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This is an extract from the Wikipedia entry


The Babylonian War was a conflict fought between 311–309 between the Diadochi Antigonus Monophtalmus and Seleucus, ending in a victory for the latter. The conflict ended any possibility of restoration of the empire of Alexander the Great, a result confirmed in the Battle of Ipsus. It also marked the infancy of the Seleucid Empire by giving Seleucus control over the eastern satrapies of Alexander's former empire.
Opponents: Antigonid dynasty versus Seleucid Empire
Commanders and leaders:
Antigonus I Monophthalmus Demetrius Poliorcetes
Seleucus I Nicator

After the death of Alexander the Great on 11 June 323, his empire disintegrated. Officers who were trying to save it were defeated during the First War of the Diadochi. During the Second War of the Diadochi, the power of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who had created a state of his own in Anatolia and Syria, was growing; this caused alarm among the other generals, but in the Third War of the Diadochi, Antigonus managed to keep Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt and Cassander of Macedon in check.
In December 311, the warring parties concluded the Peace of the Dynasts, and recognized each other. The only ruler who was excluded was Seleucus I Nicator. Antigonus had expelled Seleucus, satrap of Babylonia, in 316, but Ptolemy had given him an army, which he now used to return to his satrapy.

Seleucus, reinforced with Macedonian veterans from Harran, reached his former capital, Babylon, in the second half of May 311. He was soon recognized as the new ruler. Only the fortress remained occupied by a garrison loyal to Antigonus. Seleucus now built a dam in the Euphrates and created an artificial lake; in August, he suddenly broke the dam, and a flood wave destroyed the walls of the fortress. Antigonus' satraps in Media and Aria, Nicanor and Euagoras, now decided to intervene with an army of 10,000 infantry and 7,000 horsemen, but Seleucus and an army of 3,000 infantry and 400 cavalry had been waiting for them near the Tigris since September 311. By hiding his men in one of the marshes and attacking by night, Seleucus was able to defeat the Macedonian soldiers in the army of Nicanor and Euagoras, after which the Iranian soldiers decided to side with the ruler of Babylonia (November 311). Without any problems, Seleucus could move through the Zagros Mountains, occupy Ecbatana (the capital of Media), and continue to Susa (the capital of Elam). He now controlled southern Iraq and the greater part of Iran. News of the defeat of Nicanor and Euagoras must have reached Antigonus at about the time of his signing the Peace of the Dynasts (December 311). He ordered his son Demetrius Poliorcetes to restore order; he arrived in the early spring of 310, when Seleucus was still in the east. Although Demetrius managed to enter Babylon, he was not able to cope with the resistance that Seleucus' adherents were able to organize, and he returned to Syria without having achieved his goal. His father Antigonus tried again in the autumn of 310, and also managed to enter Babylon, but was forced to leave the city in March 309.
Returning to the northwest, he met the army of Seleucus, who ordered his soldiers to have their meal during the night, attacked Antigonus' soldiers while they were having breakfast, and won a decisive victory.

Antigonus retreated and accepted that Babylonia, Media, and Elam belonged to Seleucus. The victor now moved to the east and reached the Indus valley, where he concluded a treaty with Chandragupta Maurya. The Mauryan emperor received the eastern parts of the Seleucid Empire, which included Afghanistan, Pakistan and west India, and gave Seleucus a formidable force of five hundred war elephants. By adding all of Iran and Afghanistan, Seleucus became the most powerful ruler since Alexander the Great. Restoration of Alexander's Empire was, after the Babylonian War, no longer possible. This outcome was confirmed in the Fourth War of the Diadochi and the Battle of Ipsus.




How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 July 2007), Babylonian War (311-308 BC?) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/wars_babylonian.html


The Babylonian War is one of the most obscure of all Hellenistic Wars. We know who it was between, roughly where it was fought, and who won, but we do not know the date or location of its decisive battle, and we can only be sure when it ended because of the future actions of the main participants. The war was fought between Antigonus Monophthalmus, at this point the most powerful of Alexander the Great’s successors, with an empire that include most of Asia Minor and Syria, and Seleucus, satrap of Babylon since 320. At the end of the Second Diadoch War Antigonus had turned his attention to Seleucus, expelling him from Babylon. Seleucus had fled to Ptolemy in Egypt, and an alliance had formed against Antigonus. This led to the Third Diadoch War (315-311). For the first three years Seleucus had to wait impatiently in Egypt for Ptolemy to make his move. The time came in 312 BC. Ptolemy defeated Antigonus’s son Demetrius at Gaza. In the aftermath of that victory, Seleucus returned to Babylon and seized power. He then began to expand his influence in the surrounding areas, before moving into Iran. The Third Diadoch War came to an end with the peace treaty of 311. Seleucus was not included in this treaty, and Antigonus now turned his attention east, in the Babylonian War. The actual events of the war are obscure. We know that Antigonus invaded Babylonia. He occupied part of the city of Babylon, but perhaps not the citadel, but Seleucus remained at large in the countryside. Finally there was a decisive battle, between Antigonus and (probably) Seleucus. Seleucus was victorious, and Antigonus forced to withdraw. Seleucus’s victory was probably followed by a formal peace with Antigonus, although no details survive. In 308 Seleucus can be found campaigning on the Indian border of his empire, and Antigonus was active in the Mediterranean. Neither would have felt able to do this if there had still been an active war between them. His victory in the Babylonian War allowed Seleucus secure his control of the eastern part of Alexander’s Asian empire. This would become the foundation of the Seleucid Empire, one of the three main kingdoms of the Hellenistic age.


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