Syrian Wars of Antiochus

B.C. 191 to 190
Roman Republic — versus — Seleucids Empire under Antiochus the Great

From the time he assumed the Seleucid throne in 223 BC, Antiochus the great began consolidating power, and won considerable territory in Syria from the Ptolemies of Egypt. In 196 BC he began warring in Asia minor at the same time Rome was consolidating its victories in the Second Macedonian War. Under the influence of Hannibal Barca, who had taken refuge at his court after his exile from Carthage, and Philip V, the Macedonian king, Antiochus resolved to challenge Rome's territories in Greece. In 192 BC, after making alliances with several Greek states, he invaded Greece with an army of 10,000. He was defeated at Thermopylae by a Roman army, led by Lucius Cornelius Scipio, brother of the famous Scipio Africanus.

There followed three naval battles against Rome, all victories for Rome. One of these naval battles, Eurymedon, was led by Hannibal, who there met the Romans for the last time, but upon his defeat, was forced to flee the court of Antiochus. The Romans pursued the Seleucid army into Asia Minor, and with the aid of the Eumenes II of Pergamum, drove Antiochus from the region. Scipio Africanus, hero of Zama, served under his brother at the final battle of Magnesia, after which, Rome ceded the provinces of Phrygia and Lydia to their ally Eumenes II. The war against Antiochus marked the Romans first foray into Asia Minor, a territory, which they would later claim as a Roman province.

DateBattle Summary
191 BC  
Battle of Thermopylae   Romans victory
Fought B.C. 191, between 40,000 Romans, under Glabrio, and the army of Antiochus the Great, King of Asia, Antiochus was entrenched at Thermopylae, where he was attacked by the Romans, and a post held by 2,000 Aetolians being surprised, his flank was turned, and he was disastrously defeated. Antiochus escaped from the field with barely 500 men.
191 BC  
Battle of Cyssus   Romans victory
Fought B.C. 191 between the Roman fleet of 105 triremes under Caius Livius, and the fleet of Antiochus, numbering 70 sail, under Polyxenides. Polyxenides sailed out of Cyssus to encounter the Romans, but was defeated with a loss of 23 ships, and forced to seek refuge at Ephesus.
191 BC  
Battle of Aspendus   Rhodes victory
Fought B.C. 191, between the Syrian fleet of Antiochus the Great, under Hannibal, and a Rhodian squadron under Eudamus. Though Hannibal was in superior force, he suffered a severe defeat.
190 BC  
Battle of Myonnesus   Romans victory
Fought B.C. 190, between the Roman fleet, under Caius Livius, and the fleet of Antiochus, under Polyxenides, who had an advantage of nine ships. He was, however, defeated by the superior seamanship of the Romans, with a loss of 42 vessels.
190 BC  
Battle of Magnesia   Romans victory
Fought B.C. 190, between Antiochus the Great, with 80,000 troops, and the Romans, 40,000 strong, under Cnaeus Domitius. Antiochus, leading the right wing, drove back the Roman left and penetrated to their camp, which he nearly succeeded in capturing. His left wing, however, was routed, and his elephants becoming unmanageable, broke the ranks of the phalanx, whereupon his whole army fled in confusion, with a loss, it is said, of 50,000 killed. The Romans lost 300 only.

Short Biography
Antiochus III King of Syria who warred with Rome in Thrace and Asia Minor.
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Lucius Cornelius Scipio Brother of Scipio Africanus. Defeated Antiochus III at Thermopylae and Magnesia.
Eumenes II of Pergamon King of Pergamon(197 to 160 B.C.). Allied with Rome to defeat Antiochus II at Magnesia.
Scipio Africanus Roman hero of second Punic War. Led armies in Spain and Africa. Defeated Hannibal at Zama.

Story Links
Book Links
Hannibal a Fugitive and an Exile  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Hannibal's Last Battle  in  Helmet and Spear  by  Alfred J. Church
Roman Conquests  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Death of Hannibal  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
How Hannibal Fought and Died  in  Historical Tales: Roman  by  Charles Morris