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Antiochus the Great and the Shifting Fortunes

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Antiochus III’s Reversal of Fortunes

Antiochus III (223-187) emerged as the sole Seleucid monarch capable of halting the kingdom’s decline. Despite his efforts to rebuild Alexander’s empire, he faced an insurmountable obstacle—the rising power of the Roman Republic, which marked the beginning of the nation that would later dominate the New Testament era The Splendor of Pergamun.

Strategic Victories and Setbacks

Antiochus showcased his military prowess by reclaiming Atropatene under Seleucid rule in 220. Launching the Fourth Syrian War (219-217) against Egypt, he aimed to exploit the weaknesses of Egypt’s ruler, Ptolemy IV. Despite marching with his war elephants down the Levant, Antiochus suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Raphia (217), just south of Gaza. Forced to retreat to Syria, the Orontes River once again marked the border between the northern and southern kingdoms.

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