Section III Roman expedition to Syria

the Syrian Kingdom continued to expand outward and clashed with Egypt and Macedonia. From 276 BC to 195 BC, there were five wars with Egypt for Mediterranean hegemony, and then with Rome, which was called the Syrian war in history.


after his death, his ministry Seleucus occupied the area of Babylon. In subsequent years, he competed with Antioch, another Ministry of Alexander, for Syria, which consolidated his position day by day. In 305 BC, he became king, Seleucus I (305-280 BC), ruling the vast areas of West and Central Asia, Syria is the center of its rule, so it is also called the kingdom of Syria. The rule of the Syrian Kingdom followed the autocratic regime of the Persian Empire. There is a huge bureaucracy in the central government, with 25 counties in local areas. The governor is in charge of civil affairs, the general is in charge of military affairs, and the treasurer is in charge of taxation. Set up fortress cities in remote areas and garrison troops.

during the second Macedonian War, Syrian King Antioch III took the opportunity to expand his territory and plundered the Thrace region of Macedonia across the helespan Strait, which conflicted with the interests of Rome expanding eastward at that time. After the second Macedonian War, Rome became the master of Greece. What Rome did in Greece soon caused great dissatisfaction among the Greeks, so the Roman alliance etoria first rose against Rome. At the same time, they sent envoys to Syria to persuade the other party to send troops to Greece and defeat the Romans, hoping that Syria would become the real liberator of Greece. Antiochus III was a very ambitious man. He wanted to take this opportunity to annex Greece. Therefore, he agreed to the request of Greek envoys and sent troops to fight against Rome. The Syrian war broke out.

the ancient Roman theater in Syria


in the spring of 192 BC, Antiochus III led an army composed of 10000 infantry, 1000 cavalry and 600 war elephants to land on the eastern coast of sesali. Rome organized 20000 infantry, 2000 cavalry and 15 elephants to resist. The Roman army marched eastward, crossed the Adriatic Sea and soon entered Thessaly. Antiochus III saw that the other side was powerful and fierce, and he was afraid that he was not the opponent. He quickly sent someone back to China to send more reinforcements. At the same time, he himself led the team around him to occupy the hot spring pass in central Greece, trying to block the Romans with this impassable Canyon and wait for reinforcements. While the Romans took advantage of the other party’s inattention at night, they walked quickly, climbed over the mountains and cliffs, found the Syrian rear, suddenly attacked it and defeated the other party. Antiochus III fled with 500 cavalry without looking back. He first arrived at kalkis on the island of EuPIA, then crossed the sea to the East and fled to Ephesus on the coast of Asia Minor. Syrian allies also defected one after another and turned to Rome. Finally, only etoria still insisted on resistance.

the Roman Senate decided to organize a strong navy to cross the Aegean Sea and march into Asia Minor. In 190 BC, the Roman consul sippia Jr. led an army to Syria. In order to relieve the worries, Rome concluded a six-month armistice with etoria in central Greece. When Antiochus III was defeated and fled back, he expected Rome to attack Syria quickly. So he built a sea and land defense system in Sestos on the north bank and abidus on the South Bank of helespan Strait to prevent the Romans from attacking Asia Minor; At the same time, a large number of military supplies were stored in lesimakia in Thrace to ensure battlefield supply.

the Roman Navy crossed the Aegean Sea and arrived near Caius in the summer of 190 BC. Commander Li Wei ordered some ships to stay and pay close attention to training, exercises and manufacturing all kinds of equipment, while others followed him to the Strait to meet the arrival of the army. After Antiochus III learned of this situation, he immediately decided to attack the part of the Roman Navy left in Caius, and made a plan. A letter from the senior general of the Syrian navy was sent to the Roman barracks near Caius, falsely claiming that he was ready to surrender to the Romans and agreed to meet near Samos. If the Romans did sail the fleet to Samos, they did not know that the Syrian fleet had been following behind, and that the Syrian army had preempted the occupation of Samos. Therefore, as soon as the Roman Navy approached the meeting place, it was immediately attacked by a sudden attack and hurriedly abandoned the ship and fled to the land. Unexpectedly, the Roman people suffered from the assassination of Syrian infantry. Only seven ships equipped with fire containers escaped because Syrians were afraid of fire and no ship dared to approach them. The remaining 20 ships were destroyed and captured, and most of the personnel were killed and captured.

Roman navy commander Levi heard the news and immediately returned to Greece. He gathered all the ships together and set out for Ephesus. He ordered some soldiers to prepare for a decisive battle with the Syrian Navy at sea and the other to land on the enemy’s coast to attack each other’s supplies. In September, the two armies met on the sea of Ephesus. At this time, Antiochus III was stationed in leximakia. He heard that the Romans threw a fire filled iron container tied to a long pole as a weapon onto a Syrian warship, causing great damage to the Syrians and panic. At the same time, Antiochus III also considered that the Roman army would come soon. At that time, he would attack the Hellespont Strait, which would form a double attack on him. So Antiochus III took the initiative to evacuate leximakia and enter the hinterland of Asia Minor, where he gathered a large number of army to wait for war. Rome took advantage of the situation to capture leximakia, and obtained a large amount of food, money and weapons originally stored here by Antiochus III, and successfully crossed the unguarded helespan Strait.

one morning at the end of December 190 BC, the two armies fought on the magrisian plain east of kaios and south of the hermus river. Both sides quickly deployed their own teams. Antioch’s army has a total of 70000 people, the strongest of which is the 16000 heavy infantry arranged in the form of Macedonian square array. It is placed in the middle of the team and divided into 10 teams, 1600 people in each team, 50 people in the front row and 32 rows in depth. There are 22 war elephants on the side of each team. The appearance of the square array is like a city wall, and the war elephant is the fortress on the city. On both sidesThere are 12000 cavalry in total. In addition, the right wing is also equipped with light troops, light cavalry and cavalry archers; The left wing is a mixed army and light cavalry composed of allies and other tribes. At the top of the line were chariots and camels with sickles, followed by archers, stone throwers, javelins and light shield soldiers. Antiochus III and his son Seleucus commanded the right and left sides of the team respectively, and Philip commanded the central elephant team.

the Roman army is divided into three parts: left, middle and right. The left wing is close to the river. There are about 10000 Roman legions. Behind the Legion were 10000 Italian allies, both of which were in three battle formations. Then there are the pagama alliance and 3000 light infantry in Asia Minor; The right-wing force is about 3000, composed of cavalry from Rome, Italy and pagama; In the middle are light troops and archers, behind the war elephant hall. The consuls sippia minor, Domitius and ominis of pagama were the central, left-wing and right-wing commanders respectively. The total number of troops is 30000.

Antiochus III took the lead. He personally led the Syrian right-wing cavalry to advance and break through the left wing of the Roman army. The other party quickly turned around and retreated, resulting in confusion of the troops behind. Antiochus III followed them far away. At the same time, the left and center of the Syrian army suffered defeat. The Roman right-wing army began to attack under the command of Omanis, king of pagama. Ominis ordered the catapults and archers and other light troops to surround the chariot with the sickle and shoot at the horse. After many horses were injured, they dragged their chariots around in panic, causing chaos to the camel team and heavy Armored Cavalry originally configured behind the chariot line. Plus the fog, the Syrians don’t know you from me. Ominis continued to pursue. The cavalry in heavy armor moved slowly and was quickly overtaken and killed by the Romans. The Syrian phalanx army deployed in the center had no chance to charge or evacuate their dense formation, and was attacked by enemy weapons in all directions. They stretched out their dense spears and challenged the Romans to fight each other hand to hand. But the Romans just surrounded them, did not approach them, and constantly attacked them with javelins and arrows. Because of the dense phalanx, the Syrians were unable to block and avoid the projectors of Roman soldiers. They suffered heavy losses and had to retreat. However, the war elephants in the square array were frightened, out of control, running around, uncontrollable, trampling and killing many people. In addition, ominis led the right-wing Roman army to fight with little sipia, and the phalanx army quickly dispersed and fled in confusion.

Antiochus III commanded the Syrian right wing to chase the Roman left wing far away. Only then did he find that he was too far away from the main battlefield, so he stopped moving and returned quickly. On the way, he met with the Roman right-wing and central army. After fighting for a while, Antiochus III led his army to fight hard and return to the main battlefield. His soldiers, horses and war elephants were lying in a pool of blood, and the brigade had dispersed. Unable to fight again, he fled in a hurry and returned to Syria the next day.


in the battle of magnesia, Antioch lost more than 50000 people, most of the war elephants were killed and 15 were captured; Rome lost only more than 300 people. Antiochus had to make peace with Rome. The two sides concluded a peace treaty: Syria abandoned all its territories in Thrace and Asia Minor; Repatriate prisoners of war and hand over all war elephants. Only 10 warships are allowed to be retained and the rest are handed over; Pay huge compensation and hand over Hannibal, the famous general of Carthage. Syria accepts all.

influence ` evaluate the victory of

Rome’s expedition to Syria, which was a fatal blow to the Syrian kingdom. Since then, it withdrew from West Asia and lost its important position in the past. The main reasons for Antiochus III’s failure in the battle of magnesia were: strategically, he made two fatal mistakes, that is, he easily gave up leximakia and its important military supplies such as food and weapons; The defense line of the Hellespont Strait should not be easily removed so that the Romans could cross the Strait unimpeded. Tactically, the troops were not deployed properly. He should not tighten the most powerful infantry array in the center, making it useless and finally annihilated by the Romans.




the long war for hegemony has consumed Syria’s national strength. As early as after the first Syrian war, pagama declared independence. After the second Syrian war, Daxia and Sabbath became independent one after another. After the battle of magnesia, people’s resistance and struggle appeared all over the kingdom of Syria. In 171 BC, the people of Jerusalem launched a revolt; In 176 BC, the Jews revolted against Antiochus IV’s declaration that Judaism was illegal. In 142 BC, Judea declared its independence. Antiochus VII conquered Judea again, but the army was completely destroyed during the expedition and rest, and he died in battle; In 127 BC, the east of the two river basins was no longer controlled by the kingdom of Syria. After the middle of the 2nd century BC, the kingdom of Syria was in constant strife, turbulence and turmoil. In 64 BC, Pompeii of Rome led an army to West Asia, the kingdom of Syria perished, and Syria became a province of Rome.