Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Τρίτη, 16 Μαΐου 2017

Hellenistic Wars : The victory of Antiochus in the battle of Arius and the long siege of capital Bactra

The Battle of the Arius was fought in 208 BC between the Seleucids and the Bactrians. The Seleucids were led by Antiochus III the Great, who launched an invasion of Bactria. He was victorious, and went on to besiege the capital of Bactra (Balkh). After a siege lasting three years, a peace was agreed in which Euthydemus was recognized as an ally, obtaining one of Antiochus's daughters as a wife. The location of the Battle of Arius happened on the Arius River or the now known Hari River or the Heray Rud River or even the Tejen river in some sources. The river flows through the parts of modern-day Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. It flows through the Hindu Kush Mountains. It even creates the Afghanistan and Iran border at one of its points.
The Seleucid Empire is one that originates from great prestige of the Achaemenid Empire. It comes from the division of Alexander the Great Empire after his untimely death. It had two capitals in Antioch in Syria and Seleucia in Mesopotamia. Seleucus ruled until 281 B.C. After his death, they began to lose eastern territories which Antiochus the Great, Seleucus's descendant, reconquers during his reign from 222-187 BC. The Seleucids were not on good terms with the Romans, as Antiochus III waged a war against them with varying success. Eventually, the Seleucid dynasty was ended in 65 BC when Philip II Philoromaeus was dethroned. The Seleucid Empire was a major center of Hellenistic culture that maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated, mostly in the urban areas. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece. The Seleucid empire's geographical span, from the Aegean Sea to Afghanistan and Pakistan, created a melting pot of various peoples, such as Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Medes, Assyrians, Jews, Sogdians, Bactrians, Indians and Jews. The immense size of the empire, followed by its encompassing nature, encouraged the Seleucid rulers to implement a policy of ethnic unity a policy initiated by Alexander. The Hellenization of the Seleucid empire was achieved by the establishment of Greek cities throughout the empire. Historically significant towns and cities, such as Antioch, were created or renamed with more appropriate Greek names. The creation of new Greek cities and towns was aided by the fact that the Greek mainland was overpopulated and therefore made the vast Seleucid empire ripe for colonization. Colonization was used to further Greek interest while facilitating the assimilation of many native groups. Socially, this led to the adoption of Greek practices and customs by the educated native classes in order to further themselves in public life, and at the same time the ruling Macedonian class gradually adopted some of the local traditions. By 313 BC, Hellenic ideas had begun their almost 250-year expansion into the Near East, Middle East, and Central Asian cultures. It was the empire's governmental framework to rule by establishing hundreds of cities for trade and occupational purposes. Many of the existing cities began or were compelled by force to adopt Hellenized philosophic thought, religious sentiments, and politics although the Seleucid rulers did incorporate Babylonian religious tenets to gain support. Synthesizing Hellenic and indigenous cultural, religious, and philosophical ideas met with varying degrees of success resulting in times of simultaneous peace and rebellion in various parts of the empire. Such was the case with the Jewish population of the Seleucid empire; the Jews' refusal to willingly Hellenize their religious beliefs or customs posed a significant problem which eventually led to war. Contrary to the accepting nature of the Ptolemaic empire towards native religions and customs, the Seleucids gradually tried to force Hellenization upon the Jewish people in their territory by outlawing Judaism. This eventually led to the revolt of the Jews under Seleucid control, which would later lead to the Jews achieving independence from the Seleucid empire.
Antiochus III also known as Antiochus the Great was the son of Seleucus II Callinicus, and the Basileos of the Seleucid Empire during the battle of the Arius. He is the successor of his brother Seleucus III Cerenaus who died in 223 BC. The empire was in very bad condition until he took over as Megas Basileos in 222 B.C. He did his very best to regain the former glory of the empire, but even though he didn’t succeed completely, he didn’t completely fail either. Antiochus did reconquer many former cities and satrapies they had previously lost after the death of his ancestor Seleucus. He was ruler of the Seleucids until he died in 187 B.C. Antiochus III the Great (241-187 BC, ruled 222-187 BC) was a Hellenistic Greek king and the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire. He ruled over the region of Syria and large parts of the rest of western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC. Rising to the throne at the age of eighteen in 222 BC, his early campaigns against the Ptolemaic Kingdom were unsuccessful, but in the following years Antiochus gained several military victories and substantially expanded the empire's territory. His traditional designation, the Great, reflects an epithet he assumed. He also assumed the title Basileus Megas (Greek for "Great King"), the traditional title of the Persian kings. The campaigns of 219 BC and 218 BC carried the Seleucid armies almost to the confines of Ptolemaic Kingdom, but in 217 BC Ptolemy IV defeated Antiochus at the Battle of Raphia. This defeat nullified all Antiochus's successes and compelled him to withdraw north of Lebanon. Despite the military defeat, Antiochus was able to keep control of Seleucia pieria. In 216 BC Antiochus' army marched into western Anatolia to suppress the local rebellion led by Antiochus' own cousin Achaeus, and had by 214 BC driven him from the field into Sardis. Capturing Achaeus, Antiochus had him executed. The citadel managed to hold out until 213 BC under Achaeus' widow Laodice who surrendered later. Having thus recovered the central part of Asia Minor (perforce to tolerate the dynasties in Pergamon, Bithynia and Cappadocia), Antiochus turned to recovering the outlying provinces of the north and east. He obliged king Xerxes of Armenia to acknowledge his supremacy in 212 BC. In 209 BC Antiochus invaded Parthia, occupied the capital Hecatompylos and pushed forward into Hyrcania. The Parthian king Arsaces II apparently successfully sued for peace. The year 209 BC saw Antiochus in Bactria, where the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus I had supplanted the original rebel. Antiochus again met with success. Euthydemus was defeated by Antiochus at the Battle of the Arius but after sustaining a famous siege in his capital Bactra ( Balkh), he obtained an honourable peace by which Antiochus promised Euthydemus' son Demetrius the hand of one of his daughters. Antiochus next, following in the steps of Alexander, crossed into the Kabul valley, reaching the realm of Indian king Sophagasenus and returned west by way of Seistan and Kerman. According to Polybius : He crossed the Caucasus and descended into India, renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus, king of the Indians, and received more elephants, raising their number to a total of one hundred and fifty, and provisioned his army once more on the spot. He himself broke camp with his troops, leaving behind Androsthenes of Cyzicus to bring back the treasure which this king (Sophagasenus) had agreed to give him. From Seleucia on the Tigris he led a short expedition down the Persian Gulf against the Gerrhaeans of the Arabian coast (205 BC/204 BC). Antiochus seemed to have restored the Seleucid empire in the east, which earned him the title of "the Great" (Antiochos Megas). In 205/204 BC the infant Ptolemy V Epiphanes succeeded to the Egyptian throne, and Antiochus is said to have concluded a secret pact with Philip V of Macedon for the partition of the Ptolemaic possessions. Under the terms of this pact, Macedon was to receive the Ptolemaic possessions around the Aegean Sea and Cyrene, while Antiochus would annex Cyprus and Egypt. Once more Antiochus attacked the Ptolemaic province of Coele Syria and Phoenicia, and by 199 BC he seems to have had possession of it before the Aetolian leader Scopas recovered it for Ptolemy. But that recovery proved brief, for in 198 BC Antiochus defeated Scopas at the Battle of Panium, near the sources of the Jordan, a battle which marks the end of Ptolemaic rule in Judea. A militarily active ruler, Antiochus restored much of the territory of the Seleucid Empire, before suffering a serious setback, towards the end of his reign, in his war against Rome. Declaring himself the "champion of Greek freedom against Roman domination", Antiochus III waged a four-year war against the Roman Republic in mainland Greece in autumn of 192 BC before being decisively defeated at the Battle of Magnesia. He died three years later on campaign in the east.
The Greco-Bactrian kingdom originated from the Persian territory of Greek Empire when Alexander the Great invade Persian Empire. It was part of Seleucid Empire.They would later gain independence from the Seleucid Empire and remained this way until it was subdued and becamd under the rule of the Kushan Empire. The kingdom of Bactra is known for great coins during its time. The capital of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was Bactra which is located in modern-day Balkh Afghanistan. This capital was founded by Alexander The Great. The city thrived for a little time. The place is pretty much now abandoned except for a city located a little bit away which is mostly rural. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC. It was centered on the north of present-day Afghanistan. The expansion of the Greco-Bactrians into eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan from 180 BC established the Indo-Greek Kingdom, which was to last until around 10 AD. Diodotus, the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria (250 BC), defected and proclaimed himself king; all the other people of the Orient followed his example and seceded from the Macedonians. The new kingdom, highly urbanized and considered as one of the richest of the Orient, was to further grow in power and engage in territorial expansion to the east and the west: The Greeks who caused Bactria to revolt grew so powerful on account of the fertility of the country that they became masters, not only of Ariana, but also of India, as Apollodorus of Artemita says: and more tribes were subdued by them than by Alexander. Their cities were Bactra (Zariaspa), and Darapsa, and several others. Among these was Eucratidia, which was named after its ruler. To the north, Euthydemus also ruled Sogdiana and Ferghana , and there are indications that from Alexandria Eschate the Greco-Bactrians may have led expeditions as far as Kashgar and Ürümqi in Xinjiang, leading to the first known contacts between China and the West around 220 BC. The Greek historian Strabo too writes that: "they extended their empire even as far as the Seres (Chinese) and the Phryni ". Several statuettes and representations of Greek soldiers have been found north of the Tien Shan, on the doorstep to China, and are today on display in the Xinjiang museum at Urumqi. Greek influences on Chinese art have also been suggested. Designs with rosette flowers, geometric lines, and glass inlays, suggestive of Hellenistic influences, can be found on some early Han dynasty bronze mirrors. The Greco-Bactrians were known for their high level of Hellenistic sophistication, and kept regular contact with both the Mediterranean and neighbouring India . They were on friendly terms with India and exchanged ambassadors. Their cities, such as Ai-Khanoum in northeastern Afghanistan (Alexandria Oxus), and Bactra (Balkh) where Hellenistic remains have been found, demonstrate a sophisticated Hellenistic urban culture. This site gives a snapshot of Greco-Bactrian culture around 145 BC, as the city was burnt to the ground around that date during nomadic invasions and never re-settled. Ai-Khanoum "has all the hallmarks of a Hellenistic city, with a Greek theater, gymnasium and some Greek houses with colonnaded courtyards". The army of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom was a multi-ethnic force with Greek colonists making up large portions of the infantry as pike phalanxes, supported by light infantry units of local Bactrians and mercenary javelin-wielding Thureophoroi. The cavalry arm was very large for a Hellenistic army and composed mostly of native Bactrian, Sogdian and other Indo-Iranian light horsemen. Polybius mentions 10,000 horse at the Battle of the Arius river in 208 BC. Greco-Bactrian armies also included units of heavily armored cataphracts and small elite units of companion cavalry. The third arm of the Greco-Bactrian army was the Indian war elephants, which are depicted in some coins with a tower (thorakion) or howdah housing men armed with bows and javelins. This force grew as the Greco-Bactrian kingdom expanded into India and was widely depicted in Greco-Bactrian coinage. Other units in the Bactrian military included mercenaries or levies from various surrounding peoples such as the Scythians, Dahae, Indians and Parthians.
Euthydemus is a ruler Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. He began to rule in about 230 BC after usurping Diodotus II. He also had a son named Demetrius I, a later king and founder of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. Euthydemus is the leader of the battle, he also had an impressive extent of coinage that was displayed well throughout his reign. Euthydemus I (260 BC-200/195 BC) was a Greco-Bactrian king in about 230 or 223 BC according to Polybius ; he is thought to have originally been a satrap of Sogdiana, who overturned the dynasty of Diodotus of Bactria and became a Greco-Bactrian king. Strabo, on the other hand, correlates his accession with internal Seleucid wars in 223-221 BC. His kingdom seems to have been substantial, including probably Sogdiana to the north, and Margiana and Ariana to the south or east of Bactria. Euthydemus was allegedly a native of Magnesia (though the exact site is unknown), son of the Greek General Apollodotus, born c. 295 BC, who might have been son of Sophytes , and by his marriage to a sister of Diodotus II and daughter of Diodotus I, born c. 250 BC, was the father of Demetrius I according to Strabo and Polybius, he could possibly have had other royal descendants, such as sons Antimachus I, Apollodotus I and Pantaleon. Little is known of his reign until 208 BC when he was attacked by Antiochus III the Great , whom he tried in vain to resist on the shores of the river Arius, the Herirud. Although he commanded 10,000 horsemen, Euthydemus initially lost a battle on the Arius and had to retreat. He then successfully resisted a three-year siege in the fortified city of Bactra, before Antiochus finally decided to recognize the new ruler, and to offer one of his daughters to Euthydemus's son Demetrius around 206 BC.  Classical accounts also relate that Euthydemus negotiated peace with Antiochus III by suggesting that he deserved credit for overthrowing the descendants of the original rebel Diodotus, and that he was protecting Central Asia from nomadic invasions thanks to his defensive efforts: "...for if he did not yield to this demand, neither of them would be safe: seeing that great hords of Nomads were close at hand, who were a danger to both; and that if they admitted them into the country, it would certainly be utterly barbarised." The war lasted altogether three years and after the Seleucid army left, the kingdom seems to have recovered quickly from the assault. The death of Euthydemus has been roughly estimated to 200 BC-195 BC, and the last years of his reign probably saw the beginning of the Bactrian invasion of South Asia. There exist many coins of Euthydemus, portraying him as a young, middle-aged and old man. He is also featured on no less than three commemorative issues by later kings, Agathocles, Antimachus I and one anonymous series. He was succeeded by Demetrius, who went on to invade northwestern regions of South Asia. His coins were imitated by the nomadic tribes of Central Asia for decades after his death; these imitations are called "barbaric" because of their crude style.
The battle of Arius was fought in 208 B.C. The battle was between the Seleucid Empire and the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, a former satrapy of the Seleucids. The battle took place at the Arius River at day break as the Seleucids had been on a mission to gain back the land they had lost after Seleucus's death. Getting wind of this, Euthydemus was soon on hand leading 10,000 cataphracts, marching three days from Tapuria to meet the Seleucid army that he had learnt of. The Seleucid army was guarding the Arius River, when it became night, they went back to their tents since they didn’t guard the river at night. They crossed the river during the night to meet them at the river at daybreak. What the Greco-Bactrians met was The Seleucid army was made up of 10,000 lightly armed peltasts. The battle then occurred and the Seleucids got the best of the Greco-Bactrians who were forced to retreat to the safety of Bactra. Although Antiochus the Great won the battle but he didn’t win his war against the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom as he was stopped on during the Siege of Bactra because his kingdom was threatened to the west. Bactra is the capital which is now known as modern day Balkh, Afghanistan. This is where Antiochus gave Euthydemus his respect and they decided to agree on conditions of a peace treaty. To do this Euthydemus sent his son Demetrius I to negotiate, then only 16 years old. In the treaty, Euthydemus wanted to be acknowledged as the royal dynast he believed he was. Antiochus was so impressed by Demetrius's character that he agreed to this and even went as far as to offer his daughter for Demetrius. In exchange Antiochus recognized Euthydemus as ruler of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and gave him elephants.
The Siege of Bactra lasted from 208 to 206 BC. It was a siege on the city of Bactra by Seleucid Empire after defeating the Greco-Bactrians at the Battle of the Arius the Seleucids besieged the capital of Bactria until news from the west of his dominions and lack of progress against the city led Antiochus to negotiate peace with Euthydemus and lift the siege. In the peace that was agreed Antiochus recognized Euthydemus as an ally, and he gave one of his daughters as a wife to the Demetrius, Euthydemus's eldest son. The Greco-Bactrians had recently been defeated at the Battle of the Arius by Antiochus III. After this defeat, Euthydemus retreated to Zariaspa, likely a distract of Bactra. The Greco-Bactrians were able to hold out long enough against Antiochus for his fortunes in the west to deteriorate. After 2 years of laying siege to Bactra, Antiochus's fortunes to the west of his empire were deteriorating. Euthydemus then sent his son, Demetrius , as his representative. Impressed at Demtrius's well representation worthy of that of a royal, Antiochus offered him one of his daughter's and agreed to a peace treaty.

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