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The Ancient World

The Ancient World

LATEST SERIES: Carchemish (C Episodes) - tracing the life and death of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms; PREVIOUS SERIES: The Ancient World - from the earliest human civilizations down through 500 BC; Rediscovery (R Episodes) - the stories of the modern scholars and adventurers who rediscovered the ancient world; Bloodline (B Episodes) - tracing the descendants of Mark Antony and Cleopatra over ten generations; Thea (T Episodes) - tracing the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire


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Episode C15 - The Merciless Weapon

Synopsis: The Syrian campaigns of Ashurnasirpal II cemented Assyrian dominance. Tribute from the western kingdoms fueled construction of the king?s magnificent new showpiece of Kalhu. ?Ashurnasirpal, strong king, king of Assyria, designate of the god Sin, favorite of the god Anu, loved one of the god Adad who is almighty among the gods, I, the merciless weapon which lays low lands hostile to him, I, the king, capable in battle, vanquisher of cities and highlands, foremost in battle, king of the four quarters.? ? Inscription of King Ashurnasirpal II at Kalhu Map of the Early Iron Age Near East: Map of Early Iron Age Northern Syria: The Kings of Syria and Canaan: Episode Images: References and Further Reading: Please contact [email protected] if you would like to advertise on this podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C14 - The House of Suhi

Synopsis: The Country Lords of Carchemish adorned their city with temples and monuments. But Assyrian conquests in the Khabur River valley heralded a growing eastern threat. ?I am the ruler Katuwa, Country Lord of Carchemish, son of the Country Lord Suhi (II), grandson of the Country-Lord Astuwatamanza. The gods raised me by the hand and they gave to me my paternal succession. And because of my justice the gods raised me in strength?.I myself then constructed the temple for the Storm God of Carchemish with that abundance, and I established for him seasonal offerings.? ? Inscription of Katuwa on the King?s Gate at Carchemish, late 10th/early 9th century BC Map of the Early Iron Age Near East: Map of Early Iron Age Northern Syria: Rulers of Carchemish: Episode Images: References and Further Reading: Please contact [email protected] if you would like to advertise on this podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C13 - The Hand of Shishak

Synopsis: The Canaanite cities of Tel-Rehov and Beth-Shean were re-founded by the Pharaoh Thutmose III in the wake of the Battle of Megiddo. By the early Iron Age, their size, location and wealth drew the attention of the Pharaoh Shoshenq I. ?(Thutmose) was in their center, Amun being the protection of his person in the melee, and the strength of Set pervading his members?Then (the enemy) saw his majesty prevailing over them, and they fled headlong to Megiddo with faces of fear.? ? The Battle of Megiddo Inscription Map of the Early Iron Age Near East: Map of Early Iron Age Southern Syria and Canaan: Episode Images: References and Further Reading: Please contact [email protected] if you would like to advertise on this podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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The Method to My Madness

A brief history of The Ancient World. Plus: a new season, a new partnership and a new Patreon page! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode S6 ? Castle of the Slave

Synopsis: Joseph and Hyrcanus of the Tobiad clan served as tax farmers in Coele Syria for nearly half a century, weathering the transition from Ptolemaic and Seleucid control along with the constant maelstrom of Jerusalem politics. ?Hyrcanus determined not to return to Jerusalem any more, but seated himself beyond Jordan, and was at perpetual war with the Arabians, and slew many of them, and took many of them captives. He also erected a strong castle, and built it entirely of white stone to the very roof, and had animals of a prodigious magnitude engraven upon it?And he ruled over those parts for seven years, even all the time that Seleucus was king of Syria. But when he was dead, his brother Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, took the kingdom.? ? Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Chapter 4 Map of the Decapolis region: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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A Quick Note

So, first the bad news: Episode C12 wraps the second ?season? of ?The Ancient World ? Carchemish.? The show?ll be on hiatus for the next few months as I turn my attention to a few other projects. Then I?ll be back with another new season this summer. The good news is that next season will not only cover the emergence of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, but ? as a consequence ? will also have the benefit of the detailed records the Assyrians made of all their ?interactions? with the kingdoms and peoples of early Iron Age Syria. So stay tuned for that, stay subscribed, and I?ll see you all in a few months! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C12 ? The Two Temples

Synopsis: The growing power of the Israelites and Arameans is reflected in the construction of new temples to Yahweh in Jerusalem and Hadad-Rammon in Damascus. A resurgent Egypt ? under increasing influence of the Libyan Meshwesh ? begins to eye its former Levantine holdings. ?And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah; and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did; and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.? ? 1 Kings 11:23-24 Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C11 ? The House of David

Synopsis: In the latter half of the 11th century BC, southern Syria witnessed the increasing prominence of semi-nomadic Semitic peoples ? including the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites and Israelites. ?Kings came, they fought, the kings of Canaan fought. At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, they took no plunder of silver. From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. The river Kishon swept them away, the age-old river, the river Kishon.? ? The Song of Deborah Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C10 ? These Are Not Foolish Travels

Synopsis: The fracturing and diminishment of Egyptian power in the early Iron Age is captured in ?The Report of Wenamun.? I found (King Zakar-baal of Byblos) seated in his upper chamber with his back against a window, and the waves of the great sea of Phoenicia broke behind his head. I said to him: ?Blessings of Amun!? He said to me: ?How long is it to this day since you came from the place where Amun is?? I said to him: ?Five whole months till now.? He said to me: ?If you are right, where is the dispatch of Amun that was in your hand? Where is the letter of the High Priest of Amun that was in your hand?? I said to him: ?I gave them to Smendes and Tentamun.? Then he became very angry and said to me: ?Now then, dispatches, letters you have none. Where is the ship of pinewood that Smendes gave you? Where is its Phoenician crew? Did he not entrust you to this foreign ship?s captain in order to have him kill you and have them throw you into the sea? From whom would one then seek the god? And you, from whom would one seek you? ? The Report of Wenamun Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C9 ? Horse to Horse, Army to Army

Synopsis: In the mid-11th century BC, the Hittite kingdoms of northern Syria are joined by others? in the Philistine pentapolis, the Amuq plain and the region of Classical Cilicia ? with ties to the former Mycenaean Greeks.  The Phoenician cities of the Levantine coast begin to step from the shadow of post-Collapse Egypt. ?I am really Azatiwada, Man of my Sun, the servant of Thunder God, Rendered superior by Awariku, and the ruler of Adanawa, Thunder God rendered me Mother and Father of Adanawa city, and I am the one, who developed Adanawa city, And I expanded Adanawa country, both westward and eastward, And during my reign, I made Adanawa city taste prosperity, satiety and comfort, and I filled the grain warehouses, I added horse to horse, shield to shield, army to army, everything for Thunder God and the deities?? The Karatepe Bilingual Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C8 ? The Heirs of Hatti

Synopsis: The Great Kings of Carchemish continue ruling over a Hittite rump state in northern Syria as they support the region?s recovery.  After an attack by the Assyrian king Ashur-bel-kala, the Carchemish dynasty is supplanted by the house of Suhi. ?In that year, in the month Kislev,?from the River Khabur of the land Kharku to the city of Carchemish of the land Hatti he plundered.  He crossed the Euphrates after them in rafts made of inflated goatskins.?  ? The Broken Obelisk (of Ashur-bel-kala) Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C7 ? The Heirs of Babylon

Synopsis: Even as Anatolia, Syria and Egypt confronted the Bronze Age Collapse, the eastern kingdoms of Assyria, Babylonia and Elam continued their ancient cycle of dynastic conflict. ?Why I ? who am a king, son of a king, seed of a king, scion of a king, who am king for the lands, for the land of Babylonia and the land of Elam, descendant of the eldest daughter of the mighty King Kurigalzu ? why do I not sit on the throne of the land of Babylonia?  I sent you a sincere proposal; you, however, have granted me no reply.  You may climb up to heaven, but I?ll pull you down by your hem; you may go down to hell, but I?ll pull you up by your hair!  I shall destroy your cities, demolish your fortresses, stop up your irrigation ditches, cut down your orchards, pull out the rings of the sluices at the mouths of your irrigation canals.?  ? Letter to the Kassite court by the Elamite king Kutir-Nahhunte. Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C6 ? The Splendid Flame

Synopsis: In the wake of the Sea Peoples, the Hittite Great King Kuzi-Teshub focuses on rebuilding and strengthening his kingdom.  A powerful new threat soon emerges in the form of King Tiglath-Pileser I of Assyria. ?In the service of my Lord Ashur, my chariots and warriors I assembled; I set out on my march. In front of my strong men I went to the country of the Aramaeans, the enemies of my Lord Ashur. From before Tsukha, as far as the city of (Carchemish) belonging to the country of (Hatti), I smote with one blow. Their fighting men I slew; their movables, their wealth, and their valuables in countless numbers I carried off.? ? Inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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From Bronze to Iron

First off I really hope you?ve been enjoying ?The Ancient World ? Carchemish.?  From the beginning I?ve touted this as a series on the Neo-Hittite kingdoms.  But since the first Neo-Hittite kingdom was centered on Carchemish, I thought it?d be fun to start the series with the original Hittite conquest of the city under Suppiluliuma I.  Which gave me an excuse to do a deep dive into Late Bronze Age Hittite history.  And to say Suppiluliuma a lot.  Suppiluliuma.  Try it, it?s just really fun to say. The first arc of this series will be 6 episodes, taking us all the way from the conquest of Carchemish through the immediate aftermath of the Bronze Age Collapse.  Episode C5 just posted, and the last episode of this arc (Episode C6) will be posting a week late ? so look for it on Friday June 25.  After that the real series starts: the story of the life and death of the Iron Age Neo-Hittite Kingdoms.  Though they?re typically relegated to an occasional punching bag of the Neo-Assyrians, the Neo-Hittites have their own very interesting history ? one I?m looking forward to digging into. When will the next arc of the series start up?  That?s the part I?m not too sure about.  I?m hoping to get at least 6 more episodes out sometime later this year.  But I?m balancing that with working on the book (yes, that?s still happening, slowly, in the background) ? as well as my day-job and lots of other stuff.  So please stay subscribed and hopefully I?ll have an update for you soon. In the meantime ? and I swear this is my last big push ? I do happen to have a new 15 to 20-episode series launching on June 27 ? which is right after I post episode C6.  It?s my ?The Bronze Age? course on  It?ll be two half-hour episodes per week for around 8 to 10 weeks total.  Tons of brand-new material, discount pricing, 100% satisfaction guarantee, all that good stuff.  Along with the Near Eastern regions you?re used to hear me talking about, I?m also going to be making broader linkages to other civilizations outside the Near East ? including the northern steppe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia ? then see how those influences feed into Near Eastern civilization.  You get a deeper dive on the Hurrians, an introduction to the Oxus Civilization ? again just lots of new content. So if you?ve ever wanted to help out the show, or just want to hear an updated and expanded version of my early podcast episodes, please go sign up right now at  I hate promoting myself, but I?m also really proud of the course and I really think you?ll enjoy it. That?s it for now.  Take care and thanks again for listening! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C5 ? The Sea Peoples

Synopsis: The Sea Peoples cut a swath of devastation across the Levant before their final confrontation with the pharaoh Ramesses III of Egypt. The Hittite Great King Suppiluliuma II abandons the capital of Hattusas before its final destruction. ?Regarding what you wrote me before: ?Enemy ships were observed at sea!?  If it is true that ships were observed, reinforce yourself.  Where are your troops and chariots?  Are they not with you?  If not, who will deliver you from the enemy?  Surround your cities with walls and bring your troops and chariots into them.  Watch out for the enemy and reinforce yourself well!? ? Letter from the King of Alashiya to King Ammurapi of Ugarit Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C4 ? The Great Kings

Synopsis: The Great King Tudhaliya?s sons, Arnuwanda and Suppiluliuma, take power in a time of growing famine.  The collapse of Mycenaean Greece intensifies the predations of Aegean and Mediterranean pirates, who threaten Hittite grain shipments and ally with the Libyans to launch an invasion of Egypt.  Among the earliest victims of the seaborne invaders is the storied city of Troy. ?But when the whole host reached the walls of Troy, into the city of Priam, breathing rage of fight, with reckless battle-lust they poured; and all that fortress found they full of war and slaughter, palaces, temples, horribly blazing on all sides; glowed their hearts with joy. In deadly mood then charged they on the foe. Ares and fell Enyo maddened there: blood ran in torrents, drenched was all the earth, as Trojans and their alien helpers died.?  ? Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy, Book 13 (translated by A. S. Way) Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C3 ? The Eternal Treaty

Synopsis:  Hattusili III?s diplomacy with the pharaoh Ramesses II culminates in the world?s first peace treaty.  After his death, his son Tudhaliya IV drives out the Ahhiyawans, then defends northern Syria against Assyrian aggression. ?The Kings who are my equals in rank are the King of Egypt, the King of Babylonia, the King of Assyria, [and the King of Ahhiyawa]?Since the King of Assyria is the enemy of My Majesty, he shall likewise be your enemy.  Your merchant shall not go to Assyria, and you shall not allow his merchant into your land?You shall not allow any ship of Ahhiyawa to go to the King of Assyria.?  ? Treaty Between Tudhaliya IV of Hatti and Shaushga-Muwa, King of Amurru Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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The Bronze Age ? Update

I just wanted to give you a quick update about my ?The Bronze Age? course on  First off, I?m happy to report that we?ve exceeded the threshold for launching the course ? so it is officially happening.  Thank you so much to everyone who?s already signed up; trust me, it?s going to be lots of fun.  Second, if you haven?t had the chance to sign up yet, I wanted to mention that the discount pricing is only in effect for a few more days.  Starting May 1, the price goes up.  So please sign up as soon as possible at  Still 100% satisfaction guarantee, all that good stuff.  Thanks for supporting The Ancient World, and thanks again for listening. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C2 ? Tarhuntassa

Synopsis:  King Muwatalli II relocates the Hittite capital to the new royal city of Tarhuntassa near the Mediterranean coast, then faces off against the young pharaoh Ramesses II in the Battle of Qadesh.  After Muwatalli?s death, his son and brother ? Urhi-Teshub and Hattusili ? contend for the Hittite throne. ?For seven years I submitted to the king.  But at a divine command and with human urging, Urhi-Teshub sought to destroy me.  He took Hakpissa and Nerik from me.  Now I submitted to him no longer.  I made war against him.? ? The Apology of Hattusili III Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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The Bronze Age

Hi everyone!  As you likely know, I really enjoyed making the original ?Ancient World? podcast series ? especially the parts covering the Bronze Age Near East and eastern Mediterranean.  I?ve always hoped for the opportunity to update and expand those episodes with the latest and greatest information and also introduce new topics that I never had the chance to cover.  And I think I?ve finally found a great way to do it.  I?m teaming up with to put together an audio course called ?The Bronze Age.?  It?s a mix of remastered segments of the original episodes combined with significant new content.  So you?ll get a refresher on the Sumerians, the Egyptians and Sargon of Akkad along with new discussion of the Uruk Expansion and the birth of the Hurrian kingdoms.  You?ll get the classic content on Ur III, Babylonia and Elam while also learning about the Oxus Civilization of Central Asia and the Jiroft Culture of Iran. And you?ll hear how the arrival of the horse and invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot came to define the nature of Bronze Age warfare.  I?m very excited to put this together and I think you?ll really enjoy it.  Even better, the course has zero risk and a 100% satisfaction guarantee ? which means that if you don?t like it you can get your money back for up to 30 days after the start of the course.  We need to confirm that there?s enough interest before I start production.  So if you?re a fan of The Ancient World and want to do something to help out the show please sign up right now for ?The Bronze Age? at  That?s  Register by April 30, 2021 ? and if we get enough interest this will definitely happen.  If you have any trouble with the link above, please use this one instead: As always, thanks again for listening! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode C1 ? Carchemish

Synopsis:  In the late 14th century BC, the Hittite Great King Suppiluliuma wrested Syria from the grip of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni.  Two of his sons would succeed him to the throne, while two others founded new dynasties in the cities of Aleppo and Carchemish. ?The Euphrates is my frontier.  In my rear, I established Mount Lebanon as my frontier.  And all of the cities of the land of Carchemish ? these fortified cities ? I gave to Piyassili, my son? Since Prince Piyassili crossed the Euphrates with Prince Shattiwaza and penetrated to the city of Irrite, all the cities on the west bank which Piyassili my son holds, these belong to Piyassili.? ? The Suppiluliuma-Shattiwaza Treaty ?The gods ran before my father, namely the Sun Goddess of Arinna, the Storm God of Hatti, the Storm God of the Army Camp, and Ishtar of the Field.  He conquered the enemy.? ? Mursili, The Deeds of Suppiluliuma I Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean: The Hittite Royal Family: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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A Young Man?s Fancy

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Episode S5 ? Ordeal by Fire

Synopsis:  In the 4th century AD, the Ethiopian kingdom of Axum converted to Christianity even as the neighboring Himyarites of Yemen converted to Judaism.  Centuries later, Axum?s invasion of Yemen to stop the persecution of Christians triggered a conflict with Persia. Map of the kingdoms of Axum and Himyar: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode S4 ? Children of the Moon

Synopsis:  The Sabaeans and Himyarites leveraged their control over south Arabian aromatics into a lucrative trade that spanned the ancient world.  The region?s remoteness, wealth and active diplomacy afforded some protection from the powerful empires who frequently dominated the north.  Map of the Arabian Peninsula: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode S3 ? Queen Mavia

Synopsis:  A century after Queen Zenobia, another Syrian Arab warrior queen rises to challenge the power or Rome ? and succeeds.  The story of Queen Mavia of the Tanukh. ?Mavia, queen of the Saracens, had begun to convulse the villages and towns on the border of Palestine and Arabia with a violent war, and to ravage the neighboring provinces.? ? Rufinas Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T18 ? Tigranes

Synopsis:  The death of King Philip I marks the official end of the Seleucid line.  Invited by the Antiochenes to rule them, King Tigranes II of Armenia proceeds to conquer all of Syria ? including Cleopatra Selene?s stronghold of Ptolemais-Akko.  But Tigranes? refusal to abandon his ally, King Mithridates VI of Pontus, leads to his empire?s destruction. ?Tigranes?marched forth with an army of such huge proportions that he actually laughed heartily at the appearance of the Romans present there.  He is said to have remarked that, in cases where they came to make war, only a few presented themselves, but when it was an embassy, many came.?  ? Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 36 ?Pompey?expelled Antiochus (XIII), from the government of Syria, although he had done the Romans no wrong?The pretense was that it was unseemly for the Seleucidae, whom Tigranes had dethroned, to govern Syria, rather than the Romans, who had conquered Tigranes.?  ? Appian, The Syrian Wars, Book 10 (Absolutely awesome and super-useful) map of Syria and surrounding territories c. 87 BC Map of the Greater Armenian Empire of King Tigranes II Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T17 ? The Sons of Grypus

Synopsis: With Rome encroaching from the north and south, the sons of Grypus battle Parthians, usurpers and local powers to keep their hold on Syria. ?As he lingered on the banks of the Euphrates, (Sulla) received a visit from Orobazus, a Parthian, who came as an ambassador from King Arsaces, although up to this time the two nations had held no intercourse with one another.  This also is thought to have been part of Sulla?s great good fortune, that he should be the first Roman with whom the Parthians held conference when they wanted alliance and friendship.? ? Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Sulla ?Straton, the tyrant of Berroea?called in Zizon, the ruler of the Arabian tribes, and Mithridates Sinax, the ruler of the Parthians, who coming with a great number of forces, and besieging Demetrius (III) in his encampment, into which they had driven them with their arrows, compelled those that were with him by thirst to deliver up themselves.  So they took a great many spoils out of that country, and Demetrius himself, whom they sent to Mithridates (II).? ? Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 12 (Absolutely awesome and super-useful) map of Syria and surrounding territories c. 95 BC Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T16 ? The Sons of Thea

Synopsis: While the Ptolemies intrigue in Coele Syria, Antiochus VIII Grypus and his half-brother Antiochus IX Cyzicenus struggle for seventeen years to win control of the north.  After the rivals die in quick succession, the kingdom comes under control of Seleucus VI and Demetrius III, the allied sons of Grypus. ?Then Grypus proceeded to besiege Antioch, the city where Cyzicenus? wife Cleopatra (IV) was to be found, and when it was captured Tryphaena, the wife of Grypus, ordered that the highest priority be given to hunting down her sister?to ensure that she escape one of the miseries of captivity.  For Tryphaena believed that it was from feelings of jealousy towards herself that Cleopatra had entered this kingdom rather than any other, and that she had declared herself her sister?s enemy by marrying her sister?s foe.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T15 ? Grypus

Synopsis: Cleopatra Thea convinces her son Antiochus VIII Grypus to return to Syria and share the throne.  But once Zabinas is defeated and the kingdom secure, Grypus decides to avenge his brother?s murder. ?Ptolemy (Physcon)?proceeded to devote his entire strength to the destruction of Alexander (Zabinas?) kingdom, which the latter had acquired by Ptolemy?s resources solely because of his hatred for Demetrius (II).  He therefore sent assistance to Grypus on a massive scale and also gave him the hand of his daughter, Tryphaena, in marriage.?  ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39 ?After recovering his father?s throne and being freed from threats from abroad, Grypus became the target of his mother?s treachery.  Through her lust for power she had already betrayed her husband, Demetrius, and killed her other son; now she took it ill that her prestige was diminished by Grypus? victory, and so she set before him a cup of poison.?  ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T14 ? Zabinas

Synopsis: Demetrius II returns to Syria, but his unpopularity ? and support for the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra II ? results in a usurper named Alexander Zabinas taking most of his kingdom.  Fleeing a military defeat, Demetrius is denied entry to Ptolemais-Akko by Cleopatra Thea, an act that leads to his death.  The elevation of their son Seleucus V results in a darker tragedy. ?Released from confinement among the Parthians and restored to his throne, Antiochus? brother Demetrius (II) decided to make war on Egypt?For his mother-in-law, Cleopatra (II), promised him the throne of Egypt as the reward for his assistance against her brother.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39. ?Demetrius (II), for his part, was defeated by Alexander (Zabinas) and, with misfortune besetting him on all sides, he was finally abandoned even by his wife and children. Left with a few slaves, he made for Tyre, intending to use the sanctity of the temple to protect himself; but as he disembarked from this ship he was killed on the orders of the governor.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 39. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T13 ? Eunus

Synopsis: A Syrian man from Apamea, enslaved on the island of Sicily, renames himself King Antiochus and launches the first large-scale slave rebellion against the Roman Republic.   ?The Sicilians, through the enjoyment of a long peace, grew very rich, and brought up an abundance of slaves; who being driven in droves like so many herds of cattle from the different places where they were bred and brought up, were branded with certain marks burned on their bodies?.their masters were very strict and severe with them, and took no care to provide either necessary food or clothing for them, so that most of them were forced to rob and steal to get these necessities; so that all places were full of slaughters and murders.? ? Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 34   ?Then they made Eunus king, not for his valor or skill in warfare, but on account of his extraordinary tricks, and because he was made the leader and author of the defection?At length, putting a diadem upon his head and graced with all the emblems of royalty, he caused his wife, who was also a Syrian from the same city, to be called queen, and chose such as he judged to be the most prudent to be his councillors.? ? Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 34   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T12 ? Sar Matati

Synopsis: After Mithridates is struck down by an illness, his son Phraates II defends Parthian gains against the army of Antiochus VII.  Forced to retreat to Hyrcania, Phraates sets events in motion that result in the deaths of both kings. ?On Antiochus (VII)?s approach, many eastern princes came to meet him, surrendering their persons and their thrones, with curses of the arrogance of the Parthians.  The first encounter took place forthwith.  Victorious in three battles, Antiochus seized Babylon and began to be dubbed ?the Great.?  Thus, as all the peoples were defecting to him, the Parthians were left with nothing but the lands of their fathers.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 38 ?When word of (a revolt) came to Antiochus (VII), he advanced with the contingent which was wintering with him in order to assist those who were closest at hand, only to meet while on the march the king of the Parthians, against whom he put up a braver fight than did his forces.  Finally, however, the enemy?s valor prevailed and Antiochus, deserted by his craven troops, was killed.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 38 ?Let?s sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings, how some were overthrown and others killed in war.  Some were haunted by the ghosts of the kings they had overthrown.? ? Shakespeare, Richard II: Act 3 Scene 2 Map of the Parthian Empire c. 96 BC, which is fairly similar to what they held under Mithridates I c. 138 BC: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T11 ? Euergetes

Synopsis: Ongoing strife in Anatolia and Egypt allows Antiochus VII to campaign east against the Parthians.  His early successes inspire hopes of a resurgent Seleucid Empire, hopes shattered by his unexpected death. ?In Asia, Attalos III as soon as he came to the throne began to manage affairs in a way quite different from all the former kings; for they, by their clemency and kindness to their subjects, reigned prosperously and happily themselves and were a blessing to the kingdom; but this prince being of a cruel and bloody disposition oppressed his subjects with many slaughters and grievous calamities.? ? Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 35 ?Ptolemy Physcon, when he saw that his sister Cleopatra (II) was so great an enemy to him, and could not revenge himself otherwise upon her, contrived a most abominable piece of villainy for that purpose.  For, imitating the cruelty of Medeia, he murdered her son, begotten by himself, in Cyprus; the son was called Memphites, and was still a young boy.? ? Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 35 ?(Queen) Laodice (of Cappadocia) had had six children of the male sex by King Ariarathes (V); she feared that she would not long remain in control of the kingdom once any of them grew up, so she resorted to murder, killing five of them by poison.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 37 Map of Anatolia after the Treaty of Apamea (c. 188 BC): Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode S2 ? The Bactrian Kingdom

?In this battle, Antiochus? horse was wounded and killed, and the king himself was struck through the mouth and lost some of his teeth.  On the whole, he acquired on that occasion the greatest reputation for valor.  Because of this battle, Euthydemus was caught off guard and retreated with his forces into the Bactrian city of Zariaspa.? ? Polybius, The Histories, 10.49  Synopsis: After the death of Alexander the Great, Bactria came under Seleucid rule before gaining its independence under the Diodotid and Euthydemid kings.  In the second part of my interview with historian and author Tristan Hughes, we discuss how the Bactrian Kingdom was born, preserved itself against multiple attempts at Seleucid reconquest, and finally met its end.    Tristan Hughes @BattlesAncients on Twitter   Battles of the Ancients website Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode S1 ? Alexander in Bactria

?I am engaged in a land of a leonine and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a wall of steel confronting my soldiers.  You have brought only one Alexander into the world, but every mother in this land has brought an Alexander into the world.? ? Alexander the Great, in a letter written to his mother Olympias from Bactria Synopsis: Five years of campaigning brought Alexander the Great to the doorstep of Bactria, but he?d spend much of the next three years ? arguably the most difficult of his life ? trying to control the region.  In this first episode of an occasional series called ?The Ancient World ? Spotlight? I?m joined by historian and author Tristan Hughes to discuss the uprising of the Sogdian warlord Spitamenes, quite possibly Alexander?s greatest foe, and the later revolts of Hellenic troops upon news of Alexander?s death. Tristan Hughes @BattlesAncients on Twitter Battles of the Ancients website Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T10 ? Sidetes

Synopsis: Cleopatra Thea marries Demetrius II?s brother, Antiochus VII, becoming the simultaneous queen of two Seleucid kings. While Antiochus crushes Tryphon?s revolt and recovers former Seleucid territories, Demetrius is defeated by Mithridates and imprisoned in distant Hyrcania.   ?But as Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius (II) who was called Soter, was not admitted by any of the cities on account of Tryphon, Cleopatra sent to him, and invited him to marry her, and to take the kingdom. The reasons why she made this invitation were these: That her friends persuaded her to it, and that she was afraid for herself, in case some of the people of Seleucia (Pieria) should deliver up the city to Tryphon. As Antiochus was now come to Seleucia, and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Tryphon; and having beaten him in battle, he ejected him out of Upper Syria into Phoenicia, and pursued him thither, and besieged him in Dora which was a fortress hard to be taken, whither he had fled.? ? Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 7   ?Antiochus well remembered that his father had been hated for his arrogance and his brother despised for his idleness. To avoid falling into the same vices himself, he married Cleopatra, his brother?s widow, and took vigorous action against the cities which had defected at the start of his brother?s reign. He subdued them and added them once more to the territory of his kingdom.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 36.1.9 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T9 ? Tryphon

Synopsis: The Seleucid rebel Diodotus Tryphon uses Thea and Alexander Balas? young son, Antiochus VI, to capture most of Syria.  Though paralyzed at home, Demetrius II embarks on a bold plan to challenge the conquests of Mithridates. ?Now there was a certain commander?whose name was Diodotus, who was also called Tryphon, who took notice of the ill-will the soldiers bore toward Demetrius, and went to (Iamblichus) the Arabian, who brought up Antiochus, the son of Alexander?and persuaded him to give him Antiochus, because he would make him king.? ? Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 5 ?And so cities in all districts rebelled against (Demetrius?) rule; and to remove the stigma of indolence he decided to attack the Parthians.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 36.1.7 Map of Syria c. 200 BC (courtesy of Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T8 ? The City

Synopsis: The rediscovery of Ai Khanoum testified to the wealth and power of the Bactrian Kingdom.  Mithridates? conquest of Babylonia is countered by an unlikely coalition. ?The cities of Bactria were Bactra, which they also call Zariaspa and through which flows a river of the same name that empties into the Oxus, plus the city of Darapsa, and others more. Among these was a city called Eucratideia, named after its ruler? (The Greeks) also controlled Sogdiana, which lies above and to the east of Bactria between the Oxus River ? demarcating Bactrians from Sogdians ? and the Jaxartes River, likewise separating the Sogdians from the nomads.? ? Strabo, Geography, 11.11.2 ?These wise sayings of earlier men, the words of well-known men, are enshrined in the holy Pytho.  There Clearchus copied them faithfully, and set them up here in the sanctuary of Kineas, blazing from afar.                As a child, be well-behaved.                As a youth, be self-controlled.                As an adult, be just.                As an elder, be wise.                As one dying, be without pain.?  ? Inscription at the Heroon (hero?s tomb) of Kineas, oikistes (founder) of the city of Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan, dated 300 ? 250 BC  Map of Ai Khanoum and Ashoka Rock Edicts Map of the Eastern Satrapies Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T7 ? Blazing From Afar

Synopsis: On the eastern frontiers of the Seleucid Empire, Parthia, Bactria and the Indo-Greeks struggle for regional supremacy.  The stalemate in Syria and murder of Eucratides advance the fortunes of Mithridates. ?At about the same time that Mithridates was beginning his rule in Parthia, Eucratides was beginning his in Bactria, both of them great men.  But the fortunes of the Parthians prevailed, carrying them to the zenith of their power under this king.? ? Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 41.6 ?The Yavanas (Greeks) will command, the Kings will disappear.  But ultimately the Yavanas, intoxicated with fighting, will not stay in Madhadesa (the Middle Country); there will be undoubtedly a civil war among them, arising in their own country (Bactria), there will be a terrible and ferocious war.? ? Gargi-Samhita, Yuga Purana, Chapter 7 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T6 ? Philometor

Synopsis: With Syria beset by regional enemies, three kings face off at the Battle of the Oenoparos River.  The lone survivor, King Demetrius II, inaugurates his reign with the violent destruction of Antioch. ?And the king of Egypt gathered together a great host, like the sand that lieth upon the sea shore, and many ships, and went about through deceit to get Alexander?s kingdom, and join it to his own?Wherefore he took his daughter from him, and gave her to Demetrius, and forsook Alexander, so that their hatred was openly known. Then Ptolemy entered into Antioch, where he set two crowns upon his head, the crown of Asia, and of Egypt.? ? 1 Maccabees, Chapter 11 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T5 ? Balas

Synopsis: Demetrius struggles to preserve his throne but ends up falling in battle.  Alexander Balas begins his reign by marrying Ptolemy?s daughter, Cleopatra Thea.  While the sons of Demetrius remain a threat, the couple are also forced to confront the growing menace of Parthia. ?Then gathered king Alexander great forces, and camped over against Demetrius.  And after the two kings had joined battle, Demetrius? host fled: but Alexander followed after him, and prevailed against them.  And he continued the battle very sore until the sun went down: and that day was Demetrius slain.? ? 1 Maccabees Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T4 ? Soter

Synopsis: Demetrius seizes the Syrian throne and stems immediate threats from Media and Judaea.  But deposed officials and regional rulers conspire to engineer his downfall. ?When it became known that the Romans were ill disposed towards Demetrius, not only the other kings but even some of the satraps subject to him regarded his kingship with scant respect.  Of these satraps the most outstanding was a certain Timarchus?By launching many accusations against Demetrius (he) persuaded the senate to enact (a decree making him king).  Emboldened by this decree he raised an army of considerable size in Media; he also entered into alliance against Demetrius with Artaxias, the king of Armenia.? ? Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book XXXI Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T3 ? Thea

Synopsis: Lysias attempts to exercise control through the young King Antiochus V, but a deadly incident with a Roman delegation gives hope to the captive Demetrius.  Ptolemy Physcon challenges his brother Ptolemy VI for control of Egypt and Cyprus. ?They then went on board, and the pilot weighed anchor and started just as the day was breaking, having absolutely no idea of the real state of the case, but believing that he was conveying some soldiers from Menyllus to Ptolemy?It was not until the fourth day after his start that, Demetrius being looked for in vain, the truth was suspected.  On the fifth the Senate was hastily summoned to consider the matter, when Demetrius had already cleared the Straits of Messina.  The Senate gave up all idea of pursuit.? ? Polybius, The Histories, Book XXXI Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T2 ? Megas

Synopsis: Antiochus the Great restores Seleucid fortunes, but his son Antiochus IV sews the seeds of the Empire?s destruction. ?On (Antiochus IV), after reading the dispatch, saying that he desired to consult with his friends on the situation, Popilius did a thing which was looked upon as exceedingly overbearing and insolent. Happening to have a vine stick in his hand, he drew a circle round Antiochus with it, and ordered him to give his answer to the letter before he stepped out of that circumference.? ? Polybius, the Histories, Book XXIX Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode T1 ? Nicator

Synopsis: Seleucus I Nicator forges the Seleucid Empire, and his descendants spend the next century struggling to preserve his legacy. ?In Asia, after the defeat of Demetrius at Gaza in Syria, Seleucus, receiving from Ptolemy no more than eight hundred foot soldiers and about two hundred horse, set out for Babylon.? ? Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book XIX Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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The Rest of My Interview

with Drew from the Wonders of the World Podcast, where we talk about Palmyra, Odaenathus, and (of course) Queen Zenobia.  Enjoy! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Just Did My First Interview

with the lovely and talented Drew from the Wonders of the World podcast, where we talk about the exotic Roman Emperor Elagabalus, the amazing temple complex at Baalbek, and lots of other fun stuff.  Enjoy!  And please also check out his other episodes (it helps if you bring a healthy love of Demetrius Poliorcetes ? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode B54 ? Efqa

Synopsis:  Monotheism, modern Syria, the world?s first romance story, and the end of the Bloodline. ?The oasis and town of Palmyra owe their existence to the plentiful spring that runs from Jebel Muntar.  This spring dominates a narrow passage in the principal route between the Homs pass and the Euphrates River and is in the heart of the Syrian desert.  The oasis furnishes a resting place between Iraq and Central Syria, and it was a primary stop for caravans plying between the Gulf, Iran, and the Mediterranean.? ? Khaled Al-Asaad and Adnan Bounni, Palmyra: History, Monuments & Museum Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode B53 ? Memento Mori

Synopsis: Aurelian returns East to crush Palmyrene revolts in Syria and Egypt. The sources relate differing accounts of Zenobia?s ultimate fate. ?To the tumultuous throng which crowded under these porticoes the solitude of death has succeeded. The silence of the tomb is substituted for the hum of polite places.? ? Count C.F.C deVolney, The Ruins, or Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires ?The elevation of Odaenathus and Zenobia appeared to reflect new splendor on their country, and Palmyra, for a while, stood forth the rival of Rome; but the competition was fatal, and ages of prosperity were sacrificed to a moment of glory.? ? Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ?When the sand seems to disappear, not beneath the verdure of an oasis but beneath an accumulation of marble and worked stones, silence falls among the travelers?it is then that a man, even the least civilized, feels himself to be small and, despite himself, meditates on the presence of that mighty ruin as upon a mighty sorrow.? ? L. Double, 1877 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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