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By John D. Grainger

This publication examines the reasons and classes of the sequence of wars within the Hellenistic interval fought among the dominion of the Seleukids and the Ptolemies over ownership of Syria. this can be a topic continuously pointed out by way of historians of the interval in a glancing or abbreviated means, yet that is really utterly relevant to the improvement of either kingdoms and of the interval as an entire. except particularly short summaries no critical account has ever been produced. This prolonged attention will carry to the centre of study at the Hellinistic interval this lengthy series of wars. Arguably they have been the fundamental explanations of the failure of either kingdoms within the face of Roman aggression and interference.

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Sample text

It was also a land which wished to be free of foreign rulers, and during Alexander’s conquest many preferred the light hand of the Persians to that of the Macedonians and Greeks. Its indigenous powers  prologue were few and weak, but they still hankered after independence. Sidon, Tyre, Gaza, Arados, Hierapolis, Samaria, all manifested this wish in various ways between  and —and there may have been others we do not know about. It was a land difficult to conquer and unlikely to be easy to hold, unless special policies were instituted.

From Seleukos’ point of view, the main point was to draw in all the Antigonid forces towards the south so that he would be able to ride past them and then through Syria without danger. The aims of both men were divergent, and would widen constantly from now on. Demetrios, even though he was only fifteen years old, was already alert and quick. He brought his forces south to confront Ptolemy, accompanied by his advisers. The two armies met some way west of Gaza, perhaps in the region of the later battlefield of Raphia.

Seleukos and his people then slid past the scattered and retreating Antigonid troops and rode hard for Babylon. Ptolemy pursued the defeated army, capturing Gaza city and taking prisoner eight thousand of Demetrios’ infantry. In addition to the casualties, which were mainly among Demetrios’ cavalry, this capture ensured the effective destruction of Demetrios’ army. 27 This battle, which is less regarded and commented on than other, larger, more spectacular fights of this sequence of wars, such as Ipsos and Koroupedion, is in fact the decisive event of the whole series of wars involving Antigonos.

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