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 Egypt4. 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
- 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.