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date: 02 February 2023

Syria, pre-Romanlocked

Syria, pre-Romanlocked

  • Arnold Hugh Martin Jones,
  • Henri Seyrig,
  • Susan Mary Sherwin-White
  •  and J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz


This region was a satrapy (‘Beyond the River’, i.e. the *Euphrates) of the Persian empire (see persia) until it was conquered by *Alexander (3) the Great in 332 bce. On his death (323) it was assigned to the Macedonian Laomedon, who was in 319–18 ejected by *Ptolemy (1) I. Thereafter it was disputed between Ptolemy and *Antigonus (1). After the battle of *Ipsus (301), *Seleucus (1) I gained north Syria (from the Amanus mountains in the north to the river Eleutherus in the south), which he kept, as well as ‘on paper’ Coele (‘Hollow’) Syria (the country behind the Lebanese coastal plain) and the Phoenician cities. However, Ptolemy I was already in occupation, and claimed control, of these last two areas; Seleucus I chose to drop his rights to Coele Syria and Phoenicia, with the southern border dividing off Ptolemaic possessions set at the river Eleutherus. The whole region suffered from repeated wars between the Ptolemies (see Ptolemy (1)) and the *Seleucids in the 3rd cent.


  • Near East

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