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"Battle of Magnesia", in Wikipedia.

The Battle of Magnesia was the concluding battle of the Roman–Seleucid War, fought in 190 BC near Magnesia ad Sipylum on the plains of Lydia between Romans, led by the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio and his brother, the famed general Scipio Africanus, with their ally Eumenes II of Pergamum, and the army of Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid Empire. A decisive Roman victory resulted in Roman domination over the internal affairs of a large part of the territory once controlled by the Seleucid Empire.

The main historical sources for this battle are Livy and Appian.

Antiochus was driven out of Greece following the defeat of his expeditionary force at the Battle of Thermopylae (191 BC). The Roman navy with the Rhodians and other allies outmaneuvered and defeated the Seleucid navy, permitting the Roman army to cross the Hellespont. The Roman army operated under the commands of the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, younger brother of Scipio Africanus, who accompanied him as legatus. The Carthaginian general and dire enemy of the Roman Republic Hannibal Barca, had fled to Antiochus’ court after his defeat at the Battle of Zama and the end of the Second Punic War. Some believe that Hannibal was present at Magnesia. This is false, however, because Hannibal, who had commanded the fleet and lost at Eurymedon, had retreated and then fled to Crete for fear that Antiochus would lose and turn him over to the Romans.

After an armistice was arranged between Antiochus and Rome, the Roman army waged a campaign against the Galatians which politically undermined the Seleucid position in Asia Minor. The Romans had a tremendous advantage throughout their campaign from their much more limited political objective. All the small powers could ally themselves to Rome because Rome sought no political annexations at this time. Conversely, Antiochus desired to conquer Asia Minor, as he saw himself in the vein of Alexander the Great. The Aegean Sea was a natural frontier for a state based in Babylonia, as Xerxes discovered long ago. If Antiochus had wanted to advance west into Greece, he needed to turn his state into the leading naval power in the Mediterranean, from nowhere, before sending his army west.

The treaty forced upon Antiochus III by the victorious Romans was crippling, in the Treaty of Apamea Antiochus was forced to pay a huge war indemnity of 15,000 Talents along with giving up significant territory in Asia Minor. The Taurus Mountains became the new frontier. The Seleucid navy was limited by treaty, and their squadrons of war elephants destroyed. It weakened the already fractious Seleucid Empire and halted all ambitions of Antiochus III of becoming a latter day Alexander in his own right. Polybius states the financial burden of war indemnity forced Antiochus III to loot temple treasuries. Some sources claimed Antiochus himself died while looting a temple. This alienated Seleucid subjects and further reduced the dynasty’s prestige, which had already been sharply reduced by the decisive defeat suffered against the Romans.


John D. Grainger, The Roman War of Antiochus the Great 2002 Leiden-Boston

Dexter Hoyos, Hannibal’s Dynasty: Power and Politics in the Western Mediterranean, 247-183 BC, Routledge, 2005

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