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Alexander I Balas

Coin of the Seleucid king Alexander Balas.
Alexander I Balas
Alexander I Balas (from Bel, Semitic for 'lord'): name of a Seleucid king, ruled from 152 to 145.

Successor of: Demetrius I Soter


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Bust of Ptolemy VI Philometor, from Aegina. Now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens (Greece). Photo Jona Lendering.
Bust of Ptolemy VI Philometor, from Aegina (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)
Main deeds:
  • Summer 152: Insurrection against Demetrius I Soter, supported by Rome, the Seleucid princess Laodice VI, Attalus II Philadelphus, Ariarathes V Philopator of Cappadocia, and Ptolemy VI Philometor
  • In Judaea, the Hasmonaean leader Jonathan also supports Alexander and is recognized as high priest; Judaean troops play a role in this civil war
  • June 150: Demetrius is defeated near Antioch; one of his officers, Diodotus, makes sure that Alexander can capture the capital; the victorious king starts to call himself Epiphanes, 'manifestation of the god', like his (presumed) father Antiochus IV
  • 150: Marriage to Cleopatra Thea (daughter of Ptolemy VI Philometor) in Ptolemais
  • 147: Cleopatra gives birth to Alexander's son Antiochus VI Dionysus
  • 146: Revolt of Demetrius II Nicator; Jonathan defeats Demetrius' general Apollonius
  • 146: Cilician revolt
  • 146: Ptolemy supports Demetrius' claim to the throne; Cleopatra leaves her husband and remarries with Demetrius; her father captures Antioch, but is killed
  • Beginning of August 145: Alexander Balas flees but is killed by the Nabataean Arabs
  • Alexander's supporter Diodotus saves Alexander's son Antiochus, who is now two years old
Succeeded by: Demetrius II Nicator, who inherits a civil war against Diodotus and Alexander' son Antiochus VI Dionysus

Contemporary events:

  • The reign of Alexander Balas created a great disturbance, which resulted in the take-over of the eastern part of the empire by the Parthians and the rise of Cilician pirates

This brief article has been written to offer background information
to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, this webpage will be
improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.

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