That culture was naturally Aramaic; they wrote a letter to Antigonus "in Syriac letters," and Aramaic continued to be the language of their coins and inscriptions when the tribe grew into a kingdom, and profited by the decay of the Seleucids to extend its borders northward over the more fertile country east of the Jordan.
Half a day's journey beyond Sura, on the Mesopotamian side of the river, are the extensive ruins of Haragla (Heraclea) and Rakka, once the capital of Harun al-Rashid (Nicephorium of Alexander; Callinicus of the Seleucids and Romans).
The more orthodox or conservative Jews preferred the tolerant rule of the Ptolemies: the rest, who chafed at the isolation of the nation, looked to the Seleucids, who inherited Alexander's ideal of a united empire based on a universal adoption of Hellenism.
But the greater part of the empire continued to exist under new masters, the Seleucids, as a Hellenistic power which was of great importance for the dissemination of Greek culture in the East.
Three solid kingdoms had thus emerged from all the fighting since Alexander's death: the kingdom of the Antigonids in the original land of the race, the kingdom of the Ptolemies in Egypt, and that of the Seleucids, extending from the Aegean to India.
In their outlying possessions the Ptolemies may have suffered as much local independence as the Seleucids; the internal government of Jerusalem, for instance, was left to the high priests.
Natives were employed, as we have seen, in the army, and Iranians are found under the Seleucids holding high commands, e.g.
After Alexander's death it was long a battle ground of rival marshals and kings, and for a time fell under Ptolemaic dominion, but finally under that of the Seleucids, who, however, never held effectually more than the eastern half.
On the other hand (I) implies a period when the Jews were governed by the Seleucids, since it is against these that the anger of Yahweh is first directed (ix.
Under the Seleucids Babylon was moved across the Hellenism.
And his successors between 281 and 197, Aradus remained in the kingdom of the Seleucids, who greatly favoured the city and increased its privileges (Strabo xvi.
At last in the time of Tigranes, the Armenian holder of the kingdom of the Seleucids, or soon afterwards, the coins of Marathus cease; the city was levelled to the ground, and its land, with that of Simyra, was parcelled out among the Aradians (Strabo xvi.
The west of Iran slipped from the Seleucids in the course of the 2nd century B.C. to be joined to the Parthian kingdom, or fall under petty native dynasties.
The lower classes at Antioch, and no doubt in the cities generally, were in speech Aramaic or bilingual; we find Aramaic popular nicknames of the later Seleucids (K.
The site of Douche, famous for its worship of Baal (Zeus Dolichenus), adopted by the Seleucids and eventually spread all over the Roman empire, lies at Duluk, two hours N.W.; but nothing is to be seen there except a mound.
Thenceforward the Seleucids resided at Antioch and treated it as their capital par excellence.
Diodotus and his successors were able to maintain themselves against the attacks of the Seleucids; and when Antiochus III., "the Great," had been defeated by the Romans (190 B.C.), the Bactrian king Euthydemus and his son Demetrius crossed the Hindu Kush and began the conquest of eastern Iran and the Indus valley.
It was reputed an Argive and Thracian colony, and was long under Persian rule, of which we hear in the history of Dercyllidas' raid from Ephesus in 397 B.C. Fortified and increased by the Seleucids and Pergamenians, who renamed it successively Seleucia and Antiochia, it passed to Rome in 133.
Once more, as in the days of Simon, the suzerain power was divided against itself, and, though Rome was as strong as the Seleucids had been weak, Caesar was grateful.
On the west, the Seleucids diffused Greek influences, and sent forth Graeco-Bactrian expeditions to the Punjab.
But the energetic Seleucids fought desperately against their fate.
The Seleucids, meanwhile, were harassed by aggravated disorders and insurrections.
The dynastic troubles of the Seleucids in Syria gave him an opportunity for successful intervention (Jos.
The Elymaeans, who had already offered a repeated resistance to the Seleucids, were subdued by Mithradates I., as we have mentioned above; but they remained a separate state, which often rebelled against the Arsacids (Strabo xvi.
Even followed the precedent of the Seleucids in building a new city, Arsacia, which replaced the ancient Rhagae (Rai, Europus~ in Media.
The political opposition to the western empires, the Seleucids first, then the Romans, precipitated this development.
The dynasty of Iranian origin which ruled at Samosata, described by Strabo (l.c.) as a fortified city in a very fertile if not extensive district, allied itself with the Seleucids, and bore the dynastic name of Antiochus.
Alexander was murdered in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar, which must therefore have been still standing, and cuneiform texts show that, even under the Seleucids, E-Saggila was not wholly a ruin.