicated and makes it almost

impossible to replant