MACEDONIA-SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER.
eighteen years as a successful defender of his country against these
identical marauders, was suddenly annulled by them, and converted into a
theme of ridicule.
The late king of Syria was succeeded in B.C. 261 by his son, Antiochus
Theos. This young prince, on hearing of his father's defeat at Ephesus,
hastened thither with a new army to mend, if possible, the fortunes of
the kingdom. But after a desultory war of several years duration, he was
obliged to retire before the invincible barbarians, and leave them in
peaceable possession of their province. In a struggle, however, with a
chieftain who had seized the governorship of Caria, Antiochus was
crowned with success; and it was for this pitiful victory that the base
fools who thronged his court conferred on him the title of Theos or the
About the same time the Syrian king became involved in a war with
Ptolemy Philadelphus, from whom he gained, only to lose them again, the
provinces of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia; but before the contest was
ended, the attention of Antiochus was suddenly recalled by the alarming
conditions of affairs on the north-eastern frontiers of his own kingdom.
In B. C. 254, both Bactria and Parthia, offended at the injustices and
inhumanity of the royal governors, raised the standard of revolt and
defied the power of the king. Theodotus, the Bactrian satrap, was for
the time entirely successful. Agathocles, the Parthian governor, was
attacked by two patriot brothers, Arsaces and Tiridates, and by them the
adherents of Antiochus were obliged to take to flight. Startled at these
outbreaks, the Syrian monarch was glad to enter into negotiations for
peace with Ptolemy, between whom and himself terms were soon agreed
upon, and the treaty confirmed by the marriage to Antiochus of the
Egyptian Princess Berenice. By this act Laodice, whom the Syrian had
previously married, and by whom he had two children, was discarded; but
the queen soon sought revenge by poisoning Antiochus, and securing the
succession to her son, Seleucus, surnamed Callinicus. It was in this
year, B. C. 246, that Ptolemy Euergetes succeeded his father
Philadelphus on the throne of Egypt.
The first work which the new prince of Alexandria felt constrained to
undertake was to visit retributive justice upon those who had murdered
his sister Berenice; for that princess had been hunted down by Laodice
and put to death within the sacred precincts of the Daphnean temple.
Seleucus thus stood as the representative of the crime which had been
committed against the House of Ptolemy. The latter raised an army and
began an invasion of his rival's dominions, and at the same time the
Parthian insurrection continued on the eastern frontier of the Empire.
The Egyptian soon overran Syria and continued his victorious career
through Media and Babylonia even to the banks of the Indus. But his
conquest was one rather of spoliation than political aggrandizement. He
returned to the West with plunder amounting in value to forty thousand
talents of silver. In addition to this vast booty he brought home to his
countrymen the statues of more than two thousand Egyptian gods which had
been carried away by Cambyses to Susiana and Persia.
In the mean time the government of Seleucus was still further distracted
by a rebellion in Syria, headed by his brother Antiochus Hierax, who
induced the Gauls to join his standard. While these two were engaged in
a struggle for the mastery, Euergetes, who might easily have reduced the
whole country, withdrew into Egypt, apparently satisfied with the
vengeance which he had taken on his enemy.
This afforded opportunity and motive to Seleucus and Hierax to come to
an adjustment; but a permanent peace between them was impossible, and in
B. C. 242, hostilities again broke out with greater violence than ever.
A severe battle was fought at Ancyrae, in which Hierax was victorious,
but the Gauls, who had won the battle, hearing that Seleucus was dead,
turned on their own commander, by whose destruction they thought to
obtain the mastery
of Asia for themselves. Barely did Hierax
escape from their clutches. Two years afterwards, with one hundred thousand Gauls, he
renewed the contest, marched against Babylon,