|Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν|
of Seleucus I - the horned horse, the elephant
and the anchor all served as symbols of the Seleucid monarchy.
The empire at its greatest extent and on the eve of the death of Seleucus I, 281 BC
| • ||305–281 BC||Seleucus I (first)|
| • ||65–63 BC||Philip II (last)|
|Historical era||Hellenistic period|
| • ||Wars of the Diadochi||312 BC|
| • ||Battle of Ipsus||301 BC|
| • ||Roman–Seleucid War||192–188 BC|
| • ||Treaty of Apamea||188 BC|
| • ||Maccabean Revolt||167–160 BC|
| • ||Annexed by Rome||63 BC|
| • ||303 BC||3,000,000 km2 (1,200,000 sq mi)|
| • ||301 BC||3,900,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi)|
| • ||270 BC||3,200,000 km2 (1,200,000 sq mi)|
| • ||240 BC||2,600,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi)|
| • ||175 BC||800,000 km2 (310,000 sq mi)|
|Today part of|| Afghanistan|
The Seleucid Empire (/; Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, Basileía tōn Seleukidōn) was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty, which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC; Seleucus I Nicator founded it following the division of the Macedonian empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great. Seleucus received Babylonia (321 BC), and from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
The Seleucid Empire became a major center of Hellenistic culture - it 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. Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece halted abruptly in the early 2nd century BC after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Seleucid attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands. Having come into conflict in the East (305 BC) with Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire, after several defeats, Seleucus I entered into an agreement with Maurya whereby he ceded vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan and offered his daughter in marriage to the Maurya Emperor to formalize the alliance.
Antiochus III the Great attempted to project Seleucid power and authority into Hellenistic Greece, but his attempts were thwarted by the Roman Republic and by Greek allies such as the Kingdom of Pergamon, culminating in a Seleucid defeat at the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia. In the subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, the Seleucids were compelled to pay costly war reparations and relinquished claims to territories west of the Taurus Mountains. The Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia conquered much of the remaining eastern part of the Seleucid Empire in the mid-2nd century BC. However, the Seleucid kings continued to rule a rump state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 BC and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC.