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