Antiochus XII Dionysus

Antiochus XII Dionysus
Coin with Antiochus XII's curly-haired likeness
Antiochus XII's portrait on the obverse of a tetradrachm
King of Syria (Seleucid Empire)
Reign87–82 BC
PredecessorDemetrius III, Philip I
SuccessorPhilip I, Antiochus XIII, Cleopatra Selene
Died82 BC
IssueCleopatra, Antiochis
FatherAntiochus VIII

Antiochus XII Dionysus Epiphanes Philopator Callinicus (Ancient Greek: Ἀντίοχος Διόνυσος Ἐπιφανής Φιλοπάτωρ Καλλίνικος; unknown – 82 BC) was a Hellenistic Seleucid monarch who reigned as King of Syria between 87 and 82 BC. The youngest son of Antiochus VIII and, most likely, his Egyptian wife Tryphaena, Antiochus XII lived during a period of civil war between his father and his uncle Antiochus IX, which ended with the assassination of Antiochus VIII in 96 BC. Four of Antiochus XII's brothers laid claim to the throne, eliminated Antiochus IX as a claimant and waged war against his heir Antiochus X.

By 87 BC, only two claimants remained, both brothers of Antiochus XII: Philip I, and Demetrius III, whose control was initially centered in Damascus but later extended over most of Syria. Demetrius III was defeated by his brother and went into exile in Parthia allowing Antiochus XII to gain control of Damascus while Philip I remained in the Syrian capital Antioch. Antiochus XII consolidated his territory within inner Syria and did not seek to expand into Philip I's territories. He focused his attention on the southern reaches into which the Judaeans and Nabataeans sought to expand.

Antiochus XII reinforced his southern frontier and warred with his neighbours, conducting two campaigns against Nabataea, including a number of engagements with Judea. After numerous victories in his first campaign, Antiochus XII was killed at the Battle of Cana in 82 BC, towards the end of his second campaign against the Nabateans. Damascus was captured by the forces of the Nabatean king, Aretas III, and the Syrian throne was claimed by the widow of Antiochus X, Cleopatra Selene, and her son Antiochus XIII.

Name and background

Antiochus, Greek for "resolute in contention",[1] was a dynastic name borne by many Seleucid monarchs.[2][3] The first Antiochus was father of the Seleucid dynasty's founder, Seleucus I, who named the capital of Syria, Antioch, in his honour.[4] Antiochus XII was born between 125 BC, the wedding year of his parents, Antiochus VIII and Tryphaena, and 111 BC, when his mother was killed by his father's half-brother Antiochus IX,[5] who fought with Antiochus VIII from 113 BC to about 98 BC for the throne of Syria.[6] Cleopatra Selene, the sister of Tryphaena, became the second wife of Antiochus VIII.[7]

Antiochus XII was the fifth and youngest son of Antiochus VIII and Tryphaena;[note 1][9] his brothers were Seleucus VI, Antiochus XI, Philip I and Demetrius III.[5] Following the assassination of his father in 96 BC,[10] Antiochus XII's brothers all laid claim to the throne and fought with Antiochus IX and his son, Antiochus X,[11] who married Cleopatra Selene.[12] By 88 BC, only Demetrius III and Philip I remained;[13] Demetrius III was originally based in Damascus before extending his authority to most of Syria.[14] He was defeated by Philip I and his Parthian allies in 87 BC and exiled to Parthia, where he died of an unknown illness. Philip I took control of the capital,[15] while Cleopatra Selene, now a widow, took shelter in Ptolemais with her sons by Antiochus X.[16]

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