UNIVERSAL-HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
and was utterly routed by the army of Seleucus. The defeated insurgent
fled to Egypt, put himself under the protection of Ptolemy, and by him
was detained as a prisoner for thirteen years.
Meanwhile the Parthians, having strengthened themselves by an alliance
with the Bactrians, held out against the Syrians. With them, after the
overthrow of Hierax, Seleucus at once renewed the contest. In B. C. 239
a decisive battle was fought with the rebel barbarians, in which they
gained a great victory over the Syrian army. Seleucus was taken prisoner
and sent into the wilds of Upper Asia, where he was held a captive until
his death, ten years later. As soon as his captivity was known at
Babylon the authorities placed upon the throne his eldest son, Seleucus
III, who took the title of Ceraunus, or Thunder-a name given in contempt
by the soldiers; for he was a despicable weakling both in mind and body.
He began his inglorious reign of three years by attempting to carry out
the plans of his father. A conspiracy was presently made against him by
Nicana, one of his generals, and a certain Gaul named Apaturius, and he
was assassinated in the twentieth year of his age. The throne was
immediately conferred on his brother Antiochus, surnamed the Great.
In the beginning of his reign the new monarch was greatly aided in his
government by his cousin Achaeus, one of the most distinguished soldiers
of his times. Not so, however, was the king supported by the minister
Hermeias, who proved treacherous, and sowed revolt in the provinces.
Molon and Alexander, governors of Media and Persia, headed insurrections
in their respective satrapies, and the royal generals who were sent
against them were defeated. At length, in B. C. 222, Antiochus took the
field in person, and the fortunes of the war were changed. When the
armies were drawn up for battle the soldiers of the insurgent satraps
deserted them and went over to the king. Molon and Alexander found
refuge in suicide, and Hermeias was condemned to death, not, however,
until he had produced a fatal breach between Achaeus and the king.
Euergetes was at length succeeded on the throne of Egypt by Ptolemy
Philopater-a prince whose character poorly accorded with that of his
illustrious predecessors. The kingdom was neglected to the extent of
inviting foreign aggression. The ambitious Antiochus saw in the
situation an opportunity to recover Phoenicia and Coele-Syria, nor was
he slow in retaking these provinces from the Egyptians. The latter
foreseeing that the Syrian king would soon be knocking at their doors,
fell back before him, and destroyed all the wells between Palestine and
Egypt. Several able generals opposed the progress of Antiochus, and
finally confronted him at Rhaphia with a powerful army. The two forces
met in B. C. 218. Besides the immense array of infantry and cavalry on
each side, nearly two hundred elephants were marshaled forth to
influence the result of the battle. The contest was long and bloody. At
the first, victory inclined to the banner of Antiochus; but the tide
presently turned, and he was subjected to a disastrous rout. More than
fourteen thousand of his dead were left on the field. So decisive was
the result that Phoenicia and Coele-Syria were at once recovered, and
Antiochus was glad to conclude a peace on the basis of restitution.
While the attention of the king of Syria was occupied with these events,
Achaeus, justly offended at the course of his master in treating him as
disloyal, secured for himself several provinces in Asia Minor, and
prepared to defend them. Phrygia and Lydia were included in his
dominions. With Prusias, king of Bithynia, Attalus, king of Pergamus,
and Mithridates, king of Pontus, he had made successful alliances.
Nevertheless he was unable to stand before the arms of Antiochus.
Attalus, who had been compelled rather than persuaded to espouse the
cause of Achaeus, went over to the Syrian king. The insurgent general
was driven into Sardis, and when the city was taken he shut himself up
in the citadel. Ptolemy attempted through an emissary to secure the
escape of Achaeus, but the agent proved treacherous, and the general,
being betrayed into the hands of his enemies, was wrapped in the skin of
an ass and crucified.