Antiochus II Theos
Coin of Antiochus II.
Antiochus II Theos (Greek: Αντίοχος Β' Θεός, 286–246 BC) was a Greek king of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire who reigned from 261 to 246 BC. He succeeded his father Antiochus I Soter in the winter of 262–61 BC. He was the younger son of Antiochus I and princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes.
He inherited a state of war with Ptolemaic Egypt, the "Second Syrian War", which was fought along the coasts of Asia Minor, and the constant intrigues of petty despots and restless city-states in Asia Minor. Antiochus also made some attempt to get a footing in Thrace. During the war he was given the title Theos (Greek: Θεός, "God"), being such to the Milesians in slaying the tyrant Timarchus.
During the time Antiochus was occupied with the war against Egypt, Andragoras, his satrap in Parthia, proclaimed independence. According to Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus, in Bactria, his satrap Diodotus also revolted in 255 BC, and founded the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, which further expanded in India in 180 BC to form the Greco-Indian kingdom (180–1 BC). Then about 238 BC, Arsaces led a revolt of the Parthians against Andragoras, leading to the foundation of the Parthian Empire. These events would have cut off communications with India. Phylarchus relays current scandals regarding his drunken banquets and liaisons with unsuitable young men.
About this time, Antiochus made peace with Ptolemy II Philadelphus, ending the Second Syrian War. Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice I and exiled her to Ephesus. To seal the treaty, he married Ptolemy's daughter Berenice and received an enormous dowry.
During her stay in Ephesus, Laodice I continued numerous intrigues to become queen again. By 246 BC Antiochus had left Berenice and their infant son Antiochus, in Antioch to live again with Laodice I in Asia Minor. Laodice I took the occasion to poison Antiochus while her partisans at Antioch murdered Berenice and their infant son. Antiochus was buried in the Belevi Mausoleum.
Laodice I then proclaimed Seleucus II as King. With his cousin-wife Laodice I, Antiochus had two sons: Seleucus II Callinicus, Antiochus Hierax and three daughters: Apama, Stratonice of Cappadocia and Laodice.
Relations with India
- "And even this conquest [preaching Buddhism] has been won by the Beloved of the Gods here and in all the borderlands, as far as six hundred yojanas (5,400-9,600 km) away, where Antiochos, king of the Yavanas [Greeks] rules, and beyond this Antiochus four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule,".
Ashoka also claims that he encouraged the development of herbal medicine, for men and animals, in the territories of the Hellenistic kings:
- "Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi's [Ashoka's] domain, and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni and where the Greek king Antiochos rules, and among the kings who are neighbors of Antiochos, everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals."
- Appianus, Syriaca, 65.
- In Athenaeum x.438c, also in Aelian, Various Histories, ii.41.
- The Mausoleum of Antiochus II Theos
- Biographical information on Antiochus II Theos
- Jarl Charpentier, "Antiochus, King of the Yavanas" Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London 6.2 (1931:303-321) argues that the Antiochus mentioned was unlikely to be Antiochus II, during whose time relations with India were broken by the Parthian intrusion and the independence of Diodotus in Bactria, and suggests instead the half-Iranian Antiochus I, with stronger connections in the East.
- Translation of Jarl Charpentier 1931:303-321.
- Edicts of Ashoka, 2nd Rock Edict.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Antiochus II.|
Antiochus II TheosBorn: 286 BC Died: 246 BC
Antiochus I Soter
Seleucus II Callinicus