Alexandros knew. The key to his empire lay in Babylonia, not in Makedonia. After his death, Seleukos, another Makedonian, fought to regain Babylon for himself, and in 312 the city welcomed him with open arms and great joy. He repaid that generosity, retaking Susiana and then Media, pushing the limits of his new empire back to the Indos and then west to Syria, claiming much of Anatolia as his own. As a great old king he passed the throne to his son Antiochos seven years ago. Now the new king, of Makedonian and Persian blood, and master of an empire that stretches from the shores of the Aigaion to the borders of the Indos itself, must struggle to hold together his father's glorious gains. The wisdom of Achaemenid advisors, and now ancestors, will continue to guide this young empire and her army, but one thing must be remembered: Babylonia is still the key, even now, to the greatest empire in the world.
Alexandros' vision of a strong infantry combined with a Persian willingness to use local soldiers and their own styles of warfare have given the great king a powerful army for his empire. Persian light infantry and men from across the empire fighting in the Makedonian phalanx will be your basic footsoldiers. Greeks who have settled in Syria will form the bulwark of your regular troops and the best of their number, trained at the highest levels, are equipped for use as Argyraspidai, the famed "silver shields" and the legendary Hypaspistai. With the strong and fast Thureophoroi and their heavily armored cousins, the Thorakitai, few armies in the world can match your forces. Recruit skirmishers from across your empire and combine them with your cavalry forces, which include Median armored Lonchophoroi and Greek cavalry armored in the manner of the Kataphraktoi, to complete your mighty forces.
A great king must not allow his provinces to rebel, as petty princes are attempting to do in the "kingdoms" of Pontos, Baktria, and Armenia. Such is the burden of ruling a vast empire and you will not have the luxury of dealing with your enemies one at a time. Crucial decisions must be made in dealing with these rebellious princes; will you allow them begin their own empires, perhaps lessening your greatness, or will you risk your armies in an attempt to bring them to heel. The Ptolemaioi to the south were once allies to your father, but they now see their best hopes of expansion coming at your expense. They will send countless soldiers across the desert into the middle of your realm; if you are to preserve your Empire, they must be turned back, especially in southern Anatolia. Expand where you are able; some nearby cities are prime targets, isolated as they are from allies. Also, it would be unwise to take lightly the beating of hooves from the north. Our heavy cavalry have a difficult time standing against the great hordes of Armenian, Sarmatian, and especially Parni horsemen, and letting too many fall defending the northern borders will leave the Empire’s heartland exposed to attack from the treacherous Ptolemaioi. But take heart, great king! The blood of Alexandros and the Achaemenid rulers of the past will aid your throne, which is the greatest in the known world! Take heart, and prosper!
Tale of the Seleukid Empire told through the accomplishments of its Kings
Seleucus I Nicator (reigned) 358-281 BC The death of Alexander the Great brought dissolution to his empire almost before his corpse was cold. It may have been the largest empire the world had ever seen, but it proved fragile once the man himself was gone. His generals fought for control of what remained, but none of these Diadochi, or successors, was strong enough to be a new Alexander. After his death, coalitions quickly began forming around his most able generals and deputies; which at first did not include what would eventually become Seleucia.
Seleucus I was one of Alexander's favorite companions during his Eastern campaigns, as many documented signs of favor attest to, and at the time of his death came into power in the fertile and wealthy Babylonian satrapy. Speculation on his selection of the distant Babylon for his headquarters, include suggestions that he was attempting to emulate Ptolemy's plans for a compact, independently wealthy, and defensible position, away from the main theatres of expected Successor confrontation.
For only a handful of years was Seleucus able to rule freely in Babylon, before Antigonus and his promising new empire came into conflict with him. Despite all pretence at alliance with Seleucus, Antigonus had already murdered one of his potential rivals in the East. Seleucus had made efforts to endear himself to Antigonus, but still fearing for his own life, he fled his territories with a host of fifty companions. Seleucus' destination, was Ptolemy's highly secure territories in Egypt.
When Seleucus reached Ptolemy's court, he was welcomed and taken in graciously as a companion and advisor to the Greek Pharoah. Thus it was that the eventual leader of the largest Successor state, planned his revenge and eventual return to power, in the court of his future nemesis. After years of his own machinations in Egypt, eventually culminating with the Battle of Gaza Seleucus set out again for Babylon - this time, with a force of a thousand men granted him by Ptolemy.
Though this small army had despaired while on route to his former lands, they were gratified upon their arrival to learn that their leader's expert leadership of Babylon in years past had held him in good stead - and the region quickly joined themselves to Seleucus' cause. After establishing himself swiftly in Babylon, Seleucus moved on to Susa, where he was able to secure the vast city treasury without conflict. Now, with his treasury secure and his army equipped and reinforced, he moved himself into a position to conflict Antigonus.
Seleucus' vast kingdom gained it's security and permanance after finally defeating Antigonus and his son Demetrius at the Battle of Ipsus. From here, Seleucus maneuvered himself to reconquer the whole of Alexander's vast empire, and succeeded in all his efforts. After defeating his rival Lysimachus in Thrace, Seleucus seemed poised to recapture the last holdouts against his rule. Though he met with enormous success, it was only a minor loose thread that undid him and his efforts: Ptolemy Keraunos.
This disenfranchised heir of Ptolemy had come to Seleucus seeking his aid against Lysimachus, who had apparently rightly condemned his sister as a traitor. Seeing an opportunity to control a claimant to the Ptolemaic throne, Seleucus agreed. It was this man that killed Seleucus on the eve of his success, and destroyed the last immediate hope for the unity of Alexander's empire, as Keraunos immediately gained the loyalty of Seleucus' military detachment and established a short lived kingship in Thrace.
Antiochus I Soter 281-261 BC With Seleucus dead, it was left to his half Persian son Antiochus to attempt a reunification, which he began inauspiciously by ceding Macedonia and Thrace in order to prevent war in this quarter of his inherited empire. He then attempted to pacify Bythinia, which he was unable to do, though he was successful in a major engagement with the Gauls in central Asia Minor.
After these events in Asia Minor, he returned to the kingdom's heartland in Syria to quell a rebellion, and to begin the first war against Ptolemaic Egypt for Ceole-Syria, which was inconclusive; leading only to the frequent shifting of possessions in Syria and Asia Minor between the two giant successor states.
In Asia Minor, Antiochus also attempted to defeat the rising power of Pergamum, an older Greek city-state that controlled the substantial treasuries of Lysimachus' old kingdom in Thrace. He was defeated in a major battle outside of Sardis, and died shortly after.
Antiochus II 261-246 BC Upon his death, Antiochus' second eldest son Antiochus II assumed the throne (his eldest had been executed for treason), who saw a series of swift developments during his comparatively brief kingship. In the east, Bactria declared it's independence under Dioditus, as well as Parthia under Arsaces, removing the furthest provinces of the kingdom from the Seleucid fold. Despite these events, he did manage to conclude a peace with the Ptolemies in Egypt.
Seleucus II Callinicus 246-225 BC With much of the Seleucid kingdom in a state of some dissatisfaction, and Antiochus II having recently been poisoned by his wife, it fell to their son Seleucus II to rule. His kingship was immediately disastrious, with Ptolemaic armies securing most of the Seleucid's eastern provinces as well as Southern Asia Minor. He also contended with a rebellious brother at Ancyra, by proclaiming a pseudo-daul kingship. Fortunately, he was able to swiftly regain all of his territories previously lost to the Ptolemies, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to resecure Parthia - he was even supposedly held captive briefly by the Parthian king.
Seleucus III Keraunus 225-223 BC This descendant of the first great Seleucus was one of the most ignamonious of all his heirs, and reigned only for three years - a reign which was marked by his defeat at the hands of the powerful Attalid dynasty in Pergamum. His reign was ended by his own officers, who poisoned him after his defeat at Pergamum.
Antiochus III the Great 223-187 BC Ascending to the throne at the age of eighteen, Antiochus III ruled a disorganized and rebellious empire, with rising elements of discontent in Asia Minor, Persia, and Media. One of his first acts was ordering an assault on Judea, which proved unsuccessful, and was left without any follow up for the moment.
In the East, he crushed all of the rebellious provinces, save the Parthians and Bactrians, and returned West to deal wtih a rebellious cousin in Asia Minor. Antiochus decided to ignore the Asia Minor rebellion, in favor of a return to Judea, where he met with great success until his ultimate defeat by the Ptolemies at the Battle of Raphia - leading him to return to Syria.
Upon his return, Antiochus elected to enter Asia Minor to subdue his cousin, which he did successfully outside of Sardis. He then elected to return himself to resecuring the Northern and Eastern provinces. First, he gained the submission of the Persian kings of Armenia, which he followed up with a successful invasion of Parthia, ended by a profitable treaty of peace with the Parthian king. He then moved into Bactria, recapturing much of the region and laying siege to the region's capital, but he eventually raised the siege in favor of another profitable treaty of peace.
Having secured all of the Seleucid's former Eastern possessions, he secured the homage of a Southern Indian king and led a successful expedition to pacify Arabia.
With the East secure, Antiochus devised a pact with Philip of Macedon to divide Egypt, and initiated their plans by securing Judea against the Ptolemies and their Greek allies, permanently ending their rule in the region. Though the Ptolemaic possessions in Syria and Judea had been recaptured, Antiochus moved further forward and secured their possessions in Asia Minor, as well as the independent Greek cities around them. It was at this point, and after further attacking Thrace, that Antiochus came into conflict with the Romans.
While in the process of securing new territories in the Greek mainland, Antiochus met the Roman army under the command of Manius Acilius Glabrio, at Thermopylea. During the ensuing battle, Antiochus' forces were completely routed, leaving him to beat a hasty retreat to Asia Minor, where he was again forced to retreat from his new headquarters in Anatolia. After his retreat, his admiral Hannibal was deafeted by the Roman fleet off the coast of Side, who was able to escape the battle and meat Anitohcus before his defeat at Magnesia - a defeat which the great Carthaginian general predicted before hand.
Forced by heavy war indemnities to attempt new conquests, Antiochus died during a poorly managed expedition to reclaim the again rebellious Eastern provinces.
Seleucus IV 187-176 BC With Antiochus III's true heir held captive by the Romans, it fell to his second son Seleucus IV to rule the waning empire; a task at which he was ill equipped to execute. Though his decade long rule wasn't marked with significant internal strife, the Eastern provinces had all rebelled once more, forcing him to lead new expeditions against them in search of new plunder - leading to his death, in much the same fashion as his father.
Antiochus IV 175-163 BC Antiochus IV, first held captive in Rome, was exchanged in favor of Seleucus IV's son Demetrius around the time of his predecessor's death. WHen he first arrived in Syria, he was proclaimed co-king with an infant relative, who's murder he quickly arranged.
The only major military undertakings of his reign, were in Egypt and Judea, where he was enormously successful. His first invasion secured Judea, and all of Egypt save it's capital, where he negotiated a peace that would allow the Ptolemies to continue in their rule. After his withdrawl, the Ptolemies became more rebellious, which prompted him to recreate his feat of conquest - which was again successful. Despite it's success, the Romans forced his withdrawl from all Egyptian possessions, at the threat of war.
Antiochus died during a successful expedition against the Parthians, which disbanded upon his death. After his death, the Seleucid's empire never returned to any semblance of it's former unity.
Antiochus V Eupator 163-162 BC After his father's death, the nine year old Antiochus V ascended the Seleucid throne, under the protection of one of his father's generals. Under this general's regency, the Jewish rebellion was mostly halted, but his successes were undermined by a Roman envoy that travelled the region in order to impose military restrictions on the Empire, which Antiochus agreed to.
When the Syrian subjects of Antiochus finally grew so outraged with his acquiesence, they brutally murdered the Roman envoy, and immediately accepted the leadership of Demetrius - who had escaped from Rome very conveniently around the same time. With the mass acclamation of his subjects, Demetrius seized the throne, and executed Antiochus and his regent.
Demetrius I 162-150 BC Despite the unusual events surrounding his ascension, Demetrius was a relatively ineffectual leader, and is remembered mostly for the affection the Babylonian peoples had for him, and his eventual defeat at the hands of a distant relative seeking the throne.
Alexander Balas 150-146 BC Alexander seized his throne from Demetrius, after being recognized as the legitimate claimant by the Roman Senate, and gaining the support of the Ptolemies through marriage.
Having finally secured his throne, Alexander gave himself over to the indulgences of his position, and was easily deposed by the son of Demetrius (Demetrius II), after he'd swayed the Ptolemies to his side.
Alexander feld to Nabataea, where a local prince murdered him, and sent his head to Demetrius II's Ptolemaic allies.
Antiochus VI Dionysus 144-142 Antiochus VI never really reigned over the Seleucid Kingdom, but was nominated for the kingship when Alexander Balas was killed, by a general loyal to him. Demetrius II was able to assassinate him fairly quickly after his father's defeat, despite the loyalty of some contingents of the Seleucid army.
Diodotus Tryphon 142 BC A general loyal to Alexander Balas, who originally supported Antiochus VI's kingship, but deposed him himself only two years later. Tryphon reigned in a sort of semi-exile after Demetrius II came to power, and was only later defeated by Antiochus VII in 129 BC.
Demetrius II 141-131 BC After gaining the Seleucid throne, Demetrius II resolved to consolidate his hold over the Northern provinces, by attacking Mithradates in Armenia. Despite proper planning, he was captured by Mithradates, and held captive for ten years - during which his brother Antiochus VII had seized his throne.
Antiochus VII 138-129 The seventh Seleucid king to go by the name Antiochus ruled in the absence of his brother, Demetrius II who was at the time held captive in Armenia. His reign warrants no note beyond his defeat of Diodotus Tryphon, and the very shortlived recapture of Babylon, before being killed in a Parthian ambush.
Demetrius II 128 BC After Antiochus VII's death, Demetrius returned to his throne, having finally been released by the Armenians. Upon his return, he quickly resumed his past habits and vices, leading to yet another usurper, who managed to defeat him in battle and seize command of the remnants of the Seleucid's empire.
Alexander II Zabinas 127-123 BC Alexander II was reputedly an adopted son of Antiochus VII, but was more likely the son of an Egyptian merchant, and placed on the throne through the machinations of the Ptolemies - as opposed to his own desire for power. His reign was short lived and ignamonious, however, when the Ptolemies withdrew their support and Demetrius' son defeated him in battle and eventually murdered him when the Syrians deposed him.
Antiochus VIII Grypus 125-96 BC Placed on the throne in competition with Zabinas, by his enterprising Ptolemaic mother, Antiochus VIII ruled only a very short period before a half-cousin, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, arrived to challaenge his throne. The two, rather then actually fight any pitched battles, managed to peaceful divide their rule within the last Syrian possessions of the Seleucids.
Upon his assassination by one of his ministers, Cyzicenus assumed sole leadership of their previously shared territories.
Antiochus IX Cyzicenus 116-96 BC Cyzicenus' rule was fairly uneventful, until his co-ruler Antiochus VIII's death, and the eventual feud over his heirs. Cyzicenus was unpopular in Syria, and his death at the hands of Seleucus VI caused no great uproar.
Seleucus VI Epiphanes 96-95 BC The son of Antiochus VIII Grypus, ruled with little success for only around a year, before Cyzicenus' son took revenge for his acts and forced him to retreat to Cilicia to establish a new court - where he was quickly murdered by the local inhabitants.
Antiochus X Eusebes, Demetrius III, Antiochus XI, Philip I 95-83 BC Ahtiochus X Eusebes, Cyzicenus' son, seized the throne in revenge for his father's death - which seems to have been his sincere motivation according to records from the time.
Demetrius III, with Ptolemaic aid, managed to establish a rival court to Antiochus X at Damascus, from where he feuded with the Arabs and Jews frequently. During an expedition in Parthia, he was captured and held captive until his death in 88 BC.
Another pair of rivals for the throne, were Antiochus XI and Philip I Philadelphus, who together besieged Antioch. Their inferior army was repelled, and Antiochus XI drowned while attempting to cross a river after their retreat. Despite this initial defeat, his brother Philip managed to come to power in the city, deposing Antiochus X, and ruling successfully for several more years.
In 83 BC, the Armenian King Tigranes invaded and occupied Syria, deposing Philip - though he eventually seems to have ruled for the Romans, as Roman coins minted after their conquest of the region, bear his portrait.
The Seleucid Kingdom passed this point would never be more then a Roman vassal state, and disappeared completely after a few decades of Roman domination.
Being a Diadochoi or Successor state, Arche Seleukeia continues to fight in the Macedonian manner, however with an Eastern influence to their armies and tactics. Strecthing from the Aegean Sea in the west to India in the east, many subject peoples of the Seleukid kings contribute different types of units, giving any Seleukid general access to almost any troop type available in the world, from disciplined pike phalanxes to Iranian skirmishers to heavily armored cavalry and elephants.
This unit list has the most common troops that can be fielded by the Seleukids, but should their borders expand other troops can also be recruited that are not listed here.
The Arche Seleukeia begins with a relatively large empire, but many of its towns are undeveloped, it has problems of corruption, and it is surrounded by potential enemies. The empire usually comes under early and constant attack from the Ptolemaioi and Pahlava and soon Hayasdan, the Saka and Pontos. Off all these enemies, the Ptolemaioi is of your most primary concern and as such focus on beating them as the acquisition of the wealthy Egyptian region will ensure enough resources to fund even more troops to defeat your enemies. and the most important think to remember is hold Antiocheia and Damaskos at all costs. If ever the Ptolemaioi capture these two cities, it provides the Ptolemaioi all it needs to directly attack your inner cities and it may end with you struggling to hold off the stacks of Ptolemaioi armies off Selucia.
At the same time, focus on erecting stone walls and building up military structures in the East to slow down the expansion of Pahlava. Use the Pantodapoi Phalangitai (Hellenic Native Phalanx) to protect your eastern cities, they are at best whether they protecting the walls with their axes or the narrow streets with their pikes, as the Pahlava is weak at infantry and its horses aren't useful in cities. With a general by their side and the Eastern Archers and Slingers providing ranging support, the Pahlava will be driven off most of the time.
On the management of corruption, build law given buildings such as military colonies and garrisons as well as Temples to Seleukos or Marduk, these temples also provide extra bonus income as well as roads, the extra law and income aside from quick mobility of troops is also good. Also remember to build Asclepeions throughout the empire, their huge health and public happiness bonus cannot be ignored. One must also watch out for rebels, not only for their devastation to trade but they may also attempt to siege one of your settlements. Also, place governors with good management stats on settlements with mines to boost their income and raise the taxes of settlements as high as possible in order to maximize income for the war effort.
Persevere and you will have access to an empire which holds powerful and diverse armies as well as having a huge amount of wealth from all of its regions.
Like all other Successor Kingdoms, Arche Seleukeia has historically relied upon pike phalanxes to form the backbone of her armies. However, they can also recruit Eastern Units from across its expansive empire and as such there is no end to their diverse armies. Horse archers, skilled archers, light axemen, skirmisher cavalry, the player can experiment with whatever troops the land provides. Although with that in mind, the core of their armies are still phalanxes and as such the player must be good at using phalanx based armies.