Antiochus I Soter

This article is about the Seleucid King of the third century BC. For the king of Commagene of the first century BC, see Antiochus I Theos of Commagene.
Antiochus I Soter

Silver coin of Antiochus I. The reverse shows Apollo seated on an omphalos. The Greek inscription reads ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ (of king Antiochus).
Basileus of the Seleucid Empire
Reign 281–261 BC
Predecessor Seleucus I Nicator
Successor Antiochus II Theos
Born ca. 324/3 BC
Persia or Mesopotamia
Died 261 BC
Spouse Stratonice of Syria
Issue Seleucus
Apama II
Stratonice of Macedon
Antiochus II Theos
Dynasty Seleucid dynasty
Father Seleucus I Nicator
Mother Apama
Religion Greek polytheism
Gold stater of Antiochus I minted at Alexandria on the Oxus, c. 275 BC. Obverse: Diademed head of Antiochus right. Reverse: Nude Apollo seated on omphalos left, leaning on bow and holding two arrows. Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY (of King Antiochos). Δ monogram of Ai-Khanoum in left field.

Antiochus I Soter (Greek: Ἀντίοχος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour"; c. 324/3 – 261 BC), was a king of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. He succeeded his father Seleucus I Nicator in 281 BC and reigned until his death in 261 BC.


Antiochus I was half Sogdian,[1][2] his mother Apama, daughter of Spitamenes, being one of the eastern princesses whom Alexander the Great had given as wives to his generals in 324 BC. In 294 BC, prior to the death of his father Seleucus I, Antiochus married his stepmother, Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. His elderly father reportedly instigated the marriage after discovering that his son was in danger of dying of lovesickness. Stratonice bore five children to Antiochus: Seleucus (he was executed for rebellion), Laodice, Apama II, Stratonice of Macedon and Antiochus II Theos, who succeeded his father as king.

On the assassination of his father in 281 BC, the task of holding together the empire was a formidable one. A revolt in Syria broke out almost immediately. Antiochus was soon compelled to make peace with his father's murderer, Ptolemy Keraunos, apparently abandoning Macedonia and Thrace. In Anatolia he was unable to reduce Bithynia or the Persian dynasties that ruled in Cappadocia.

In 278 BC the Gauls broke into Anatolia, and a victory that Antiochus won over these Gauls by using Indian war elephants (275 BC) is said to have been the origin of his title of Soter (Gr. for "saviour").

At the end of 275 BC the question of Coele-Syria, which had been open between the houses of Seleucus and Ptolemy since the partition of 301 BC, led to hostilities (the First Syrian War). It had been continuously in Ptolemaic occupation, but the house of Seleucus maintained its claim. War did not materially change the outlines of the two kingdoms, though frontier cities like Damascus and the coast districts of Asia Minor might change hands.

On March 27 268 BC Antiochus I laid the foundation for the Ezida Temple in Borsippa. His eldest son Seleucus had ruled in the east as viceroy from 275 BC(?) till 268/267 BC; Antiochus put his son to death in the latter year on the charge of rebellion. Circa 262 BC Antiochus tried to break the growing power of Pergamum by force of arms, but suffered defeat near Sardis and died soon afterwards. He was succeeded in 261 BC by his second son Antiochus II Theos.

He was asked by the Bindusara to send sweet wine, figs and a philosopher.[3]


  1. Magill, Frank N. et al. (1998), The Ancient World: Dictionary of World Biography, Volume 1, Pasadena, Chicago, London,: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Salem Press, p. 1010, ISBN 0-89356-313-7.
  2. Holt, Frank L. (1989), Alexander the Great and Bactria: the Formation of a Greek Frontier in Central Asia, Leiden, New York, Copenhagen, Cologne: E. J. Brill, pp 64–65 (see footnote #63 for a discussion on Spitamenes and Apama), ISBN 90-04-08612-9.
  3. Mookerjji 1988, p. 38.


External links

Antiochus I Soter
Born: 324 BC Died: 261 BC
Preceded by
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucid ruler
281261 BC
Succeeded by
Antiochus II Theos
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