Battle of Magnesia

Discuss the wars of Alexander's successors

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sean_m
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by sean_m » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:49 pm

During the Ionian War in the time of Darius II. It was in an otherwise good book too, but whenever I try to borrow it to search for the phrase I am looking for it is out.

Anyways, needing a new model navy explains why he attracted military consultants like Hannibal, and it makes the picture of him as threatening to dominate mainland Greece even fishier (let alone the guff about invading Italy!)
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Paralus
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by Paralus » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:17 am

sean_m wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:58 pm
He was ruthless in liquidating Molon and Achaeus, and must have hoped to conquer Bactria, but when Fortune turned against him he entered into negotiations, announced that it pleased him to grant Euthydemus the title of king and give his handsome son his own daughter to marry, accepted a gift of grain and elephants, and continued his march. That is not the act of someone desperate to conquer at any costs, but more a Philip working to strengthen his kingdom and not spend so long in one area that others fall out of control.
Yes, quite ruthless when it came to usurpers as one would logically expect. It is a great pity that Polybios deserts us, for the most part, when it comes to the anabasis of Antiochos. Given that Polybios, - after the fall of Carthage, Macedon and the withdrawal of Ptolemy - saw the Seleukid ruler and his empire as the last great protagonist in his "game of the oikumene", we can be certain that he dealt with it and the Seleukid king in some detail. s he did with the other players. Certainly Livy is at pains to stress the "clear and present danger" of Antiochos even though his own reporting of the various embassies and spy missions in no way back that view up. Appian, too, goes out of his way to echo this and paints Antiochos as a man of unbounded ambition set to fall upon Italy but who cannot even hold his rebuilt European base of Lysimachaia. The diplomatic traffic between the Seleukid and Rome was all aimed at cementing the relationship of amicus and even moving to alliance. It was always unlikely Rome would indulge the latter but the former applied right up to Antiochos landing in Greece (with an "invasion force" of 10,0000).

The conference at Lysimachaia clearly indicates the willingness of Antiochos to follow diplomatic protocols. Antiochos heard all the Roman complaints and addressed each one in turn. The result bei ng that Rome had no standing in these affairs - as it had not. The Roman ploy, after this, of introducing ambassadors from Lampsakos and Smyrna (likely as not coached), did not please Antiochos at all. No one likes being blindsided. Still, he agreed to have that arbitrated not by Rome but by her amicus Rhodes. The Romans and the king parted "not pleased with each other". Rome had pushed too far and Appian, retailing Roman views, has them at each others throats "more open threats". Coming from an author who paints Antiochos as always wanting war with Rome, measures of salt are well advised.
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Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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sean_m
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by sean_m » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:29 pm

It is also frustrating because this seems to be the time when trade between China and the west around the Taklamakan Desert was just opening up. There is no trace in the Achaemenid period, although the graves at Pazyryk have goods from China and goods from the King's lands, and then by the second century BCE the trade is in full flow under the Han Dynasty. Just like the Alexander historians almost touch on the rise of Chandragupta Maurya, Polybius almost lets us see the beginnings of the Silk Roads.

Controlling Bactria and Sogdia was very important, they were rich lands with mines and fields and gave access to India and the steppes, so accepting their loss was a blow to Antiochos. He must have known that all kinds of exotic goods were appearing in these countries from points unknown, and that their false king was collecting cartloads of silver in tax. Everyone could get Indian things, there had been a trade down the Persian Gulf to the Indus on and off for thousands of years.
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sean_m
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by sean_m » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:09 pm

Also, I come at this as an Achaemenid historian, and the Achaemenids never acknowledged the loss of Egypt any more than the Chinese Communist Party acknowledges that they do not control Taiwan. They (or their governors) signed treaties about the cities upon the sea with Athens, but that was not any more permanent than the Franco-Prussian treaty after 1871. I suspect that when Alexander marched into Old Kandahar or Baktra there were still lists of cities and tribes and kings and how much tribute they owed in the archives, just in case it became possible to collect tribute from India again. So signing an agreement with Euthydemos, and giving his son a daughter to marry and the title of king, is not the kind of diplomacy I am used to. I guess that Cambyses and pharaoh tried a dynastic marriage, it did not last though.

Acknowledging the loss of Bactria and Sogdia was not a small thing, like declaring some fly-speck in the Aegean free and autonomous and withdrawing a hundred-man garrison or confirming that the temple of Diana the NeverHeardThisEpithetBefore was free from taxes like it had been under Alexander.
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by sean_m » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:01 am

Rolf Strootman has a theory that this might have something to do with Antiochus adopting the Greek title basileus megas and a decision to re-organize the outer parts of the empire as a network of tributary kings rather than governors ... I am not sure that I follow all the details (there are signs that the Ptolemies already used the title, and the Seleukids used something similar in Babylonia) so you should probably wait until he publishes it.

Apparently a bunch of Antiochus III's coins turned up in Samarkhand recently! It is a pity that the Byzantine excerptors did not have a use for the anabasis so boiled Polybius' account down to a few paragraphs. Polybius must already have been boiling down his sources.
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by Paralus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:25 am

I'd agree with all of the above. It's a bit like Diodorus 18-20 is all based on Hieronymus. Much more likely an intermediary who'd already reduced that author's "boring" work to something more accessible. That said, Polybios will certainly have painted a decent portrait of Rome's last antagonist. It's a great pity as you say. As Bosworth often bewailed: the outrageous fickleness of taste in source preservation!
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by Paralus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:27 am

I would love that piece by Strootman by the way. Have to wait I imagine.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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sean_m
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Re: Battle of Magnesia

Post by sean_m » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:41 pm

Probably, you would have to ask him. The version I heard was in a lecture, I don't know how it relates to the things he has already published and whether he plans to turn it into an article.

Here is the abstract https://www.uibk.ac.at/zentrum-alte-kul ... ootman.pdf
FROM GREAT KING TO KING OF KINGS: THE DEVELOPMENT OF IMPERIAL TITLES IN THE SELEUCID AND PARTHIAN EMPIRES

The Old Persian imperial titles Great King and King of Kings (xšâyaθiya vazraka and xšâyaθiya xšâyaθiyânâm) disappeared after the Macedonian conquest of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BCE. But ca. 125 years later, the title Great King returned in a Greek version: basileus megas. That title was adopted around 205 BCE by the Seleucid emperor Antiochos III and several of his successors. Antiochos III moreover was given the title of Megas, ‘the Great’, even before Alexander of Macedon was awarded that epithet. The adoption of these titles marked a major shift in Seleucid Imperial politics, and can i.a. be associated with the increasing significance of Iranian elites in the empire. In the mid-second century BCE, the Parthian ruler Mithradates I (who is also known as ‘the Great’) adopted the title of basileus megas, too. He did so after his conquest of Media and Mesopotamia. The adoption of this title coincided with the introduction of a fundamentally different iconography on Parthian royal coinage. Not long afterwards another Parthian king, Mithradates II, switched to the title King of Kings (basileus basileōn) – yet another major break with the immediate imperial past. In this lecture we will investigate what these titles signified, and how they can be related to political change. We will also look into the question how far these titles referred to earlier imperial dynasties, especially the Achaemenids. - Dr. Rolf Strootman
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