1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Macedonian Empire
MACEDONIAN EMPIRE, the name generally given to the empire founded by Alexander the Great of Macedon in the countries now represented by Greece and European Turkey, Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, Persia and eastwards as far as northern India. The present article contains a general account of the empire in its various aspects. It falls naturally into two main divisions:—I. The reign of Alexander. II. The period of his successors, the “Diadochi” and their dynasties.
I. The Reign of Alexander.—At the beginning of the 4th century B.C. two types of political association confronted each other in the lands of the Eastern Mediterranean,—the Persian monarchy with its huge agglomeration 1. Greeks and Persians. of subject peoples, and the Greek city-state. Each had a different principle of strength. The Persian monarchy was strong in its size, in the mere amount of men and treasure it could dispose of under a single hand; the Greek state was strong in its morale, in the energy and discipline of its soldiery. But the smallness of the single city-states and their unwillingness to combine prevented this superiority in quality from telling destructively upon the bulk of the Persian empire. The future belonged to any power that could combine the advantages of both systems, could make a state larger than the Greek polis, and animated by a spirit equal to that of the Greek soldier. This was achieved by the kings of Macedonia. The work, begun by his predecessors, of consolidating the kingdom internally and making its army a fighting-machine of high power was completed by the genius of Philip II. (359-336 B.C.), who at the same time by war and diplomacy brought the Greek states of the Balkan peninsula generally to recognize his single predominance. At the synod of Corinth (338) Philip was solemnly declared the captain-general (στρατηγὸς αὐτοκράτωρ) of the Hellenes against the Great King. The attack on Persia was delayed by the assassination of Philip in 336, and it needed some fighting before the young Alexander had made his position secure in Macedonia and Greece. The recognition as captain-general he had obtained at another synod in Corinth, by an imposing military demonstration in Greece immediately upon his accession. Then came the invasion of the Persian empire by Alexander in 334 at the head of an army composed both of Macedonians and contingents from the allied Greek states. Before this force the Persian monarchy went down, and when Alexander died eleven years later (323) a Macedonian empire which covered all the territory of the old Persian empire, and even more, was a realized fact.
The empire outside of Macedonia itself consisted of 22 provinces. In Europe, (1) Thrace; in Asia Minor, (2) Phrygia on the Hellespont, (3) Lydia, (4) Caria, (5) Lycia and Pamphylia, (6) Great Phrygia, (7) Paphlagonia and Cappadocia; 2. Extent of the Empire. between the Taurus and Iran, (8) Cilicia, (9) Syria, (10) Mesopotamia, (11) Babylonia, (12) Susiana; in Africa, (13) Egypt; in Iran, (14) Persis, (15) Media, (16) Parthia and Hyrcania, (17) Bactria and Sogdiana, (18) Areia and Drangiana, (19) Carmania, (20) Arachosia and Gedrosia; lastly the Indian provinces, (21) the Paropanisidae (the Kabul valley), and (22) the province assigned to Pithon, the son of Agenor, upon the Indus (J. Beloch, Griech. Gesch. III. [ii.], p. 236 seq.; for the Indian provinces cf. B. Niese, Gesch. der griech. und maked. Staaten, I. p. 500 seq.). Hardly provinces proper, but rather client principalities, were the two native kingdoms to which Alexander had left the conquered land beyond the Indus—the kingdoms of Taxiles and Porus.
The conquered empire presented Alexander with a system of government ready-made, which it was natural for the new masters to take over. For the Asiatic provinces and Egypt, the old Persian name of satrapy (see Satrap) was still retained, 3. System of Government. but the governor seems to have been styled officially in Greek strategos, although the term satrap certainly continued current in common parlance. The governors appointed by Alexander were, in the west of the empire, exclusively Macedonians; in the east, members of the Old Persian nobility were still among the satraps at Alexander’s death, Atropates in Media, Phrataphernes in Parthia and Hyrcania, and Alexander’s father-in-law Oxyartes in the Paropanisidae. Alexander had at first trusted Persian grandees more freely in this capacity; in Babylonia, Bactria, Carmania, Susiana he had set Persian governors, till the ingrained Oriental tradition of misgovernment so declared itself that to the three latter provinces certainly Macedonians had been appointed before his death. Otherwise the only eastern satrapy whose governor was not a Macedonian, was Areia, under Stasanor, a Cypriote Greek. In the case of certain provinces, possibly in the empire generally, Alexander established a double control. The financial administration was entrusted to separate officials; we hear of such in Lydia (Arr. i. 17, 7), Babylonia (id. iii. 16, 4), and notably in Egypt (id. iii. 5, 4). Higher financial controllers seem to have been over groups of provinces (Philoxenus over Asia Minor, Arr. i. 17, 7; see Beloch, Gr. Gesch. III. [i] p. 14), and Harpalus over the whole finances of the empire, with his seat in Babylon. Again the garrisons in the chief cities, such as Sardis, Babylon, Memphis Pelusium and Susa, were under commands distinct from those of the provinces. The old Greek cities of the motherland were not formally subjects of the empire, but sovereign states, which assembled at Corinth as members of a great alliance, in which the Macedonian king was included as a member and held the office of captain-general. The Greek cities of Asia Minor stood to him in a similar relation, though not included in the Corinthian alliance, but in federations of their own (Kaerst, Gesch. d. hellenist. Zeitalt. i. 261 seq.). Their territory was not part of the king’s country (Inscr. in the Brit. Mus. No. 400). Of course, in fact, the power of the king was so vastly superior that the Greek cities were in reality subject to his dictation, even in so intimate a matter as the readmission of their exiles, and might be obliged to receive his garrisons. Within the empire itself, the various communities were allowed, subject to the interference of the king or his officials, to manage their own affairs. Alexander is said to have granted the Lydians to be “free” and “to use the laws of the ancient Lydians,” whatever exactly these expressions may mean (Arr. i. 17, 4). So too in Egypt, the native monarchs were left as the local authorities (Arr. iii. 5, 4). Especially to the gods of the conquered people Alexander showed respect. In Egypt and in Babylon he appeared as the restorer of the native religions to honour after the unsympathetic rule of the Persians. The temple of Marduk in Babylon which had fallen began to rise again at his command. It is possible that he offered sacrifice to Yahweh in Jerusalem. In Persia, the native aristocracy retained their power, and the Macedonian governor adopted Persian dress and manners (Diod. xix. 48, 5; Arr. vi. 30). A new factor introduced by Alexander was the foundation of Greek cities at all critical points of intercourse in the conquered lands. These, no doubt, possessed municipal autonomy with the ordinary organization of the Greek state; to what extent they were formally and regularly controlled by the provincial authorities we do not know; Pithon, the satrap of the Indian province is specially described as sent “in colonias in Indis conditas” (Just. xiii. 4, 21). The empire included large tracts of mountain or desert, inhabited by tribes, which the Persian government had never subdued. The subjugation of such districts could only be by a system of effective military occupation and would be a work of time; but Alexander made a beginning by punitive expeditions, as occasion offered, calculated to reduce the free tribes to temporary quiet; we hear of such expeditions in the case of the Pisidians, the tribes of the Lebanon, the Uxii (in Khuzistan), the Tapyri (in the Elburz), the hill-peoples of Bajaor and Swat, the Cossaei (in Kurdistan); an expedition against the Arabs was in preparation when Alexander died.
Alexander, who set out as king of the Macedonians and captain-general of the Hellenes, assumed after the death of Darius the character of the Oriental great king. He adopted the Persian garb (Plutarch, de fort. Al. i. 8) including 4. Court. a head-dress, the diadema, which was suggested by that of the Achaemenian king (Just. xii. 3, 8). We hear also of a sceptre as part of his insignia (Diod. xviii. 27, 1). The pomps and ceremonies which were traditional in the East were to be continued. To the Greeks and Macedonians such a régime was abhorrent, and the opposition roused by Alexander’s attempt to introduce among them the practice of proskynesis (prostration before the royal presence), was bitter and effectual. The title of chiliarch, by which the Greeks had described the great king’s chief minister, in accordance with the Persian title which described him as “commander of a thousand,” i.e. of the royal body-guard, was conferred by Alexander upon his friend Hephaestion. The Greek Chares held the position of chief usher (εἰσαγγελεύς). Another Greek, Eumenes of Cardia, was chief secretary (ἀρχιγραμματεύς). The figure of the eunuch, so long characteristic of the Oriental court, was as prominent as ever (e.g. Bagoas, Plut. Alex. 67, &c.; cf. Arr. vii. 24).
Alexander, however, who impressed his contemporaries by his sexual continence, kept no harem of the old sort. The number of his wives did not go beyond two, and the second, the daughter of Darius, he did not take till a year before his death. In closest contact with the king’s person were the seven, or latterly eight, body-guards, σωματοφύλακες, Macedonians of high rank, including Ptolemy and Lysimachus, the future kings of Egypt, and Thrace (Arr. vi. 28, 4). The institution, which the Macedonian court before Alexander had borrowed from Persia, of a corps of pages composed of the young sons of the nobility (παῖδες βασίλειοι or βασιλικοί) continued to hold an important place in the system of the court and in Alexander’s campaigns (see Arr. iv. 13, 1; Curt. viii. 6, 6; Suid. βασίλειοι παῖδες; cf. the παῖδες of Eumenes, Diod. xix. 28, 3).
The army of Alexander was an instrument which he inherited from his father Philip. Its core was composed of the Macedonian peasantry who served on foot in heavy armour (“the Foot-companions” πεζεταῖροι). They formed the phalanx, 5. Army. and were divided into 6 brigades (τάξεις), probably on the territorial system. Their distinctive arm was the great Macedonian pike (sarissa), some 14 ft. long, of further reach than the ordinary Greek spear. They were normally drawn up in more open order than the heavy Greek phalanx, and possessed thereby a mobility and elasticity in which the latter was fatally deficient. Reckoning 1,500 to each brigade, we got a total for the phalanx of 9,000 men. Of higher rank than the pezetaeri were the royal foot-guards (βασιλικοὶ ὐπασπίσται), some 3,000 in number, more lightly armed, and distinguished (at any rate at the time of Alexander’s death) by silver shields. Of these 1,000 constituted the royal corps (τὸ ἄγημα τὸ βασιλικόν). The Macedonian cavalry was recruited from a higher grade of society than the infantry, the petite noblesse of the nation. They bore by old custom the name of the king’s Companions (ἑταῖροι), and were distributed into 8 territorial squadrons (ἴλαι) of probably some 250 men each, making a normal total of 2,000. In the cavalry also the most privileged squadron bore the name of the agema. The ruder peoples which were neighbors to the Macedonians (Paeonians, Agrianes, Thracians) furnished contingents of light cavalry and javelineers (ἀκοντισταί). From the Thessalians the Macedonian king, as overlord, drew some thousand excellent troopers. The rest of Alexander’s army was composed of Greeks, not formally his subjects. These served partly as mercenaries, partly in contingents contributed by the states in virtue of their alliance. According to Diodorus (xvii. 17, 3) at the time of Alexander’s passage into Asia, the mercenaries numbered 5,000, and the troops of the alliance 7,000 foot and 600 horse. All these numbers take no account of the troops left behind in Macedonia, 12,000 foot and 1,500 horse, according to Diodorus. When Alexander was lord of Asia, innovations followed in the army. Already in 330 at Persepolis, the command went forth that 30,000 young Asiatics were to be trained as Macedonian soldiers (the epigoni, Arr. vii., 6, 1). Contingents of the fine Bactrian cavalry followed Alexander into India. Persian nobles were admitted into the agema of the Macedonian cavalry. A far more radical remodelling of the army was undertaken at Babylon in 323, by which the old phalanx system was to be given up for one in which the unit was to be composed of Macedonians with pikes and Asiatics with missile arms in combination—a change calculated to be momentous both from a military point of view in the coming wars, and from a political, in the close fusion of Europeans and Asiatics. The death of Alexander interrupted the scheme, and his successors reverted to the older system. In the wars of Alexander the phalanx was never the most active arm; Alexander delivered his telling attacks with his cavalry, whereas the slow-moving phalanx held rather the position of a reserve, and was brought up to complete a victory when the cavalry charges had already taken effect. Apart from the pitched battles, the warfare of Alexander was largely hill-fighting, in which the hypaspistae took the principal part, and the contingentsof light-armed hillmen from the Balkan region did excellent service.
(Droysen, Niese, Beloch, Kaerst), see D. G. Hogarth, Journal ofPhilol., xvii. 1 seq. (corrected at some points in his Philip and Alexander).
The modifications in the army system were closely connected with Alexander’s general policy, in which the fusion of Greeks and Asiatics held so prominent a place. He had himself, as we have seen, assumed to some extent 6. Fusion of Greeks and Asiatics. the guise of a Persian king. The Macedonian Peucestas received special marks of his favour for adopting the Persian dress. The most striking declaration of his ideals was the marriage feast at Susa in 324, when a large number of the Macedonian nobles were induced to marry Persian princesses, and the rank and file were encouraged by special rewards to take Eastern wives. We are told that among the schemes registered in the state papers and disclosed after Alexander’s death was one for transplanting large bodies of Asiatics into Europe and Europeans into Asia, for blending the peoples of the empire by intermarriage into a single whole (Diod. xviii. 4, 4). How far did Alexander intend that in such a fusion Hellenic culture should retain its pre-eminence? How far could it have done so, had the scheme been realized? It is not impossible that the question may yet be raised again whether the Eurasian after all is the heir of the ages.
High above all the medley of kindreds and tongues, untrammelled by national traditions, for he had outgrown the compass of any one nation, invested with the glory of achievements in which the old bounds of 7. Divine Honours. the possible seemed to fall away, stood in 324 the man Alexander. Was he a man? The question was explicitly suggested by the report that the Egyptian priest in the Oasis had hailed him in the god’s name as the son of Ammon. The Egyptians had, of course, ascribed deity by old custom to their kings, and were ready enough to add Alexander to the list. The Persians, on the other hand, had a different conception of the godhead, and we have no proof that from them Alexander either required or received divine honours. From the Greeks he certainly received such honours; the ambassadors from the Greek states came in 323 with the character of theori, as if approaching a deity (Arr. vii. 23, 2). It has been supposed that in offering such worship the Greeks showed the effect of “Oriental” influence, but indeed we have not to look outside the Greek circle of ideas to explain it. As early as Aeschylus (Supp. 991) the proffering of divine honours was a form of expression for intense feelings of reverence or gratitude towards men which naturally suggested itself—as a figure of speech in Aeschylus, but the figure had been translated into action before Alexander not in the well-known case of Lysander only (cf. the case of Dion, Plut. Dio, 29). Among the educated Greeks rationalistic views of the old mythology had become so current that they could assimilate Alexander to Dionysus without supposing him to be supernatural, and to this temper the divine honours were a mere form, an elaborate sort of flattery. Did Alexander merely receive such honours? Or did he claim them himself? It would seem that he did. Many of the assertions as to his action in this line do not stand the light of criticism (see Hogarth, Eng. Hist. Rev. ii., 1887, p. 317 seq.; Niese, Historische Zeitschrift, lxxix., 1897, p. 1, seq.); even the explicit Statement in Arrian as to Alexander and the Arabians is given as a mere report; but we have well-authenticated utterances of Attic orators when the question of the cult of Alexander came up for debate, which seem to prove that an intimation of the king’s pleasure had been conveyed to Athens.
A new life entered the lands conquered by Alexander. Human intercourse was increased and quickened to a degree not before known. Commercial enterprise now found open roads between the Aegean and India; the new 8. Intercourse and Discovery. Greek cities made stations in what had been for the earlier Greek traders unknown lands; an immense quantity of precious metal had been put into circulation which the Persian kings had kept locked up in their treasuries (cf. Athen, vi. 231 e). At the same time Alexander himself made it a principal concern to win fresh geographical knowledge, to open new ways. The voyage of Nearchus from the Indus to the Euphrates was intended to link India by a waterway with the Mediterranean lands. So too Heraclides was sent to explore the Caspian; the survey, and possible circumnavigation, of the Arabian coasts was the last enterprise which occupied Alexander. The improvement of waterways in the interior of the empire was not neglected, the Babylonian canal system was repaired, the obstructions in the Tigris removed. A canal was attempted across the Mimas promontory (Plin. N.H. v. 116). The reports of the βηματισταί, Baeton and Diognetus, who accompanied the march of Alexander’s army, gave an exacter knowledge of the geographical conformation of the empire, and were accessible for later investigators (Susemihl, Gesch. d. griech. Litt., I. p. 544). Greek natural science was enriched with a mass of new material from the observations of the philosophers who went with Alexander through the strange lands (H. Bretzl, Botanische Forschungen d. Alexanderzuges, 1903); whilst on the other hand attempts were made to acclimatize the plants of the motherland in the foreign soil (Theophr., Hist. Plant. iv. 4, 1).
system of the kingdom. Philip’s bimetallic system, which had attempted artificially to fix the value of silver in spite of the great depreciation of gold consequent upon the 9. Coinage. working of the Pangaean mines, was abandoned. Alexander’s gold coinage, indeed (possibly not struck till after the invasion of Asia), follows in weight that of Philip’s staters; but he seems at once to have adopted for his silver coins (of a smaller denomination than the tetradrachm) the Euboic-Attic standard, instead of the Phoenician, which had been Philip’s. With the conquest of Asia, Alexander conceived the plan of issuing a uniform coinage for the empire. Gold had fallen still further from the diffusion of the Persian treasure, and Alexander struck in both metals on the Attic standard, leaving their relation to adjust itself by the state of the market. This imperial coinage was designed to break down the monetary predominance of Athens (Beloch, Gr. Gesch. iii. [i.], 42). None of the coins with Alexander’s own image can be shown to have been issued during his reign; the traditional gods of the Greeks still admitted no living man to share their prerogative in this sphere. Athena and Nike alone figured upon Alexander’s gold; Heracles andZeus upon his silver.
II. After Alexander.—The external fortunes of the Macedonian Empire after Alexander’s death must be briefly traced before its inner developments be touched upon. There was, at first, when Alexander suddenly died in 323, no overt 1. History of the “Successors.” disruption of the empire. The dispute between the Macedonian infantry and the cavalry (i.e. the commonalty and the nobles) was as to the person who should be chosen to be the king, although it is true that either candidate, the half-witted son of Philip II., Philip Arrhidaeus, or the posthumous son of Alexander by Roxana, opened the prospect of a long regency exercised by one or more of the Macedonian lords. The compromise, by which both the candidates should be kings together, was, of course, succeeded by a struggle for power among those who wished to rule in their name. The resettlement of dignities made in Babylon in 323, while it left the eastern commands practically undisturbed as well as that of Antipater in Europe, placed Perdiccas (whether as regent or as chiliarch) in possession of the kings’ persons, and this was a position which the other Macedonian lords could not suffer. Hence the first intestine war among the Macedonians, in which Antipater, Antigonus, the satrap of Phrygia, and Ptolemy, the satrap of Egypt, were allied against Perdiccas, who was ultimately murdered in 321 on the Egyptian frontier (see Perdiccas , Eumenes). A second settlement, made at Triparadisus in Syria in 321, constituted Antipater regent and increased the power of Antigonus in Asia. When Antipater died, in 319, a second war broke out, the wrecks of the party of Perdiccas, led by Eumenes, combining with Polyperchon, the new regent, and later on (318) with the eastern satraps who were in arms against Pithon, the satrap of Media. Cassander, the son of Antipater, disappointed of the regency, had joined the party of Antigonus. In 316 Antigonus had defeated and killed Eumenes and made himself supreme from the Aegean to Iran, and Cassander had ousted Polyperchon from Macedonia. But now a third war began, the old associates of Antigonus, alarmed by his overgrown power, combining against him—Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, the governor of Thrace, and Seleucus, who had fled before Antigonus from his satrapy of Babylonia. From 315 to 301 the war of Antigonus against these four went on, with one short truce in 311. Antigonus never succeeded in reaching Macedonia, although his son Demetrius won Athens and Megara in 307 and again (304-302) wrested almost all Greece from Cassander; nor did Antigonus succeed in expelling Ptolemy from Egypt, although he led an army to its frontier in 306; and after the battle of Gaza in 312, in which Ptolemy and Seleucus defeated Demetrius, he had to see Seleucus not only recover Babylonia but bring all the eastern provinces under his authority as far as India. Meanwhile the struggle changed its character in an important respect. King Philip had been murdered by Olympias in 317; the young Alexander by Cassander in 310; Heracles, the illegitimate son of Alexander the Great, by Polyperchon in 309. Thus the old royal house became extinct in the male line, and in 306 Antigonus assumed the title of king. His four adversaries answered this challenge by immediately doing the same. Even in appearance the empire was no longer a unity. In 301 the coalition triumphed over Antigonus in the battle of Ipsus (in Phrygia) and he himself was slain. Of the four kings who now divided the Macedonian Empire amongst them, two were not destined to found durable dynasties, while the house of Antigonus, represented by Demetrius, was after all to do so. The house of Antipater came to an end in the male line in 294, when Demetrius killed the son of Cassander and established himself on the throne of Macedonia. He was however expelled by Lysimachus and Pyrrhus in 288; and in 285 Lysimachus took possession of all the European part of the Macedonian Empire. Except indeed for Egypt and Palestine under Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus now divided the empire between them, with the Taurus in Asia Minor for their frontier. These two survivors of the forty years’ conflict soon entered upon the crowning fight, and in 281 Lysimachus fell in the battle of Corupedion (in Lydia), leaving Seleucus virtually master of the empire. Seleucus’ assassination by Ptolemy Ceraunus in the same year brought back confusion.
Ptolemy Ceraunus (the son of the first Ptolemy, and half-brother of the reigning king of Egypt) seized the Macedonian throne, whilst Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, succeeded in holding together the Asiatic dominions of his father. The confusion was aggravated by the incursion of the Gauls into the Balkan Peninsula in 279; Ptolemy Ceraunus perished, and a period of complete anarchy succeeded in Macedonia. In 276 Antigonus Gonatas, the son of Demetrius, after inflicting a crushing defeat on the Gauls near Lysimachia, at last won Macedonia definitively for his house. Three solid kingdoms had thus emerged from all the fighting since Alexander’s death: the kingdom of the Antigonids in the original land of the race, the kingdom of the Ptolemies in Egypt, and that of the Seleucids, extending from the Aegean to India. For the next 100 years these are the three great powers of the eastern Mediterranean. But already parts of the empire of Alexander had passed from Macedonian rule altogether. In Asia Minor, Philetaerus a Greek of Tios (Tieium) in Paphlagonia, had established himself in a position of practical independence at Pergamum, and his nephew, Attalus, was the father of the line of kings who reigned in Pergamum till 133—antagonistic to the Seleucid house, till in 189 they took over the Seleucid possessions west of the Taurus. In Bithynia a native dynasty assumed the style of kings in 297. In Cappadocia two Persian houses, relics of the old aristocracy of Achaemenian days had carved out principalities, one of which became the kingdom of Pontus and the other the kingdom of Cappadocia (in the narrower sense); the former regarding Mithradates (281-266) as its founder, the latter being the creation of the second Ariarathes (?302-?281). Armenia, never effectively conquered by the Macedonians, was left in the hands of native princes, tributary only when the Seleucid court was strong enough to compel. In India, Seleucus had in 302 ceded large districts on the west of the Indus to Chandragupta, who had arisen to found a native empire which annexed the Macedonian provinces in the Panjab.
Whilst the Antigonid kingdom remained practically whole till the Roman conquest ended it in 168 B.C., and the house of Ptolemy ruled in Egypt till the death of Cleopatra in 30 B.C., the Seleucid Empire perished by a slow process of disruption. The eastern provinces of Iran went in 240 or thereabouts, when the Greek Diodotus made himself an independent king in Bactria (q.v.) and Sogdiana, and Tiridates, brother of Arsaces, a “Scythian” chieftain, conquered Parthia (so Arrian, but see Parthia). Armenia was finally lost in 190, when Artaxias founded a new native dynasty there. Native princes probably ruled in Persis before 166, though the district was at least nominally subject to Antiochus IV. Epiphanes till his death in 164 (see Persis). In southern Syria, which had been won by the house of Seleucus from the house of Ptolemy in 198, the independent Jewish principality was set up in 143. About the same time Media was totally relinquished to the Parthians. Babylonia was Parthian from 129. Before 88 the Parthians had conquered Mesopotamia. Commagene was independent under a king, Mithradates Callinicus, in the earlier part of the last century B.C. Syria itself in the last days of the Seleucid dynasty is seen to be breaking up into petty principalities, Greek or native. From 83 to 69 is the transient episode of Armenian conquest, and in 64 the last shadow of Seleucid rule vanished, when Syria was made a Roman province by Pompey. From this time Rome formally entered upon the heritage of Alexander as far as the Euphrates, but many of the dynasties which had arisen in the days of Macedonian supremacy were allowed to go on for a time as client states. One of them, the royal house of Commagene, not deposed by the Romans till A.D. 72, had Seleucid blood in its veins through the marriage of a Seleucid princess with Mithradates Callinicus, and regarded itself as being a continuation of the Seleucid dynasty. Its kings bore the name of Antiochus, and were as proud of their Macedonian, as of their Persian, descent (see the Inscription of Nimrud Dagh, Michel, No. 735).
The Macedonians of Alexander were not mistaken in seeing an essential transformation of their national monarchy when Alexander adopted the guise of an Oriental great king. Transplanted into this foreign soil, the 2. Constitution of the Macedonian Kingdom. monarchy became an absolute despotism, unchecked by a proud territorial nobility and a hardy peasantry on familiar terms with their king. The principle which Seleucus is reported to have enunciated, that the king’s command was the supreme law (App. Syr. 61), was literally the principle of the new Hellenistic monarchies in the East. But the rights belonging to the Macedonian army as Alexander inherited it did not altogether disappear. Like the old Roman people, the Macedonian people under arms had acted especially in the transference of the royal authority, conferring or confirming the right of the new chief, and in cases of the capital trials of Macedonians. In the latter respect the army came regularly into function under Alexander, and in the wars which followed his death (Diod. xviii. 4, 3; 36, 7; 37, 2, 39, 2; xix. 61, 3), and in Macedonia; although the power of life and death came de facto into the hands of the Antigonid king, the old right of the army to act as judge was not legally abrogated, and friction was sometimes caused by its assertion (Polyb. v. 27, 5). The right of the army to confer the royal power was still symbolized in the popular acclamation required on the accession of a new king, and at Alexandria in troubled times we hear of “the people” making its will effective in filling the throne, although it is here hard to distinguish mob-rule from the exercise of a legitimate function. Thus the people put Euergetes II. on the throne when Philometor was captured (Polyb. xxix. 23, 4); the people compelled Cleopatra III. to choose Soter II. as her associate (Just. xxxiv. 3, 2). In Syria, the usurper Tryphon bases his right upon an election by the “people” (Just. xxxvi. 1, 7) or “the army” (Jos. Ant. xiii. § 219). Where it is a case of delegating some part of the supreme authority, as when Seleucus I. made his son Antiochus king for the eastern provinces, we find the army convoked to ratify the appointment (App. Syr. 61). So too the people is spoken of as appointing the guardians of a king during his minority (Just. xxxiv. 3, 6). Nor was the power of the army a fiction. The Hellenistic monarchies rested, as all government in the last resort must, upon the loyalty of those who wielded the brute force of the state, and however unlimited the powers of the king might be in theory, he could not alienate the goodwill of the army with impunity. The right of primogeniture in succession was recognized as a general principle; a woman, however, might succeed only so long as there were no male agnates. Illegitimate children had no rights of succession. In disturbed times, of course, right yielded to might or to practical necessities.
The practice by which the king associated a son with himself, as secondary king, dates from the very beginning of the kingdoms of the Successors; Antigonus on assuming the diadem in 306 caused Demetrius also to bear the title of king. Some ten years later Seleucus appointed Antiochus as king for the eastern provinces. Thenceforth the practice is a common one. But the cases of it fall into two classes. Sometimes the subordinate or joint kingship implies real functions. In the Seleucid kingdom the territorial expanse of the realm made the creation of a distinct subordinate government for part of it a measure of practical convenience. Sometimes the joint-king is merely titular, an infant of tender years, as for instance Antiochus Eupator, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, or Ptolemy Eupator, the son of Ptolemy Philometor. The object here is to secure the succession in the event of the supreme king’s dying whilst his heir is an infant. The king’s government was carried on by officials appointed by him and responsible to him alone. Government at the same time, as an Oriental despotism understands it, often has little in view but the gathering in of the tribute and compulsion of the subjects to personal service in the army or in royal works, and if satisfied in these respects will leave much independence to the local authorities. In the loosely-knit Seleucid realm it is plain that a great deal more independence was left to the various communities,—cities or native tribes,—than in Egypt, where the conditions made a bureaucratic system so easy to carry through. In their outlying possessions the Ptolemies may have suffered as much local independence as the Seleucids; the internal government of Jerusalem, for instance, was left to the high priests. In so far as the older Greek cities fell within their sphere of power, the successors of Alexander were forced to the same ambiguous policy as Alexander had been, between recognizing the cities’ unabated claim to sovereign independence and the necessity of attaching them securely. In Asia Minor, the “enslavement” and liberation of cities alternated with the circumstances of the hour, while the kings all through professed themselves the champions of Hellenic freedom, and were ready on occasion to display munificence toward the city temples or in public works, such as might reconcile republicans to a position of dependence. Antiochus III. went so far as to write on one occasion to the subject Greek cities that if any royal mandate clashed with the civic laws it was to be disregarded (Plut. Imp. et duc. apophth.). But it was the old cry of the “autonomy of the Hellenes,” raised by Smyrna and Lampsacus, which ultimately brought Antiochus III. into collision with Rome. How anxious the Pergamene kings, with their ardent Hellenism, were to avoid offence is shown by the elaborate forms by which, in their own capital, they sought to give their real control the appearance of popular freedom (Cardinali, Regno di Pergamo, p. 281 seq.). A similar problem confronted the Antigonid dynasty in the cities of Greece itself, for to maintain a predominant influence in Greece was a ground-principle of their policy. Demetrius had presented himself in 307 as the liberator, and driven the Macedonian garrison from the Peiraeus; but his own garrisons held Athens thirteen years later, when he was king of Macedonia, and the Antigonid dynasty clung to the points of vantage in Greece, especially Chalcis and Corinth, till their garrisons were finally expelled by the Romans in the name of Hellenic liberty.
The new movement of commerce initiated by the conquest of Alexander continued under his successors, though the break-up of the Macedonian Empire in Asia in the 3rd century and the distractions of the Seleucid court must have withheld many 3. Commerce. advantages from the Greek merchants which a strong central government might have afforded them. It was along the great trade-routes between India and the West that the main stream of riches flowed then as in later centuries. One of these routes was by sea to south-west Arabia (Yemen), and thence up the Red Sea to Alexandria. This was the route controlled and developed by the Ptolemaïc kings. Between Yemen and India the traffic till Roman times was mainly in the hands of Arabians or Indians; between Alexandria and Yemen it was carried by Greeks (Strabo ii. 118). The west coast of the Red Sea was dotted with commercial stations of royal foundation from Arsinoë north of Suez to Arsinoë in the south near the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb. From Berenice on the Red Sea a land-route struck across to the Nile at Coptos; this route the kings furnished with watering stations. That there might also be a waterway between Alexandria and the Red Sea, they cut a canal between the Delta and the northern Arsinoë. It was Alexandria into which this stream of traffic poured and made it the commercial metropolis of the world. We hear of direct diplomatic intercourse between the courts of Alexandria and Pataliputra, i.e. Patna (Plin. vi. § 58). An alternative route went from the Indian ports to the Persian Gulf, and thence found the Mediterranean by caravan across Arabia from the country of Gerrha to Gaza; and to control it was no doubt a motive in the long struggle of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid houses for Palestine, as well as in the attempt of Antiochus III. to subjugate the Gerrhaeans. Or from the Persian Gulf wares might be taken up the Euphrates and carried across to Antioch; this route lay altogether in the Seleucid sphere. With Iran Antioch was connected most directly by the road which crossed the Euphrates at the Zeugma and went through Edessa and Antioch-Nisibis to the Tigris. The trade from India which went down the Oxus and then to the Caspian does not seem to have been considerable (Tarn, Journ. of Hell. Stud. xxi. 10 seq.). From Antioch to the Aegean the land high-road went across Asia Minor by the Cilician Gates and the Phrygian Apamea.
Of the financial organization of the Macedonian kingdoms we know practically nothing, except in the case of Egypt. Here the papyri and ostraca have put a large material at our disposal, but the circumstances in Egypt 4. Finance. were too peculiar for us to generalize upon these data as to the Seleucid and Antigonid realms. That the Seleucid kings drew in a principal part of their revenues from tribute levied upon the various native races, distributed in their village communities as tillers of the soil goes without saying. In districts left in the hands of native chiefs these chiefs would themselves exploit their villages and pay the Seleucid court and tribute. To exact tribute from Greek cities was invidious, but both Antigonid and Seleucid kings often did so (Antigonid, Diog. Laërt. II., 140; Plut. Dem. 27; Seleucid, Michel, No. 37; Polyb. xxi. 43, 2). Sometimes, no doubt, this tribute was demanded under a fairer name, as the contribution of any ally (σύνταξις, not φόρος), like the Γαλατικά levied by Antiochus I. (Michel, No. 37; cf. Polyb. xxii. 27, 2). The royal domains, again, and royal monopolies, such as salt-mines, were a source of revenue. As to indirect taxes, like customs and harbour dues, while their existence is a matter of course (cf. Polyb. v. 89, 8), their scale, nature and amount is quite unknown to us. Whatever the financial system of the Antigonid and Seleucid kingdoms may have been, it is clear that they were far from enjoying the affluence of the Ptolemaic. During the first Seleucid reigns indeed the revenues of Asia may have filled its treasuries (see Just. xvii. 2, 13), but Antiochus III. already at his accession found them depleted (Polyb. v. 50, 1), and from his reign financial embarrassment, coupled with extravagant expenditure, was here the usual condition of things. Perseus, the last of the Antigonid house, amassed a substantial treasure for the expenses of the supreme struggle with Rome (Polyb. xviii. 35, 4; Liv. xlv, 40), but it was by means of almost miserly economies.
Special officials were naturally attached to the service of the finances. Over the whole department in the Seleucid realm there presided a single chief (ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν προσόδων, App. Syr. 45). How far the financial administration was removed from the competence of the provincial governors, as it seems to have been in Alexander’s system, we cannot say. Seleucus at any rate, as satrap of Babylonia, controlled the finances of the province (Diod. xix. 55, 3), and so, in the Ptolemaic system, did the governor of Cyprus (Polyb. xxvii. 13). The fact that provincial officials ἐπὶ πῶν προσόδων (in Eriza, Bull. corr. hell. xv. 556) are found does not prove anything, since it leaves open the question of their being subordinate to the governor.
With the exception of Ptolemaic Egypt, the Macedonian kingdoms followed in their coinage that of Alexander. Money was for a long while largely struck with Alexander’s own image and superscription; the gold and silver 5. Coinage. coined in the names of Antigonid and Seleucid kings and by the minor principalities of Asia, kept to the Attic standard which Alexander had established. Only in Egypt Ptolemy I. adopted, at first the Rhodian, and afterwards the Phoenician, standard, and on this latter standard the Ptolemaic money was struck during the subsequent centuries. Money was also struck in their own name by the cities in the several dynasties’ spheres of power, but in most cases only bronze or small silver for local use. Corinth, however, was allowed to go on striking staters under Antigonus Gonatas; Ephesus, Cos and the greater cities of Phoenicia retained their right of coinage under Seleucid or Ptolemaic supremacy.
In language and manners the courts of Alexander’s successors were Greek. Even the Macedonian dialect, which it was considered proper for the kings to use on occasion, was often forgotten (Plut. Ant. 27). The Oriental features which 6. The Court. Alexander had introduced were not copied. There was no proskynesis (or certainly not in the case of Greeks and Macedonians), and the king did not wear an Oriental dress. The symbol of royalty, it is true, the diadem, was suggested by the head-band of the old Persian kings (Just. xii. 3, 8); but, whereas, that had been an imposing erection, the Hellenistic diadem was a simple riband. The king’s state dress was the same in principle as that worn by the Macedonian or Thessalian horsemen, as the uniform of his own cavalry officers. Its features were the broad-brimmed hat (kausia), the cloak (chlamys) and the high-laced boots (krepīdes) (Plut. Ant. 54; Frontinus, iii. 2, 11). These, in the case of the king, would be of richer material, colour and adornment. The diadem could be worn round the kausia; the chlamys offered scope for gorgeous embroidery; and the boots might be crimson felt (see the description of Demetrius’ chlamys and boots, Plut. Dem. 41). There were other traces in the Hellenistic courts of the old Macedonian tradition besides in dress. One was the honour given to prowess in the chase (Polyb. xxii. 3, 8; Diod. xxxiv. 34). Another was the fashion for the king to hold wassail with his courtiers, in which he unbent to an extent scandalous to the Greeks, dancing or indulging in routs and practical jokes.
The prominent part taken by the women of the royal house was a Macedonian characteristic. The history of these kingdoms furnishes a long list of queens and princesses who were ambitious and masterful politicians, of which the great Cleopatra is the last and the most famous. The kings after Alexander, with the exception of Demetrius Poliorcetes and Pyrrhus, are not found to have more than one legitimate wife at a time, although they show unstinted freedom in divorce and the number of their mistresses. The custom of marriages between brothers and sisters, agreeable to old Persian as to old Egyptian ethics, was instituted in Egypt by the second Ptolemy when he married his full sister Arsinoë Philadelphus. It was henceforth common, though not invariable, among the Ptolemies. At the Seleucid court there seems to be an instance of it in 195, when the heir-apparent, Antiochus, married his sister Laodice. The style of “sister” was given in both courts to the queen, even when she was not the king’s sister in reality (Strack, Dynastie, Nos. 38, 40, 43; Archiv. f. Papyr, i. 205). The “Friends” of the king are often mentioned. It is usual for him to confer with a council (συνέδριον) of his “Friends” before important decisions, administrative, military or judicial (e.g. Polyb. v. 16, 5; 22, 8). They form a definite body about the king’s person (φίλων σύνταγμα, Polyb. xxxi. 3, 7); cf. οἱ φίλοι in contrast with αἱ δυνάμεις, id. v. 50, 9), admission into which depends upon his favour alone, and is accorded, not only to his subjects, but to aliens, such as the Greek refugee politicians (e.g. Hegesianax, Athen. iv. 155b; Hannibal and the Aetolian Thoas take part in the councils of Antiochus III. A similar body, with a title corresponding to φίλοι, is found in ancient Egypt (Erman, Ancient Egypt, Eng. trans., p. 72) and in Persia (Spiegel. Eran. Alt. iii. 626); but some such support is so obviously required by the necessities of a despot’s position that we need not suppose it derived from any particular precedent. The Friends (at any rate under the later Seleucid and Ptolemaïc reigns) were distinguished by a special dress and badge of gold analogous to the stars and crosses of modern orders. The dress was of crimson (πορφύρα); this and the badges were the king’s gift, and except by royal grant neither crimson nor gold might, apparently, be worn at court (1 Macc. 10, 20; 62; 89; 11, 58; Athen. v. 211b). The order of Friends was organized in a hierarchy of ranks, which were multiplied as time went on. In Egypt we find them classified as συγγενεῖς, ὁμότιμοι τοῖς συγγενέσιν, ἀρχισωματοφύλακες, πρῶτοι φίλοι, φίλοι (in the narrower sense), διάδοχοι. For the Seleucid kingdom συγγενεῖς, πρῶτοι φίλοι and φίλοι are mentioned. These classes do not appear in Egypt before the 2nd century; Strack conjectures that they were created in imitation of the Seleucid court. We have no direct evidence as to the institutions of the Seleucid court in the 3rd century. Certain σωματοφύλακες of Antiochus I. are mentioned, but we do not know whether the name was not then used in its natural sense (Strack, Rhein. Mus. LV., 1900, p. 161 seq.; Wilamowitz, Archiv f. Pap. I., p. 225; Beloch, Gr. Gesch. iii (i), p. 391). As to Macedonia, whatever may have been the constitution of the court, it is implied that it offered in its externals a sober plainness in comparison with the vain display and ceremonious frivolities of Antioch and Alexandria (Polyb. xvi, 22, 5; Plut. Cleom. 31; Arat, 15). The position of a Friend did not carry with it necessarily any functions; it was in itself purely honorary. The ministers and high officials were, on the other hand, regularly invested with one or other of the ranks specified. The chief of these ministers is denoted ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν πραγμάτων, and he corresponds to the vizier of the later East. All departments of government are under his supervision, and he regularly holds the highest rank of a kinsman. When the king is a minor, he acts as guardian or regent (ἐπίτροπος). Over different departments of state we find a state secretary (ἐπιστολογράφος or ὑπομνηματογράφος: Seleucid, Polyb. xxxi, 3, 16; Ptolemaic, Strack, Inschriften 103) and a minister of finance (ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν προσόδων in the Seleucid kingdom; App. Syr. 45; διοικήτης in Egypt, Lumbroso, Econ. Pol. p. 339). Under each of these great heads of departments was a host of lower officials, those, for instance, who held to the province a relation analogous to that of the head of the department of the realm. Such a provincial authority is described as ἐπὶ τῶν προσόδων in the inscription of Eriza (Bull. corr. hell. xv. 556). Beside the officials concerned with the work of government we have those of the royal household: (1) the chief-physician, ἀρχιατρός (for the Seleucid see App. Syr. 59; Polyb. v. 56, 1; Michel, No. 1158; for the Pontic, Bull. corr. hell. vii. 354 seq.); (2) the chief-huntsman, ἀρχικυνηγός (Dittenb. Orient. Graec. 99); (3) the maître-d’hôtel ἀρχεδέατρος (Dittenb. Orient. Graec. 169) (4) the lord of the queen’s bedchamber, ὁ επὶ τοῦ κοιτῶνος τὴς βασιλίσσης (Dittenb. Orient. Graec. 256). As in the older Oriental courts, the high positions were often filled by eunuchs (e.g. Craterus, in last mentioned inscription).
It was customary, as in Persia and in old Macedonia, for the great men of the realm to send their children to court to be brought up with the children of the royal house. Those who had been so brought up with the king were styled his σύντροφοι (for the Seleucid, Polyb. v. 82, 8 and xxxi. 21, 2; Bull. corr. hell. i. 285; 2 Macc. ix. 29; for the Ptolemaic σύντροφοι παίδισκαι of the queen, Polyb. xv. 33, 11; for the Pontic, Bull. corr. hell. vii. 355; for the Pergamene. Polyb. xxxii. 27, 10, &c.; for the Herodian, Acts 13). It is perfectly gratuitous to suppose with Deissmann that “the fundamental meaning had given place to the general meaning of intimate friend.” With this custom we may perhaps bring into connexion the office of τροφεύς (Polyb. xxxi. 20, 3; Michel, No. 1158). As under Alexander, so under his successors, we find a corps of βασιλικοί παῖδες. They appear as a corps, 600 strong, in a triumphal procession at Antioch (Polyb. xxxi. 3, 17; cf. v. 82, 13; Antigonid, Livy, xlv. 6; cf. Curtius, viii. 6, 6).
All the Hellenistic courts felt it a great part of prestige to be filled with the light of Hellenic culture. A distinguished philosopher or man of letters would find them bidding for his presence, and most of the great names are 7. Hellenic Culture. associated with one or other of the contemporary kings. Antigonus Gonatas, bluff soldier-spirit that he was, heard the Stoic philosophers gladly, and, though he failed to induce Zeno to come to Macedonia, persuaded Zeno’s disciple, Persaeus of Citium, to enter his service. Nor was it philosophers only who made his court illustrious, but poets like Aratus. The Ptolemaic court, with the museum attached to it, is so prominent in the literary and scientific history of the age that it is unnecessary to give a list of the philosophers, the men of letters and science, who at one time or other ate at King Ptolemy’s table. One may notice that the first Ptolemy himself made a contribution of some value to historical literature in his account of Alexander’s campaigns; the fourth Ptolemy not only instituted a cult of Homer but himself published tragedies; and even Ptolemy Euergetes II. issued a book of memoirs. The Pergamene court was in no degree behind the Ptolemaic in its literary and artistic zeal. The notable school of sculpture connected with it is treated elsewhere (see Greek Art); to its literary school we probably owe in great part the preservation of the masterpieces of Attic prose (Susemihl I., p. 4), and two of its kings (Eumenes I. and Attalus III.) were themselves authors. The Seleucid court did not rival either of the last named in brilliance of culture; and yet some names of distinction were associated with it. Under Antiochus I. Aratus carried out a recension of the Odyssey, and Berossus composed a Babylonian history in Greek; under Antiochus III. Euphorion was made keeper of the library at Antioch. Antiochus IV., of course, the enthusiastic Hellenist, filled Antioch with Greek artists and gave a royal welcome to Athenian philosophers. Even in the degenerate days of the dynasty, Antiochus Grypus, who had been brought up at Athens, aspired to shine as a poet. The values recognized in the great Hellenistic courts and the Greek world generally imposed their authority upon the dynasties of barbarian origin. The Cappadocian court admitted the full stream of Hellenistic culture under Ariarathes V. (Diod. xxxi. 19, 8). One of the kings called Nicomedes in Bithynia offered immense sums to acquire the Aphrodite of Praxiteles from the Cnidians (Plin. N.H. xxxvi. 21), and to a king Nicomedes the geographical poem of the Pseudo-Scymnus is dedicated. Even Iranian kings in the last century B.C. found pleasure in composing, or listening to, Greek tragedies, and Herod the Great kept Greek men of letters beside him and had spasmodic ambitions to make his mark as an orator or author (Nicol. Dam. frag. 4; F.H.G. III. p. 350).
The offering of divine honours to the king, which we saw begin under Alexander, became stereotyped in the institutions of the succeeding Hellenistic kingdoms. Alexander himself was after his death the object of various 8. Divine Honours. local cults, like that which centred in the shrine near Erythrae (Strabo, xiv. 644). His successors in the first years after his death recognized him officially as a divinity, except Antipater (Suïdas, s.v. Αντίπατρος), and coins began to be issued with his image. At Alexandria the state cult of him seems to have been instituted by the second Ptolemy, when his body was laid in the Sema (Otto, Priester u. Tempel, i. 139 seq.). The successors themselves received divine honours. Such worship might be the spontaneous homage of a particular Greek community, like that offered to Antigonus by Scepsis in 311 (Journ. of Hell. Stud. xix. 335 seq.), the Antigonus and Demetrius by Athens in 307, to Ptolemy I. by the Rhodians in 304, or by Cassandrea to Cassander, as the city’s founder (Ditt. 2nd ed. 178); or it might be organized and maintained by royal authority. The first proved instance of a cult of the latter kind is that instituted at Alexandria by the second Ptolemy for his father soon after the latter’s death in 283/2, in which, some time after, 279/8, he associated his mother Berenice also, the two being worshipped together as θεοὶ σωτῆρες (Theoc. xvii. 121 seq.). Antiochus I. followed the Ptolemaic precedent by instituting at Seleucia-in-Pieria a cult for his father as Seleucus Zeus Nicator. So far we can point to no instance of a cult of the living sovereign (though the cities might institute such locally) being established by the court for the realm. This step was taken in Egypt after the death of Arsinoë Philadelphus (271) when she and her still-living brother-husband, Ptolemy II., began to be worshipped together as θεοὶ ἀδελφοί. After this the cult of the reigning king and queen was regularly maintained in Greek Egypt, side by side with that of the dead Ptolemies. Under Antiochus II. (261-246) a document shows us a cult of the reigning king in full working for the Seleucid realm, with a high priest in each province, appointed by the king himself; the document declares that the Queen Laodice is now to be associated with the king. The official surname of Antiochus II., Theos, suggests that he himself had here been the innovator. Thenceforward, in the Hellenistic kingdoms of the East the worship of the living sovereign became the rule, although it appears to have been regarded as given in anticipation of an apotheosis which did not become actual till death. In the Pergamene kingdom at any rate, though the living king was worshipped with sacrifice, the title θεός was only given to those who were dead (Cardinali, Regno di Pergamo, p. 153). The Antigonid dynasty, simpler and saner in its manners, had no official cult of this sort. The divine honours offered on occasion by the Greek cities were the independent acts of the cities.
See Plut. Arat. 45; Cleom. 16; Kornemann, “Zur Gesch. d. antiken Herrscherkulte” in Beiträge z. alt. Gesch. i. 51 sqq.; Otto, Priester u. Tempel, pp. 138 seq.
There does not seem any clear proof that the surnames which the Hellenistic kings in Asia and Egypt bore were necessarily connected with the cult, even if they were used to describe the various kings in religious ceremonies. Some had 9. Surnames. doubtless a religious colour, Theos, Epiphanes, Soter; others a dynastic, Phitopator, Philometor, Philadelphus. Under what circumstances, and by whose selection, the surname was attached to a king, is obscure. It is noteworthy that while modern books commonly speak of the surnames as assumed, the explanations given by our ancient authorities almost invariably suppose them to be given as marks of homage or gratitude (English Historical Review, xvi. 629 (1901). The official surnames must not, of course, be confused with the popular nicknames which were naturally not recognized by the court, e.g. Ceraunus (“Thunder”), Hierax (“Hawk”), Physcon (“Pot-belly”), Lathyrus (“Chick-pea”).
The armies of Alexander’s successors were still in the main principles of their organization similar to the army with which Alexander had conquered Asia. During the years immediately after Alexander the very Macedonians who had fought 10. Armies. under Alexander were ranged against each other under the banners of the several chiefs. The most noted corps of veterans, Argyraspides (i.e. the royal Hypaspistae) played a great part in the first wars of the successors, and covered themselves with infamy by their betrayal of Eumenes. As the soldiers of Alexander died off, fresh levies of home-born Macedonians could be raised only by the chief who held the motherland. The other chiefs had to supply themselves with Macedonians from the numerous colonies planted before the break-up of the empire in Asia or Egypt, and from such Macedonians they continued for the next two centuries to form their phalanx. The breed—at least if the statement which Livy puts into the mouth of a Roman general can be relied on—degenerated greatly under Asiatic and Egyptian skies (Liv. xxxviii. 17, 10); but still old names like that of pezetaeri attached to the phalangites (Plut. Tib. 17), and they still wielded the national sarissa. The latter weapon in the interval between Alexander and the time of Polybius had been increased to a length of 21 ft. (Polyb. xviii. 12), a proportion inconsistent with any degree of mobility; once more indeed the phalanx of the 2nd century seems to have become a body effective by sheer weight only and disordered by unevenness of ground. The Antigonid kings were never able from Macedonian levies to put in the field a phalanx of more than 20,000 at the utmost (Liv. xlii. 51); Antigonus Doson takes with him to Greece (in 222) one of 10,000 only. The phalanx of Antiochus III. at Raphia numbered 20,000, and Ptolemy Philopator was able at the same time to form one of 25,000 men (Polyb. v. 4). As these phalangites are distinguished both from the Greek mercenaries and the native Egyptian levies, it looks (although such a fact would be staggering) as if more Macedonians could be raised for military service in Egypt than in Macedonia itself (but see Beloch, p. 353). The royal foot-guards are still described in Macedonia in 171 as the agema (Polyb. v. 25, 1; 27, 3; Liv. xlii. 51), when they number 2000; at the Ptolemaic court in 217 the agema had numbered 3000 (Polyb. v. 65, 2); and a similar corps of hypaspistae is indicated in the Seleucid army (Polyb. vii. 16, 2; xvi. 18, 7). So too the old name of “Companions” was kept up in the Seleucid kingdom for the Macedonian cavalry (see Polyb. v. 53, 4, &c.), and divisions of rank in it are still indicated by the terms agema and royal squadron (βασιλικὴ ἵλη, see Bevan, House of Seleucus, ii. 288). The Antigonid and Seleucid courts had much valuable material at hand for their armies in the barbarian races under their sway. The Balkan hill-peoples of Illyrian or Thracian stock, the hill-peoples of Asia Minor and Iran, the chivalry of Media and Bactria, the mounted bowmen of the Caspian steppes, the camel-riders of the Arabian desert, could all be turned to account. Iranian troops seem to have been employed on a large scale by the earlier Seleucids. At Raphia, Antiochus III. had 10,000 men drawn from the provinces, armed and drilled as Macedonians, and another corps of Iranians numbering 5000 under a native commander (Polyb. v. 79). The experiment of arming the native Egyptians on a large scale does not seem to have been made before the campaign of 217, when Ptolemy IV. formed corps of the Macedonian pattern from Egyptians and Libyans (cf. Polyb. v. 107, 2; Ptolemy I. had employed Egyptians in the army, though chiefly as carriers, Diod. xix. 80, 4). From this time native rebellions in Egypt are recurrent. To the troops drawn from their own dominions the mercenaries which the kings procured from abroad were an important supplement. These were mainly the bands of Greek condottieri, and even for their home-born troops Greek officers of renown were often engaged. The other class of mercenaries were Gauls, and from the time of the Gallic invasion of Asia Minor in 279 Gauls or Galatians were a regular constituent in all armies. They were a weapon apt to be dangerous to the employer, but the terror they inspired was such that every potentate sought to get hold of them. The elephants which Alexander brought back from India were used in the armies of his successors, and in 302 Seleucus procured a new supply. Thenceforward elephants, either brought fresh from India or bred in the royal stables at Apamea, regularly figured in the Seleucid armies. The Ptolemies supplied themselves with this arm from the southern coasts of the Red Sea, where they established stations for the capture and shipping of elephants, but the African variety was held inferior to the Indian. Scythed chariots such as had figured in the old Persian armies were still used by the Greek masters of Asia (Seleucus I., Diod. xx. 113, 4; Molon, Polyb. v. 53, 10; Antiochus III., Liv. xxxvii. 41), at any rate till the battle of Magnesia. The Hellenistic armies were distinguished by their external magnificence. They made a greater display of brilliant metal and gorgeous colour than the Roman armies, for instance. The description given by Justin of the army which Antiochus Sidetes took to the East in 130 B.C., boot-nails and bridles of gold, gives an idea of their standard of splendour (Just. xxxviii. 10, 1; cf. Polyb. xxxi. 3; Plut. Eum. 14; id. Aemil. 18; id. Sulla, 16).
During the 3rd century B.C. Egypt was the greatest sea power of the eastern Mediterranean, and maintained a large fleet (the figures in App. Prooem, 10 are not trustworthy, see Beloch III. [i.], 364). Its control of the Aegean was, however, contested not without success by the Antigonids, who won the two great sea-fights of Cos (c. 256) and Andros (227), and wrested the overlordship of the Cyclades from the Ptolemies. Of the numbers and constitution of the Antigonid fleet we know nothing. At the Seleucid court in 222 the admiral (ναύαρχος) appears as a person of high consideration (Polyb. v. 43, 1); in his war with Rome Antiochus III. had 107 decked battleships on the sea at one time. By the Peace of Apamea (188) the Seleucid navy was abolished; Antiochus undertook to keep no more than 10 ships of war.
For the Hellenistic armies and fleets see A. Bauer in L. von Müller’s Handbuch, vol. iv.; Delbrück, Gesch. d. Kriegskunst (1900).
To their native subjects the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings were always foreigners. It was considered wonderful in the last Cleopatra that she learnt to speak Egyptian (Plut. Anton. 27). Natives were employed, as we have 11. Treatment of Subject Peoples. seen, in the army, and Iranians are found under the Seleucids holding high commands, e.g. Aspasianus the Mede (Polyb. v. 79, 7), Aribazus, governor of Cilicia (Flinders Petrie, Papyri, II., No. 45), Aribazus, governor of Sardis (Polyb. vii. 17, 9), and Omanes (Michel, No. 19, l. 104). Native cults the Hellenistic kings thought it good policy to patronize. Antiochus I. began rebuilding the temple of Nebo at Borsippa (Keilinschr. Bibl. iii. 2, 136 seq.) Antiochus III. bestowed favours on the Temple at Jerusalem. Even if the documents in Joseph, Arch. xii. §§ 138 seq. are spurious, their general view of the relation of Antiochus III. and Jerusalem is probably true. Even small local worships, like that of the village of Baetocaece, might secure royal patronage (C.I.G. No. 4474). Of course, financial straits might drive the kings to lay hands on temple-treasures, as Antiochus III. and Antiochus IV. did, but that was a measure of emergency.
The Macedonian kingdoms, strained by continual wars, increasingly divided against themselves, falling often under the sway of prodigals and debauchees, were far from realizing the Hellenic idea of sound government 12. Significance of Macedonian Rule. as against the crude barbaric despotisms of the older East. Yet, in spite of all corruption, ideas of the intelligent development of the subject lands, visions of the Hellenic king, as the Greek thinkers had come to picture him, haunted the Macedonian rulers, and perhaps fitfully, in the intervals of war or carousal, prompted some degree of action. Treatises “Concerning Kingship” were produced as a regular thing by philosophers, and kings who claimed the fine flower of Hellenism, could not but peruse them. Strabo regards the loss of the eastern provinces to the Parthians as their passage under a government of lower type, beyond the sphere of Hellenic ἐπιμέγεια (Strabo xi. 509). In the organization of the administrative machinery of these kingdoms, the higher power of the Hellene to adapt and combine had been operative; they were organisms of a richer, more complex type than the East had hitherto known. It was thus that when Rome became a world-empire, it found to some extent the forms of government ready made, and took over from the Hellenistic monarchies a tradition which it handed on to the later world.
Authorities.—For the general history of the Macedonian kingdoms, see Droysen, Histoire de l’Hellénisme (the French translation by Bouché-Leclercq, 1883–1885, represents the work in its final revision); A. Holm, History of Greece, vol. iv. (1894); B. Niese, Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Staaten (1893–1903); Kaerst, Gesch. des hellenist. Zeitalters, vol. i. (1901). A masterly conspectus of the general character of the Hellenistic kingdoms in their political, economic and social character, their artistic and intellectual culture is given by Beloch, Griech. Gesch. iii. (i.), 260–556; see also Kaerst, Studien zur Entwicklung d. Monarchie; E. Breccia, Il Diritto dinastico helle monarchie dei successori d’Alessandro Magno (1903). Popular sketches of the history, enlightened by special knowledge and a wide outlook, are given by J. P. Mahaffy, Alexander’s Empire (“Stories of the Nations Series”); Progress of Hellenism in Alexander’s Empire (1905); The Silver Age of the Greek World (1906). See also Hellenism; Ptolemies; Seleucid Dynasty. (E. R. B.)
- For the events which brought this empire into being see Alexander the Great. For the detailed accounts of the separate dynasties into which it was divided after Alexander’s death, see Seleucid Dynasty, Antigonus, Pergamum, &c., and for its effect on the spread of Hellenic culture see Hellenism.
- For details see separate articles on the chief generals.
- For Ptolemaic Egypt, see Ptolemies and Egypt.
- A tenth of the produce is suggested to have been the normal tax by what the Romans found obtaining in the Attalid kingdom. The references given by Beloch (Griech. Gesch. iii. [i.], p. 343) to prove it for the Seleucid kingdom are questionable. Beloch refers (1) to the letter of Demetrius II. to Lasthenes in which δεκαταὶ καὶ τὰ τέλη are mentioned, 1 Macc. 11, 35 (Beloch, by an oversight, refers to the paraphrase of the documents in Joseph. Ant. xiii. 4, § 126 seq., in which the mention of the δεκαταί is omitted!). The authenticity of this document is, however, very doubtful. He refers (2) to Dittenb. 171 (1st ed.), line 101; but here the tax seems to be, not an imperial one, but one paid to the city of Smyrna.
- The salt monopoly is mentioned in 1 Macc. 10, 29; 11, 35, a suspected source, but supported in this detail by the analogy of Ptolemaic Egypt and Rome. For domains in Antigonid, Attalid and Bithynian realms, see Cic. De leg. agr. ii. 19, 50.
- Antiochus Epiphanes was an extreme case. For the Antigonid court see Diog. Laërt. vii. 13; Plut. Arat. 17; for the Seleucid, Athen. iv. 155b; v. 211a; for the Ptolemaic, Diog. L. vii. 177; Athen. vi. 246c; Plut. Cleom. 33; Just. xxx. 1.
- For the Antigonid ναύαρχος or admiral, see Polyb. xvi. 6.