Early Life and Career:
- Seleucus was born in Macedonia in the 350’s BC (dates unclear)
- Seleucus Father was a possibly a General under Phillip.
- As a teenager, Seleucus was chosen to serve as the king’s page
- In 334 BC as a young man, Seleucus accompanied Alexander into Asia. By the time of the Indian campaigns beginning in late in 327 BC, he had risen to the command the elite Hypaspistai, also known as the Silvershields.
- During the Battle of the Hydaspes, Seleucus led his troops against the elephants of King Porus.
Satrap of Babylon:
•With the death of Alexander the empire was divided.
•Perdiccas became somewhat of an interim ruler in Alexander’s place.
•Seleucus began his post-Alexander career serving as commander of the Hetaroi (Cavalry) under Perdiccas.
•Perdiccas was assassinated soon after by the conspiring Diadochi and a new dividing of the empire took place.
•The Treaty of Triparadisus was agreed upon to divide the empire.
•Within this treaty the Satrap of Babylon was given to Seleucus.
•Seleucus welcomes Antigonus into Babylon but their relationship soon falls apart over a dispute in which Seleucus reprimands one of Antigonus’s officers.
•Seleucus is forced to flee his own city of Babylon to Ptolemy in Egypt for fear of Antigonus. In doing this Seleucus leaves his former city at the mercy and control of Antigonus.
•Seleucus sent word to the other Diadochi that with Antigonus’s taking of Babylon Antigonus was now the most powerful of them. Seleucus convinces them to ally against Antigonus.
•Seleucus serves as an Admiral under Ptolemy fighting against Antigonus and his allies.
•Antigonus made Babylon one of his satraps and left it relatively undefended.
•Seleucus would return to Babylon with a few thousand men given to him by Ptolemy as well as soldiers he recruited en route.
•Seleucus regained control of Babylon with ease.
•The Seleucid Empire formed out of this second conquest of Babylon and it became the known starting date of his empire.
•Little information is available between the war that took place between Antigonus and Seleucus following Seleucus’ retaking of Babylon.
•It is believed that Antigonus was able to retake Babylon but was disrupted by Ptolemy coming up to attack him from the south.
•There is a description available of one decisive battle in which the sides were evenly matched after a days fighting. Both armies agreed to rest throughout the night. Antigonus’s men camped and slept without their equipment, while Seleucus’s men slept in battle formation with their equipment on.
•In the morning Seleucus attacked early before Antigonus was prepared.
•Antigonus’s army was in disarray and was easily defeated.
•Seleucus eventually won the Babylonian Wars forcing Antigonus to retreat west, back into his own empire.
Seleucus in India:
•Seleucus turned his attention east.
•Seleucus traveled east and took a small portion of India in doing this he went to war with the Mauryan Empire.
•Sources are scarce on Seleucus’ activities in India but it is believed that he was losing the war against the Mauryan Empire.
• Seleucus eventually agrees to a compromise in which Seleucus would cede his easternmost land to the Mauryan empire in exchange for 500 war elephants.
Battle of Ipsus:
•Seleucus, Cassander, and Lysimachus defeated Antigonus and Demetrius in the battle of Ipsus.
•Seleucus made good use of the war elephants he received from the Mauryan Empire in the battle.
•Antigonus died during the battle.
•After the battle, Syria was placed under Seleucus’ rule.
•Seleucus did not add any new land to his kingdom in the west. The main reason was that he did not have troops to do so.
Seleucus Removes Lysimachus:
•Lysimachus ruled Macedon and had a loose alliance with Seleucus and Ptolemy.
•Lysimachus’ son Agathocles was heir to Lysimachus and was popular among his people. Agathocles stepmother Arsinoe II, turned Lysimachus against his son.
•Lysimachus made an attempt to poison Agathocles and failed.
•So Lysimachus cast him into prison, where he was murdered.
•Seleucus used this act by Lysimachus as an opportunity to take him out of power.
•Seleucus invaded and defeated his Lysimachus in the Battle of Corupedium in Lydia.
•With the death of Lysimachus after the battle, Seleucus stood as the only remaining contemporary to Alexander.
The Death of Seleucus:
•Ptolemy Keraunos was the eldest son of Ptolemy I.
•Ptolemy Keraunos was sent to live with Lysimachus and his half sister Arsinoe II.
•After Lysimachus’ defeat at the hand of Seleucus Ptolemy Keraunos saw an opportunity for himself.
•Ptolemy Keraunos assassinated Seleucus
•After the assassination he fled to Lysimacheia where he had himself declared as king.
•Ptolemy Keraunos was in power for only a short time before he was captured and killed by the Gaul’s.
•Seleucus’ empire was left under the control of his son Antiochus I Soter.