The effects of the third Syrian War or the “Laodikan War” are various and affected various regions within the Hellenistic world. The main consequence is related to the Seleucid kingdom, which lost control they over some of their territory and their position in the region weakened. This resulted in some of the satraps under the Seleucid kingdom gaining some or full independence from the Kingdom. The regions that started detaching from the Kingdom were Bactria and Parthia, other areas such as Cilicia which turned to Ptolemy’s side or the Cappadocia and the Attalid kingdom which increased their grade of independence from the Seleucid kingdom.
After the second Syrian war, Antiochus II got involved in Thrace and regions of the Aegean sea, where he thought that could get involved without violating any of the oaths from the second Syrian war. There were some strategic cities gained by Antiochus such as Lysimacheia, which he initially offered some protection. The Seleucids obtained control over many parts of Thrace and managed to get alliances with Greek cities like Mesembria and Apollonia. Seleucid moves into the areas near the Hellespont were a threat to Byzantium, whom were allies of the Ptolemies.
Antigonos Gonatas allied with Antiochus and against Ptolemy for the control of other areas such as Crete or Cyrene. The later became under Ptolemy control. Other encounters happened such as the naval battle of Andros between Antigonos Gonatas and the Seleucid king against Ptolemy. A battle in which the latest was defeated. Grainger wrote that it was possible that Ptolemy II was killed during this conflict. This event had consequences as his son, Ptolemy III was brother of Berenice, Antiochus II’s wife.
All these moves were a strategic positioning of both sides, preparing for the next conflict. By focusing on the West, the Seleucid kingdom left areas like Parthia and Bactria unprotected. Parthia obtained certain independence from the kingdom after some revolts (Angels D., 2013). Because the kingdom broke into two parts, the Bactrians claimed full independence from the kingdom. David Angels writes that through a relation of conflict or a relation of peace, it is not clear how the relation was, the Parthians gained independence progressively from the Seleucid kingdom and ended up being masters of the region. With the time they will conquer parts of the Seleucid kingdom, became a regional power in the old Hellenistic world and influenced the fall of the Seleucids.
Besides this, Antiochus was forced to give certain independence to regions such as the Cappadocia or Pergamon. Borys Chrubasic writes how the Attalid kingdom, within a relation of alliance with the Seleucid kingdom managed to gain more and more independence from the Seleucid kingdom, until finally switching their alliance towards the Romans and against the Seleucids at the battle of Magnesia.
Other consequences of the war were that Ptolemy gained some control over cities and regions that were over the control of the Seleucids, such as Cilicia or Seleukeia-in-Pieria, strategically very important, and the Seleucid kingdom obtained control over Koile Syria, which was over Ptolemy control before the war.
The book “The Syrian War” by JD Grainger states that after the second Syrian war, Berenice had become Antiochus II’s (Theos) wife and from this marriage a new heir became candidate for the Seleucid kingdom. It seemed though that Antiochus Theos decided to bring back Laodike and had her as his wife once again. According to Appian, Laodike did not trust this new situation and Antiochus was found dead, apparently killed by being poisoned. Laodike decided then to have Berenice and her son killed and organised for this to happen. Berenice death, being sister of the new Ptolemy king, brought war back to Syria. The new Ptolemy king, named Euergetes, decided to aid his sister, thinking that she was still alive and entered Seleucid territory. However, he found her sister dead and decided to conquer Antiochus’s territory. It is not clear how much territory Ptolemy managed to invade, but Babylon, which was one of the main places controlled by the Seleucids was occupied. Grainger explains that Ptolemy was forced by internal revolts in Egypt to return to his kingdom, leaving few garrisons in some of the main conquered cities.
Other consequences from the war is that after Antiochus died, Seleucid II and Antiochus Hierax, Laodike’s and Antiochus’s sons, fought for the control of the kingdom. Hierax, being just 14 years old, was apparently aided by his mum. Civil war then broke out between the two. Hierax, with the support of the Galatians, initially beat his brother at Ancyra but ended up being defeated by the Attalos, from Pergamon (Ager SL. Page 45).
The conflict started as Seleucid II, whom became king after Antiochus death, asked for help to his brother to govern Asia Minor. The aid was needed as Seleucid II was involved in conflicts in the West and in Syria. Hierax took the role and tasted what was to be king. He then decided to continue being the king. Hierax, with the possible aid of Ptolemy challenged his brother. Grainger wrote that Laodike may had been the “moving spirit” (Grainger, JD. Page 168) in the conflict between the two brothers. She seemed to have aided Hierax and against Seleucid II. The civil war confronted both brothers and both of them ended up dead, which brought Seleukus III to the kingdom.
It seems that all of these internal and external conflicts and affairs, caused in the long term the fall of the Seleucid kingdom and the collapse of its dynasty.
Image found on:
AGER, S. 2003. An Uneasy Balance: From the death of Seleukos to the Battle of Raphia. In Erskine, A. (ed) A Companion to the Hellenistic World. Blackwell. 35-50.
Appian. “Third Syrian War Documents”.
Bresciani E., Shabazi A Sh., Toumanoff C., “Arsacid VII: The Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia”. Page 525 – 546.
Chrubasik B. (2012). “The Attalids and the Seleukid Kings, 281 to 117 BC”. Page 82 -119.
Engels D. (2013). “A New Frataraka Chronology”. Latomus 72. Page 28 – 82.
GRAINGER, J. D. (2010). The Syrian wars. Leiden, Brill. chapters entitled: “The second Syrian war” , ”Increasing strains” — “The third war, the ‘War of Laodike'”
OGDEN, D. (1999). Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death: The Hellenistic Dynasties. London, Duckworth. Chapters on Antiochus II and Seleucus II.