Page 0678

678

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.