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The Fall of the Seleukid Empire 187-75 BC (ePub)

Ancient History Military

By John D Grainger
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 1.6 MB (.epub)
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 5 or 6 b/w maps
ISBN: 9781473874190
Published: 11th November 2015


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The concluding part of John D Grainger's history of the Seleukids traces the tumultuous last century of their empire. In this period it was riven by dynastic disputes, secessions and rebellions, the religiously-inspired insurrection of the Jewish Maccabees, civil war and external invasion from Egypt in the West and the Parthians in the East. By the 80s BC, the empire was disintegrating, internally fractured and squeezed by the converging expansionist powers of Rome and Parthia. This is a fittingly, dramatic and colourful conclusion to John Grainger's masterful account of this once-mighty empire.

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UNRV - reviewed by Philip Matyszak

All in all the book is a good overview of a fascinating and little-known period of Hellenistic history.

Read the full review here.

Amazon, Justin Swanton

For large parts of this period there are very limited sources. Events in Judea are covered by the not terribly reliable work of Josephus and the books of Maccabees. The prolonged civil war that followed from the disastrous defeat in the east in 131-129 is terribly poorly documents, and much of its course can only be followed using coin evidence. Grainger does a good job of producing a convincing narrative using the limited sources.


To get the best from The Fall Of The Seleukids it would be worthwhile making sure you've absorbed the first two volumes. Nonetheless you can enjoy and learn from this book alone. Like the fall of any other empire or the folly of human behaviour - the story is compelling.


The greater the empire, the more various the reasons for its dissolution. In the concluding volume of his trilogy on the Seleukid Empire, John D Grainger lists the reasons for the decline of Seleukid power in the years after 150 BC...

... In Grainger's account, the fall of the Seleukid's is as enlightening as the rise.

Minerva Magazine, July 2016 – Dominic Green

This is the last of three volumes (already presented in VaeVictis) devoted to the history of the Hellenistic dynasty founded by Seleucus.
The conclusion focuses on the legacy of the Seleucids and their contribution to history.

VaeVictus No.125

About John D Grainger

JOHN D GRAINGER is a former teacher and historian of great experience with a particular interest in Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. His many previous works include the following for Pen & Sword: Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars (2011); The Wars of the Maccabees (2012); Roman Conquests: Egypt and Judaea (2013); a three-part history of the Seleukid Empire (2014-16), King’s and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC (2017), Antipater’s Dynasty (2018), Ancient Dynasties (2019, The Roman Imperial Succession (March 2020), The Straits from Troy to Constantinople (2021) and The Forty Sieges of Constantinople (2022). He lives in Evesham, Worcestershire.

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