The Seleukid elephant corps after Apameia

Nicholas Sekunda

Abstract

Immediately after the battle of Magnesia, the Roman general Scipio negotiated terms of peace with Antiochos. Substantial further clauses, absent in the original agreement, were included in the final Treaty of Apameia. One of the most important of these further clauses was that Antiochos was to give up all the elephants he had then and not keep any in the future. According to our sources, the elephants were handed over to the Romans, who in turn gave them to Eumenes II of Pergamon as a present (Livy 38.39.5). A passage in Polyainos (4.21) tells us that Antiochos IV supplied the Romans with Indian elephants, but this testimony is generally discounted as spurious. According to 1Macc 1.17, the army with which Antiochos invaded Egypt in 170 BC included elephants. Elephants also took part in the Daphne Parade in 165 (Polyb. 30.25). When news of the premature death of Antiochos reached Rome, the Senate sent out an embassy to Syria, to hamstring the elephants, which took place in 162 BC. Some elephants, however, may have escaped the slaughter. We are told (2Macc 15.20) that the Seleukid army led by Nikanor ‘the Elephantarch’ included a number of elephants at the Battle of Adasa in March 161 BC. Any surviving elephants were killed by Demetrios I in an attempt to appease the Romans. The only way to reconcile the sources is to suggest that one of the later Seleukid kings had obtained a fresh supply of elephants. The solution proposed is that Seleukos IV had received a number of elephants as a gift from Demetrios I of Baktria (189–167 BC), following the extension of Baktrian rule into parts of India.
Author Nicholas Sekunda (FH / IAiE)
Nicholas Sekunda,,
- Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii
Pages159-172
Publication size in sheets0.65
Book Coskun Altay, Engels David (eds.): Rome and the Seleukid East: selected papers from the Seleukid Study Day V, Brussels, 21-23 August 2015, Collection Latomus, no. 360, 2019, Société d’études latines de Bruxelles – Latomus, ISBN 978-90-429-3927-1, [978-90-429-3928-8], 512 p.
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)0
ScoreMinisterial score = 0.0, 07-08-2019, ChapterFromConference
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