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The article is dedicated to Polybius’ overview of the war between the Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great and the Greco-Bactrian ruler Euthydemus I the God happened circa 208–206 BC. These events are illustrated in his Histories created in the 2nd century BC. The author of this article considers issues connected with the Polybius’ the political and philosophic purposes in recital of these events, makes an attempt of their reconstruction.

In the Battle of the Arius description and the Bactrian campaign by Polybius, one can see the author praises Antiochus III. This Seleucid dynasty’s representative during the collusions on the battlefi elds and during the peace negotiations with the Greco-Bactrian king proved himself as a brave warrior and a wise diplomat. The description of the war with Euthydemus I has an extremely important ideological meaning for the illustrations of Polybius’ theoretical ideas based on the practical material. After all this ancient author criticizes in next parts of his work this Seleucid ruler’s deeds and depicts him as one of the greatest tyrant of that epoch, opposed him to the Roman Republic. Thereupon the Bactrian campaign is just the background of the depiction of Antiochus’ III personality.

To understand Antiochus’ III commander and war talents the ancient author offers us to view the bright scene of the frontier struggle on the Arius. Exactly here Polybius depicts Antiochus III as the absolute talent in strategic and tactics. Here one can see on the concrete examples, perhaps they were reconstructed by this literary man, the classical tactic positions of the forces formation, the optimal use of the different kinds of army by the fl ash-like march, the water barrier forcing and the following crossing of the remaining army by the enemy simultaneous resistance of the large horse regiments.


The Hellenistic period, Greco-Bactria, Seleucids, Polybius, the Battle of the Arius, Antiochus III, Euthydemus I

Artem A. Popov. St. Petersburg State University of Culture, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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