The Successors of Antiochus the Great -- Antiochus Epiphanes -- Antiochus Eupator -- Demetrius Soter -- Tigranes, King of Armenia, conquers Syria -- Pompey seizes it for the Romans -- Also Phnicia and Palestine -- Later History of Syria
Afterward, on the death of Antiochus the Great, his 521 son Seleucus succeeded him. He gave his son Demetrius as a hostage in place of his brother Antiochus. When the latter arrived at Athens on his way home, Seleucus was assassinated as the result of a conspiracy of a certain Heliodorus, one of the court officers. When Heliodorus sought to possess himself of the government he was driven out by Eumenes and Attalus, who installed Antiochus therein in order to secure his good-will; for, by reason of certain bickerings, they had already grown suspicious of the Romans. Thus Antiochus, the son of Antiochus the Great, ascended the throne of Syria. He was called Epiphanes (the Illustrious) by the Syrians, because when the government 522 was seized by usurpers he showed himself to be their 523 true sovereign. By cementing the friendship and alliance of Eumenes he governed Syria and the neighboring nations with a firm hand. He appointed Timarchus as satrap of Babylon and Heraclides as treasurer, two brothers, both of whom had been his favorites. He made an expedition against Artaxias, king of Armenia, and took him prisoner.
Epiphanes died, leaving a son, Antiochus, nine years of age, to whom the Syrians gave the name of Eupator, in commemoration of his father's bravery. The boy was educated by Lysias. The Senate was glad that this Antiochus, who had early shown himself high spirited, died young. When Demetrius, the son of Seleucus and nephew of Antiochus Epiphanes (grandson of Antiochus the Great and first cousin of this boy), at this time a hostage at Rome, and twenty-three years old, asked that he should be installed in the kingdom as belonging to him rather than to the boy, the Senate would not allow it. They thought that it would be more for their advantage that Syria should be governed 525 by an immature boy than by a full-grown man. Learning that there were many elephants in Syria and more ships than had been allowed to Antiochus in the treaty, they sent ambassadors thither, who killed the elephants and burned the ships. It was a pitiful sight, the killing of these rare and tame beasts and the burning of the ships. A certain Leptines of Laodicea was so exasperated by the sight that he stabbed Gnus Octavius, the chief of this embassy, while he was anointing himself in the gymnasium at that place, and Lysias buried him.
Demetrius came before the Senate again and asked at all events to be released as a hostage, since he had been given as a substitute for Antiochus, who was now dead. When his request was not granted he escaped secretly by 526 boat. As the Syrians received him gladly, he ascended the 527 throne after having put Lysias to death and the boy with him. He removed Heraclides from office and killed Timarchus, who rebelled and who had administered the government of Babylon badly in other respects. For this he received the surname of Soter (the Protector), which was first bestowed upon him by the Babylonians. When he was firmly established in the kingdom he sent a crown valued at 10,000 pieces of gold to the Romans as the gift of their former hostage, and also delivered up Leptines, the murderer of Octavius. They accepted the crown, but not Leptines, because they intended to hold the Syrians responsible 528 for that crime. Demetrius took the government of 529 Cappadocia away from Ariarthes and gave it to Olophernes, who was supposed to be the brother of Ariarthes, receiving 1000 talents therefor. The Romans, however, decided that as brothers both Ariarthes and Olophernes should reign together.
These princes were deprived of the kingdom -- and their successor, Ariobarzanes, also, a little later -- by Mithridates, king of Pontus. The Mithridatic war grew out of this event, among others, -- a very great war, full of vicissitudes to many nations and lasting nearly forty years. During this time Syria had many kings, succeeding each other at brief intervals, but all of the royal lineage, and there were many changes and revolts from the dynasty. The Parthians, who had previously revolted from the rule of the Seleucid, seized Mesopotamia, which had been subject to that house. Tigranes, the son of Tigranes, king of Armenia, who had annexed many neighboring principalities, and from these exploits had acquired the title of King of Kings, attacked the Seleucid because they would not acknowledge his supremacy. Antiochus Pius was not able 530 to withstand him. Tigranes conquered all of the Syrian 531 peoples this side of the Euphrates as far as Egypt. He took Cilicia at the same time (for this was also subject to the Seleucid) and put his general, Magadates, in command of all these conquests for fourteen years.
When the Roman general, Lucullus, was pursuing 533 Mithridates, who had taken refuge in the territory of Tigranes, Magadates went with his army to Tigranes' assistance. Thereupon Antiochus, the son of Antiochus Pius, entered Syria clandestinely and assumed the government with the consent of the people. Nor did Lucullus, who first made war on Tigranes and wrested his newly acquired territory from him, object to Antiochus exercising his ancestral 534 authority. But Pompey, the successor of Lucullus, 535 when he had overthrown Mithridates, allowed Tigranes to reign in Armenia and expelled Antiochus from the government of Syria, although he had done the Romans no wrong. The real reason for this was that it was easy for Pompey, with an army under his command, to rob an unarmed king, but the pretence was that it was unseemly for the Seleucid, whom Tigranes had dethroned, to govern Syria, rather than the Romans who had conquered Tigranes.
In this way the Romans, without fighting, came into possession of Cilicia and both inland Syria and Cle-Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, and all the other countries bearing the Syrian name from the Euphrates to Egypt and the sea. The Jewish nation still resisted, and Pompey conquered them, sent their king, Aristobulus, to Rome, and destroyed their greatest, and to them holiest, city, Jerusalem, as Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt, had formerly done. It was afterward rebuilt and Vespasian destroyed it again, and Hadrian did the same in our time. On account of these rebellions the tribute imposed upon all Jews is heavier per capita than upon the generality of taxpayers. The annual tax on the 536 Syrians and Cilicians is one per cent. of the valuation of 537 the property of each. Pompey put the various nations that had belonged to the Seleucid under kings or chiefs of their own. In like manner he confirmed the four chiefs of the Galatians in Asia, who had coperated with him in the Mithridatic war, in their tetrarchies. Not long afterward they all came gradually under the Roman rule, mostly in the time of Augustus.
Pompey now put Scaurus, who had been his qustor in the war, in charge of Syria, and the Senate afterward appointed Marcius Philippus as his successor and Lentulus Marcellinus as the successor of Philippus, both being of prtorian rank. Much of the biennial term of each was consumed in warding off the attacks of the neighboring Arabs. It was on account of these events in Syria that Rome began to appoint for Syria proconsuls, so-called, with power to levy troops and engage in war like consuls. The first of these sent out with an army was Gabinius. As he 538 was in readiness to begin the war, Mithridates, king of the 539 Parthians, who had been driven out of his kingdom by his brother, Orodes, persuaded Gabinius to turn his forces from the Arabs against the Parthians. At the same time Ptolemy XI., king of Egypt, who likewise had lost his throne, prevailed upon him by a large sum of money to turn his arms from the Parthians against Alexandria. Gabinius overcame 540 the Alexandrians and restored Ptolemy to power, but 541 was himself banished by the Senate for invading Egypt without their authority, and undertaking a war considered ill-omened by the Romans; for it was forbidden by the Sibylline books. I think that Crassus succeeded Gabinius in the government of Syria -- the same who met with a great disaster when waging war against the Parthians. While 542 Lucius Bibulus was in command of Syria after Crassus, the 543 Parthians made an incursion into that country. While the 544 government was in charge of Saxa, the successor of Bibulus, 545 they overran the country as far as Ionia, the Romans being then occupied by the civil wars. I shall deal with these events more particularly in my Parthian history.