List of Syrian monarchs

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The region of Syria

The title King of Syria and Queen of Syria appeared in the second century BC in referring to the Seleucid kings who ruled the entirety of the region of Syria. It was also used to refer to Aramean kings in the Greek translations of the Old Testament; mainly indicating the kings of Aram-Damascus.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the region came under the rule of France, United Kingdom and prince Faisal of Hejaz who was proclaimed King of Syria on 8 March 1920. Faisal's reign lasted a few months before he was overthrown by France and the title fell out of use.

Kings and Queens of Syria[edit]

Main articles: Syria (region) and Name of Syria


The term "Syria" was first applied by Herodotus in the 5th century BC to indicate a region generally extending between Anatolia and Egypt.[1][2] With the advent of the Hellenistic period, Greeks and their Seleucid dynasty used the term "Syria" to designate the region between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates.[3] The usage of the name in referring to the region during the Iron Age (ended 586 BC) is a modern practice.[1][4]

Seleucid dynasty[edit]

The Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great defeated the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the Battle of Panium (200 BC); he annexed the Syrian lands controlled by Egypt and united them with his Syrian lands, thus gaining control of the entirety of Syria.[5] Starting from the 2nd century BC, ancient writers, such as Polybius and Posidonius, began referring to the Seleucid ruler as the king of Syria.[6][7] The evidence for this title's usage by the kings is provided by the inscription of a certain Antigonus son of Menophilus, who described himself as the "admiral of Alexander, king of Syria" (Alexander refers either to Alexander I Balas or Alexander II Zabinas).[7]

Portrait Regent name
(and lifespan)
Reign Consort
(and reign)
Parents, co-regents, and notes
Antiochos III coin.jpg Antiochus III the Great
(c. 241–187 BC)
222–187 BC Laodice III
(222–c. 191 BC)
(191–187 BC)
(221–193 BC)
210–193 BC Laodice IV
(196–193 BC)
SeleucusIV - coin - face.JPG Seleucus IV Philopator
(c. 218–175 BC)
187–175 BC Laodice IV
(187–175 BC)
Antiochos IV Epiphanes face.png Antiochus IV Epiphanes
(c. 215–164 BC)
175–163 BC Laodice IV
(c. 175–c. 163 BC)
  • Son of Antiochus III the Great and Laodice III
  • Antiochus IV Epiphanes proclaimed himself co-regent with the infant son of Seleucus IV, also named Antiochus. He had the child assassinated in 170 BC.
Antiochus V Eupator, coin, front side.jpg Antiochus V Eupator
(172–161 BC)
163–161 BC Unmarried
Timarchus.jpg Timarchus
(unknown-160 BC)
163–160 BC
  • Usurper who claimed to be King of Syria between 163–160 BC.
Demetrius I.png Demetrius I Soter
(185–150 BC)
161–150 BC Laodice V
(c. 161–150 BC)
Alexander I Syria-Antiochia face.jpg Alexander I Balas
(unknown-145 BC)
150–145 BC Cleopatra Thea
(150–145 BC)
DemetriusII, coin, face.jpg Demetrius II Nicator
(unknown–125 BC)
145–139 BC
(first reign)
  • Son of Demetrius I Soter and possibly Laodice V
  • First of two reigns. About 147 BC he returned from captivity to claim his father's throne, and Ptolemy VI Philometor, king of Egypt, divorced his daughter Cleopatra Thea from Balas, allowing her and Demetrius II Nicator to marry. After his capture and second captivity, she divorced him.
AntiochusVI, coin, face.jpg Antiochus VI Dionysus
(148 BC-142/1 BC)
145–142 BC Unmarried
Tryphon coin.jpg Diodotus Tryphon
(unknown-138 BC)
142-138 BC
  • After the death of his student Antiochus VI Dionysus, General Diodotus Tryphon convinced the army to elect him king, taking the titles of Basileus, as was tradition for Hellenistic kings, but also that of Autokrator[9] and the regal name of Tryphon.[10]
Antiochus VII coin (Mary Harrsch).jpg Antiochus VII Sidetes
(unknown-129 BC)
138–129 BC
Aleksander II Zabinas face.png Alexander II Zabinas
(unknown-122 BC)
129–123 BC
DemetriusII, coin, face.jpg Demetrius II Nicator
(unknown–125 BC)
129–126 BC
(second reign)
Cleopatra Thea face.png Cleopatra Thea
(ca. 164-121 BC)
126-125 BC
(fourth reign)
125-121 BC
(fifth reign)
  • Unmarried during reigns
Seleucus V Philometor
(unknown-125 BC)
126-125 BC Unmarried
Antiochus VIII face.png Antiochus VIII Grypus
(unknown-96 BC)
125–121 BC
(first reign)
121-96 BC
(second reign)
Antiochus IX face.png Antiochus IX Cyzicenus
(unknown-96 BC)
114–96 BC
Seleucus VI Epiphanes.png Seleucus VI Epiphanes
(unknown-95 BC)
96–95 BC
Antioco X Eusebes Filopator, tetradracma, face.jpg Antiochus X Eusebes
(unknown-92 or 83 BC)
95–92 BC
DemetriusIII.png Demetrius III Eucaerus
(unknown-88 BC)
95–87 BC
Antiochus XI Epiphanes
(unknown-92 BC)
95–92 BC
Philippus Philadelphus.jpg Philip I Philadelphus
(unknown-83 BC)
95–83 BC
Antiochos XII.jpg Antiochus XII Dionysus
(unknown-84 BC)
87–84 BC
Tigran Mets.jpg Tigranes the Great
(140–55 BC)
83–69 BC
Ptolemaic Queen (Cleopatra VII?), 50-30 B.C.E., 71.12.jpg Cleopatra Selene I
(c. 135/130-69 BC)
83-69 BC
  • Unmarried during reign
Seleucus VII Philometer
(unknown-c. 58 BC)
83–69 BC
  • Unmarried during reign
  • Son of Antiochus X Eusebes and Cleopatra Selene
  • He was recognized as king of Syria by several cities during the reign of Tigranes the Great.[19]
  • For parts of his reign, for example between 75 BC and 73 BC, his mother served as co-regent for Seleucus VII and his brother Antiochus XIII.[24]
Antiochus XIII.jpg Antiochus XIII Asiaticus
(unknown-64 BC)
69–64 BC
Philip II Philoromaeus
(unknown-64 or 56 BC)
65–64 BC Unmarried

Antonia dynasty[edit]

(and lifespan)
Reign Consort Notes
Ptolemy Philadelphus
(36-29 BC)
34-31 BC Unmarried

Tanukhid rule[edit]

(and lifespan)
Reign Consort Notes
375–425 Widow during reign
  • Of Tanukh heritage
  • Initially consort of her husband, King al-Hawari, after his death in 375 she took power in opposition to Roman rule.

Hashemite dynasty[edit]

Royal standard of the king of Syria

Following the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, Faysal bin Hussein of the House of Hashim was proclaimed King of the Kingdom of Syria on 8 March 1920 in Damascus, following the Arab revolt against the Ottomans of 1916–1918.

His accession was not recognized by France or the United Kingdom who became the new imperial powers in the region, and on 23 July 1920, the French moved 9,000 troops towards Damascus, resulting in the Battle of Maysalun. Faisal was expelled from Syria on 25 July and went into exile in the United Kingdom. On 10 August, the Treaty of Sèvres divided the region into League of Nations mandates governed by France and the United Kingdom.

Portrait Name
(and lifespan)
Reign Consort
(and reign)
King Faisal I of Syria in July 1920.jpg Faisal
(20 May 1885-8 Sept 1933)
8 Mar 1920 – 24 July 1920

Biblical usage for Aramean kings[edit]

In the first translation of the Old Testament into Greek written during the third century BC (called the Septuagint),[26] Aram and Arameans were often translated as Syria and the Syrians;[27][28] hence the king was referred to as the king of Syria,[29] or the king of the Syrians,[30] and this was carried on by many English translations.[27] Aram in the Hebrew Old Testament and Syria in the translation indicated the kingdom of Aram-Damascus most of the times.[27][31] Occasionally, other Aramean regions were also referred to as Syria;[26][31] an example is the character known as "the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian" where Syria does not designate Aram-Damascus but rather Paddan Aram in Mesopotamia.[32][33]

According to W. Edward Glenny, the rendering of Aram by Syria might be explained by an anti-Syrian bias, since at the time of the translation, Syria belonged to the Seleucids; the Jews' main enemy. Aram-Damascus was the Jews' enemy during its Iron Age prime in the 9th century BC.[34]

Aramean kings referred to as "kings of Syria"[edit]

Portrait Name
(and lifespan)
Reign Parents, co-regents, and notes
Rezon the Syrian
10th century BC
  • Son of Eliada
  • Some 19th century scholars equated Rezon as the throne name of King Hezion.
circa 773 BCE
Ben-Hadad I
885–865 BC
Ben-Hadad II
(unknown–842 BC)
880–842 BC
  • According to some scholars, Bar-Hadad II was the son of Hazael,[35] who may also have been his son.[citation needed]
  • Equated by some scholars with the name Adad-Idri, or Hadadezar
King Hazael dark.jpeg Hazael
(unknown-circa 796 BC)
842–796 BC
  • Formerly a court official for Hadadezar, he usurped the position
Ben-Hadad III
(lifespan unknown)
796–792 BC
  • Son of Hazael
  • The only king mentioned by the name "Ben-Hadad" both in the Old Testament and extra biblical sources.[36]
(unknown-732 BC)
754–732 BC
  • Known in Assyrian inscription as Raqyan.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Trevor Bryce (2009). The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: From the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire. p. 680. ISBN 9780415394857. 
  2. ^ Herodotus; George Rawlinson (1862). History of Herodotus, Volume 1. p. 126. 
  3. ^ Daniel Pipes (1992). Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition. p. 13. ISBN 9780195363043. 
  4. ^ Margreet L. Steiner; Ann E. Killebrew (2014). The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE. p. 94. ISBN 9780191662546. 
  5. ^ Paul J. Kosmin (2014). The Land of the Elephant Kings. p. 122. ISBN 9780674728820. 
  6. ^ Nigel Wilson (2013). Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. p. 652. ISBN 9781136788000. 
  7. ^ a b Paul J. Kosmin (2014). The Land of the Elephant Kings. p. 112. ISBN 9780674728820. 
  8. ^ Polybius, v. 43
  9. ^ Bevan, ‘The House of Seleucus’, Vol.II, p.302
  10. ^ Bevan, ‘The House of Seleucus’, Vol.II, p.230-231
  11. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867). "Alexander Zabinas". In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 127–128. 
  12. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Demetrius s.v. Demetrius II". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 983.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "EB1911" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  13. ^ Bevan Chap 10
  14. ^ Livy, Periochae 60; Justin 39.1.9
  15. ^ Appian, Syriaca 69
  16. ^ a b Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  17. ^ a b Cleopatra Thea by Chris Bennett
  18. ^ a b Antiochus IX Cyzicenus entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
  19. ^ a b Manaseryan, Ruben (1985). "Տիգրան Բ [Tigran II]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia (in Armenian). 11. Yerevan: Armenian Encyclopedia Publishing. pp. 697–698. 
  20. ^ The House Of Seleucus V2 by Edwyn Robert Bevan.
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ Cicero, In C. Verrem II 4.61, Appian, Syriaca VIII 49, XI 70, Justin, Historiarum Philippicarum T. Pompeii Trogi XL 2.2 (says Antiochus IX was his father). See also: C.J. Bennett, art. Cleopatra Selene queen of Syria, in Egyptian Royal Genealogy, 2002-2008 (n. 28).
  23. ^ Cicero, In Verrem actio 4.61-68
  24. ^ E.R. Bevan, The House of Seleucus, London, 1902, p. 263.
  25. ^ David Konstan (2006). Greeks on Greekness: Viewing the Greek Past Under the Roman Empire. p. 6. ISBN 9780906014288. 
  26. ^ a b Paul V.M. Flesher; Bruce D. Chilton (2011). The Targums: A Critical Introduction. p. 339. ISBN 9789004217690. 
  27. ^ a b c Bruce M. Metzger; Michael David Coogan (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. p. 44. ISBN 9780199743919. 
  28. ^ James Strong; John McClintock (1867). Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Volume 1. p. 353. 
  29. ^ Adam Clarke (1851). The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments: the Text Printed from the Most Correct Copies of the Present Authorized Translation, Including the Marginal Readings and Parallel Texts: Genesis to Esther. p. 843. 
  30. ^ Gerard Gertoux (2015). Kings David and Solomon: Chronological, Historical and Archaeological Evidence. p. 103. ISBN 9781329698109. 
  31. ^ a b Thomas Nelson (2014). NIV, The Chronological Study Bible. p. 622. ISBN 9781401680138. 
  32. ^ Thomas Nelson (2013). KJV Study Bible: Second Edition. p. 52. ISBN 9781418589141. 
  33. ^ Brian Schultz (2009). Conquering the World: The War Scroll (1QM) Reconsidered. p. 191. ISBN 9004168206. 
  34. ^ Edward Glenny (2009). Finding Meaning in the Text: Translation Technique and Theology in the Septuagint of Amos. p. 152. ISBN 9789047429821. 
  35. ^ Luis Robert Siddall, The Reign of Adad-nīrārī III: An Historical and Ideological Analysis of An Assyrian King and His Times. BRILL, 2013 ISBN 9004256148 p.37
  36. ^ Richard D. Nelson (2014). Historical Roots of the Old Testament (1200–63 BCE). p. 109. ISBN 9781628370065. 
  37. ^ Jeffrey Kah-Jin Kuan (2016). Neo-Assyrian Historical Inscriptions and Syria-Palestine: Israelite/Judean-Tyrian-Damascene Political and Commercial Relations in the Ninth-Eighth Centuries BCE. p. 125. ISBN 9781498281430. 

External links[edit]