Appian, The Syrian Wars

Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165): one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians, author of a Roman History in twenty-four books.

Although only his books on the Roman Civil Wars survive in their entirety, large parts of Appian's book on the Syrian War, or Syriaca, have also come down to us. This book deals with the war that the Romans and the Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great fought in 192-188, but also discusses, as an appendix, the history of the Seleucid Empire. The Syriaca is a valuable source for the history of the ancient Near East between the reign of Alexander the Great and the Roman conquest.

The translation was made by Horace White; notes by Jona Lendering.

There are two systems to divide the Syriaca: in seventy sections or eleven chapters. On these webpages, the text is divided into sections; the following table shows the division into chapters.


Prelude to war

§1: Career of Antiochus the Great;
§2: Disagreement with Rome;
§3: Negotiations at Lysimacheia;
§4: Hannibal at Ephesus;
§5: Antiochus forms alliances.



§6: Antiochus sends ambassadors to Rome;
§7: Hannibal's first advice;
§8: Hannibal sends a message to his Carthaginian friends;
§9: Roman ambassadors meet Hannibal;
§10: Hannibal meets Scipio;
§11: Circumstances of Hannibal's death.


Outbreak of war

§12: Antiochus' invasion of Greece;
§13: King Amynander of the Athamanes supports Antiochus;
§14: Hannibal's second advice;
§15: Roman preparations;
§16: Philip sides with Rome.


Roman successes in Greece

§17: Romans invade Greece;
§18: Antiochus fortifies Thermopylae;
§19: Battle at Thermopylae;
§20: Defeat of Antiochus;
§21: Roman advance to Aetolia;
§22: Roman naval victory.


The Romans invade Asia

§23: The Scipios march through Macedonia;
§24: Roman naval defeat;
§25: Naval operations;
§26: Siege of Pergamon;
§27: Naval battle off Myonessus.


The battle of Magnesia

§28: Antiochus' panic;
§29: Antiochus opens negotiations;
§30: Prelude to the battle of Magnesia;
§31: The Roman formation;
§32: Antiochus' formation;
§33: Battle of Magnesia (Syrian attack);
§34: Battle of Magnesia (Eumenes' counter-attack);
§35: Battle of Magnesia (Antiochus' phalanx broken);
§36: After the battle.


The Peace of Apamea

§37: Reactions;
§38: Scipio's speech;
§39: Peace of Apamea;


§40: Trial of Scipio Africanus;
§41: An anecdote about Epaminondas;
§42: Galatian campaign of Manlius Vulso;
§43: Setback in Thrace;
§44: Rewards for Eumenes.


Decline of the Seleucid Empire

§45: Seleucus IV Philopator and Antiochus IV Epiphanes;
§46: Antiochus V Eupator;
§47: Demetrius I Soter;
§48: Tigranes II the Great;
§49: Pompey subdues Antiochus XIII;
§50: Pompey conquers Judaea;
§51: First skirmishes of the Parthian wars.


The career of Seleucus

§52: Asia after the death of Alexander;
§53: Antigonus Monophthalmus;
§54: Third Diadoch War;
§55: Seleucus I Nicator;
§56: Omina concerning Seleucus;
§57: Cities of Seleucus;
§58: Seleucia-on-Tigris.


The career of Seleucus

§59: Antiochus and Stratonice;
§60: (continued);
§61: Marriage of Antiochus and Stratonice;
§62: Death of Seleucus;
§63: Burial of Seleucus;
§64: Death of Lysimachus.


History of the Seleucid Empire

§65: Successors of Seleucus;
§66: Antiochus IV Epiphanes;
§67: Demetrius I Soter and Demetrius II Nicator;
§68: Palace intrigues;
§69: More palace intrigues;
§70: End of the Seleucids.