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Seleucids  

Susan Mary Sherwin-White and R. J. van der Spek

Rulers of the empire founded by *Seleucus (1) I , governing a vast realm, sometimes called ‘Asia’, stretching from modern Turkey to Afghanistan. The Seleucids from the start continued (and adapted) *Achaemenid institutions in the army (use of local peoples), in administration (e.g. taxation and satrapal organization; see satrap ), the use of plural ‘royal capitals’ ( *Seleuceia (1) on Tigris , *Antioch (1) , *Sardis ), the use of local languages (and people) in local bureaucracy; also, from the beginning, *Babylon, *Babylonia , and the Babylonian kingship were central, in Seleucid planning, to an empire, the pivotal point of which, joining east and west, was the Fertile Crescent. New was the policy of founding a great number of cities and veteran colonies all over the empire (see *Colonization, Hellenistic ). *Antiochus (3) III conquered southern Syria and Palestine from Egypt (c. 200), but by the peace of Apamea (188), negotiated with Rome, the Seleucids gave up possessions north of the Taurus mountains in Anatolia.

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Seleucus (1) I Nicator, 'Conqueror', founder of the Seleucid empire, c. 358–281 BCE  

Guy Thompson Griffith, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleucus (1) I Nicator, founder of the *Seleucid empire, fought with *Alexander (3) the Great as ‘companion’ (hetairos), from 326 as commander of the elite corps of hypaspistai; after Alexander's death commander of the Companion cavalry (323–320), satrap of Babylonia (320–316 or 315), self-appointed stratēgos of Asia (311–305) and king (305–281).After Alexander's death, his empire became a bone of contention for his generals. In Babylon *Perdiccas was nominated chiliarchos, ‘Grand Vizier’, but jealousy of the other generals led to the First Diadoch War (322–320) and his assassination by Seleucus, when he tried to invade Egypt, the satrapy of *Ptolemy I (320 bce). At Triparadeisos in Syria a new division of satrapies was agreed in which Seleucus received Babylonia, *Antigonus (1) I Monophthalmus Phrygia and the supreme command over the army in Asia (stratēgos of Asia).

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Seleucus (2) II Callinicus, 'Gloriously Victorious', Seleucid king, c. 265–225 BCE  

Guy Thompson Griffith, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleucus (2) II Callinicus, king of the *Seleucid empire (246–226/5 or 225/4bce), the eldest son of *Antiochus (2) II and *Laodice (2). Seleucus' accession was immediately contested by *Ptolemy (1) III who tried to defend the right of the son of Antiochus II's second wife and his own sister *Berenice (2), invaded Syria, took Seleucia in Pieria and Antioch and proceeded as far as Babylon (‘Third Syrian War,’ 246–241; App. Syr. 65, Polyaenus, Strat. 8.50; BCHP 11). Seleucus, however, was immediately accepted as (sole) king in Asia Minor and Babylonia, Berenice and her son were murdered, and Ptolemy had to return to Egypt in 245 (Just. Epit. 27.1.9). *Seleucia in Pieria, however, remained in Ptolemaic hands until 219. Later he had to cope with the claims of his younger brother *Antiochus (8) Hierax in Asia Minor, which led to the ‘War of the Brothers’.

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Seleucus (3) III Ceraunus, 'Thunderbolt', Seleucid king, c. 243–222 BCE  

Susan Mary Sherwin-White and R. J. van der Spek

Seleucus (3) III Ceraunus, king of the Seleucid empire (226/5 or 225/4–222bce), eldest son of *Seleucus (2) II. His original name was Alexandros (PorphyryFGrH 260 F 32,9). He subsidized the New Year Festival in *Babylon (BCHP 12). He was assassinated while on a campaign against *Attalus I of Pergamum trying to regain Seleucid possessions in Asia Minor.

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Seleucus (4) IV Philopator, 'Father-lover', Seleucid king, c. 218–175 BCE  

Guy Thompson Griffith, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleucus (4) IV Philopator, king of the *Seleucid empire (187–175 bce), second son of *Antiochus (3) III, was made co-regent after the battle of Magnesia (189; see magnesia, battle of). In his reign he maintained careful relations with Rome (his brother *Antiochus (4) IV was hostage in Rome) and observed the harsh terms of the peace of Apamea (188), which forbade the Seleucid navy to sail west of the river Calycadnus and the promontory of Sarpedon on offensive missions. However, Seleucus toyed with the notion of intervening to support *Pharnaces (1) I, king of Pontus, against Pergamum (Diod. Sic. 29. 24). Seleucus is depicted as patron (II Macc. 3: 3; Cotton, Wörrle2007) and a despoiler of temples (II Macc. 3:7ff). At the end of his reign Seleucus exchanged his brother Antiochus for his son *Demetrius (10) to serve as hostage in Rome. Seleucus was assassinated in 175 by his highest officer Heliodorus.

Article

Semiramis  

Stephanie Dalley

Semiramis in history was Sammuramat, wife of Shamshi-Adad V of *Assyria, mother of Adadnirari III, with whom she campaigned against *Commagene in 805 bce. Her inscribed stela stood with stelae of kings and high officials in As̆s̆ur. In Greek legend, she was the daughter of the Syrian goddess Derceto at Ascalon, wife of Onnes (probably the first Sumerian sage Oannes) and then of Ninos, eponymous king of *Nineveh; she conquered ‘*Bactria’ and built ‘*Babylon’ (Berossus denied this). In Armenian legend, she conquered *Armenia (ancient *Urartu), built a palace and waterworks, and left inscriptions.

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Semitic  

J. F. Healey

Semitic, a term derived from the Old Testament personal name Shem, refers to a middle eastern language group (used linguistically by A. L. Schlözer in 1781, though J. G. Eichhorn claimed priority). Principal ancient constituents are *Akkadian, Ugaritic (see ugarit), Phoenician (see phoenicians), *Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew, Sabaic, and Ethiopic (Ge῾ez).

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Septimius Odaenathus  

John Frederic Dobson

Septimius Odaenathus, a Palmyrene noble (see palmyra) who from c. 250 ce cleverly exploited the weaknesses of Rome and Persia (see sasanids) to establish his city, with himself as its king, as a major power in the east. Already a valued ally under *Valerian, *Gallienus rewarded him with the titles *dux and *correctortotius Orientis ‘of the whole east’ for his help against *Sapor I and Quietus (see fulvius iunius macrianus, t.), and thereby entrusted him with the protection of the eastern empire. Though Odaenathus enjoyed further significant successes against Persia, he always carefully acknowledged the suzerainty of Rome, and thus justified Gallienus' policy of laissez faire, following the death of Valerian. However, Palmyra's irregular position caused increasing stress on both sides, creating a problem that could not long go unresolved. Killed in a family quarrel in 267, Odaenathus was effectively succeeded by his widow, *Zenobia.

Article

Seres  

Nicholas Purcell

Seres, the name ‘silk-people’, is little more than a conventional label for the most remote inhabitants of Asia, source of the finest silk (as opposed to the various other insect-derived textiles known in various parts of the Old World: see silk) and of celebrated iron and hides. The details are idealized and fantastic, and have very little to do with the reality of China; and the origin of silk was in any case attributed, not untypically, to various peoples along the routes by which it reached the west, including probably the inhabitants of the Tibetan plateau and the central Asian oases: silk was, in any case, produced in *India too by the Hellenistic period. While the nebulous and adjustable idea of the Seres had a long life in the high geographical/literary tradition, actual commercial contacts were providing a different picture, reflected for us first in the Periplus Maris Erythraei (1st cent.

Article

Sesostris  

Alan Brian Lloyd

Sesostris (Hdt. 2. 102–10) was a legendary Egyptian king to whom were ascribed great conquests in Africa and Asia. Though based on several rulers of the Twelfth Dynasty called Senwosret, he ultimately became an embodiment of the ideal of Egyptian kingship much used in nationalist propaganda. The lengthy discussions of *Herodotus (1) and *Diodorus (3) are evidence of two stages in the development of that tradition but should not be taken seriously as history.

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Set  

Thomas Allan Brady

Set (called Typhon by the Greeks) was a god of Upper Egypt. He appears in the myth of *Osiris as the wicked brother who murders the great god of the underworld and wounds his son *Horus. The role of Set in this myth was well known to the Greeks, hence he is the wicked Typhon in Plutarch's essay concerning *Isis and Osiris (13 ff.

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Sidon  

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, Jean-François Salles, and J. F. Healey

Sidon, a *Phoenician metropolis on the coast of mod. Lebanon. The Sidonians are often synonymous with the Phoenicians in classical texts (e.g. *Homer), and the development of the city is closely bound up with Phoenician and Cypriot (see *Cyprus) history. In Achaemenid times it was ruled by local dynasts, who had close commercial relations with Athens and was strongly Hellenized by the late 4th cent.: this is shown by the sarcophagi of its later rulers and the nearby temple of Eshmun/Asclepius at Bostan esh-Shaikh (the traditional Egyptian style sarcophagus of the early 5th cent. King Eshmunazar bears the second longest Phoenician inscription). *Alexander (3) the Great, according to *Quintus Curtius (4.1.16–26), installed a new ruler after its surrender, but the local dynasts were suppressed in the early 3rd cent. (the last known king was the Ptolemaic admiral Philocles; see Egypt, Ptolemaic), and Sidon became a republic, ruled by suffetes.

Article

Singara  

Eric William Gray and Josef Wiesehöfer

A city in northern Mesopotamia situated on the southern slope of the range of the same name (mod. Jebel Sinjar). Captured by *Trajan in ce 114 and again in *Verus' campaign, it became part of the Roman eastern *limes defences and was an important military base in the frontier province created by *Septimius Severus (garrison of the Legio I Parthica; see legion). Under M. *Aurelius Severus Alexander it became a colonia, but it was captured by the *Sasanid king Sapor II in 360 and in 363 was ceded to the Persians by *Jovian. The Romans made skilful use of the Singara hills in the organization of their Mesopotamian *limes. Singara's importance in this was due to its position on the central Mesopotamian trade route that came into being in the Parthian period (see hatra).

Article

Sinope  

Thomas Robert Shannon Broughton and Stephen Mitchell

Sinope, a town situated almost at the midpoint of the south shore of the *Euxine on an easily defended peninsula with two good harbours about its base, and near the place where the crossing to the Crimea (see chersonesus(2)) is shortest. The promontory is well watered and fertile (*Strabo speaks of market-gardens), the tunny catch was famous, and the mountains noted for their *timber woods. Founded by *Miletus probably in the late-7th cent. (traditionally founded before 756 bce, destroyed by the *Cimmerians and refounded before 600), it early commanded the maritime trade of much of both coasts of the Pontic region (see pontus) and established many colonies along the coast, some of which were tributary to it in *Xenophon (1)'s time. In spite of mountain barriers it drew trade from the interior, notably in Sinopic earth (cinnabar). About 437 it was freed from a tyrant by *Pericles (1) and received Athenian settlers (Plut.

Article

Sippar  

Amélie Kuhrt

Sippar (mod. Abu Habba), c. 28 km. south-west of Baghdad, source of thousands of *cuneiform tablets dating mainly c.2000–1600 bce and from the 7th to the early 5th cents. bce. The temple (Ebabbar) of the sun-god (Shamash) was partially explored by H. Rassam (1881–2); Belgian excavations (1970s) show that Sippar was inhabited until the 2nd cent. ce; late Parthian/Sasanian graves (see parthia; sasanids) were found at nearby Tell ed-Der. In the 1980s, the Iraqis uncovered a large library of literary texts dating to the 1st millennium bce. Sippar's identity with *Pliny (1) the Elder's ‘Hipparenum’ (HN 6. 123) is disputed.

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Siwa  

Antony Spawforth

Siwa, large and fertile *oasis in Egypt's western desert, c.540 km. (335 mi.) south-west of *Alexandria (1), home in antiquity to a populous community of farmers (the Ammonioi) ruled by local chiefs (e.g. Hdt. 2. 31–2), nominally subject to Egypt's rulers. The well-preserved remains of the famous oracular temple of *Ammon, built in the Egyptian style under (probably) *Amasis, are at modern Aghurmi, with the ruins of a second sanctuary of Ammon near by. Excavations at the site of El-Maraki have revealed a Graeco-Egyptian sanctuary with a small Doric temple (also known from early travellers) and a (Greek) inscription recording building work by local landowners under Trajan. Siwa remained a bastion of paganism until at least the 6th cent. ce (Procop.Aed. 6. 2. 16–18).

Article

Smyrna  

William Moir Calder, John Manuel Cook, Antony Spawforth, and Charlotte Roueché

Smyrna (mod. Izmir), a city on the west coast of Asia Minor at the head of the Hermaic Gulf, the natural outlet of the trade of the *Hermus valley and within easy reach of the *Maeander valley. Old Smyrna lay at the NE corner of the gulf. Occupied by Greeks c.1000 bce, the site is important archaeologically, with excavations revealing a Dark Age Greek settlement, its village-like layout replaced in the 7th cent. by a handsome fortified city with regular streets and a peripteral temple (unfinished). Captured by *Alyattesc.600 bce, the city was thereafter inhabited ‘village-fashion’ (Strabo 14. 1. 37). It was refounded on its present site around Mt. Pagus by *Alexander (3) or his successors *Antigonus (1) and *Lysimachus; its Augustan appearance is recorded by Strabo (ibid.). Throughout the Roman period it was famous for its wealth, fine buildings and devotion to science and medicine. A major centre of the *Second Sophistic, it was home to Aelius *Aristides, who persuaded Marcus *Aurelius to restore it after earthquakes in ce 178 and 180.

Article

spices  

Daniel Potts

Spices, from Lat. species, signifying a commodity of special value, commonly a flavoured and aromatic vegetal substance used as a condiment, most often of Asian origin. Spices were classified by *Theophrastus (Ody.) as hot, pungent, biting, bitter, or astringent. They were used to add fragrance to perfumes and to enrich the flavour of *wine, as well as in the preparation of medicines and in cooking. It is apparent that, with the opening up of direct sea trade between Egypt and *India in about the time of Augustus and Tiberius (see monsoon), much more scope existed than previously for the importation of a wide variety of spices into the eastern Mediterranean. Miller lists no fewer than 142 spices attested in classical sources. Some, like cassia, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and mace, came from as far away as China (see seres), south-east *Asia, and Indonesia (generally re-exported from India), while many originated in India (e.

Article

Stratonice  

Susan Mary Sherwin-White and R. J. van der Spek

Daughter of *Demetrius (4) Poliorcetes and of Phila (daughter of *Antipater (1)). Second wife of *Seleucus I (298-294 bce), after *Apame, and then of his son *Antiochus (1) I (294–261). The marriage with Seleucus was mainly dictated by the politics of a (temporary) pact with Demetrius. Apame's son Antiochus, however, was given the title and status of king, and Stratonice was passed on to him by Seleucus as his queen and wife (294). Antiochus and Stratonice were then sent to the eastern satrapies for Antiochus to govern as co-regent. Hellenistic authors built from this a court drama, modelled on Euripides' Hippolytus, of Antiochus pining to death with secret love for Stratonice (App, Syr. 59–61; Plut. Dem 38; Lucian, Syr. D. 17f). In the context of *ruler cult she was associated with *Aphrodite (Smyrna, OGI 229; Austin 20062, 174). Her name in the cuneiform Antiochus cylinder from Borsippa, Astartanikku, may be a word play on the goddess Astarte. Stratonice bore Antiochus two sons, *Antiochus (2) II and Seleucus, plus a daughter, Apame, married to Magas of Cyrene.

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Stratonicea  

George Ewart Bean and Susan Mary Sherwin-White

Stratonicea (mod. Eskihisar), *Seleucid foundation in the interior of *Caria, called after *Stratonice, wife and queen of *Antiochus (1) I, and probably founded by him, had a Macedonian colony and was established as part of the Seleucids' efforts to extend control in Caria. The city was presented to *Rhodes by ‘Antiochus and Seleucus’ (Polyb. 30. 31. 6), a problematic pairing, see HCP. Perhaps the likeliest view is that *Seleucus (2) II and *Antiochus (3) III are meant. Lost by Rhodes, probably to *Philip (3) V, it was recovered in 197 bce. Rhodian possession was confirmed by the Romans at Apamea (188), but revoked in 167 during Rome's split with Rhodes. Like *Mylasa, Stratonicea gained favour with Rome by resisting Q. *Labienus in 40, and was one of the *free cities under the empire.Stratonicea possessed two important sanctuaries: the famous temple of *Hecate at Lagina, and that of *Zeus Chrysaoreus near the city.