17 Facts About Alexander Balas


Alexander Balas married the princess Cleopatra Thea to seal an alliance with the neighboring Ptolemaic kingdom.

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Alexander Balas's reign saw the steady retreat of the Seleucid Empire's eastern border, with important eastern satrapies such as Media being lost to the nascent Parthian Empire.

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Alexander Balas claimed to be the son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Laodice IV and heir to the Seleucid throne.

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Numismatic evidence shows that Alexander Balas had gained control of Seleucia Pieria, Byblos, Beirut, Tyre by 151 BC.

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On this coinage, Alexander Balas heavily advertised his connection to Antiochus IV, depicting Zeus Nicephorus on his coinage as Antiochus had done.

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Alexander Balas assumed the title of Theopator, which recalled Antiochus' epithet Theos Epiphanes.

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Alexander Balas gained control of Antioch at this time and his chancellor, Ammonius, murdered all the courtiers of Demetrius I, as well as his wife Laodice and his eldest son Antigonus.

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Ptolemy VI Philometor of Egypt entered into an alliance with Alexander Balas, which was sealed by Alexander Balas's marriage to his daughter Cleopatra Thea.

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Alexander Balas took the opportunity to shower honours on Jonathan, whom he treated as his main agent in Judaea.

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Alexander Balas is shown with divine attributes and is depicted in front of the king.

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Some scholars have seen Alexander Balas as little more than a Ptolemaic puppet, arguing that this coinage emphasises Cleopatra's dominance over him and that the chancellor Ammonius was a Ptolemaic agent.

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Alexander Balas is not recorded to do anything of note to stem the steady erosion of Seleucid power in the East.

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Alexander Balas was reputed to hand the administration over to two commanders, Hierax and Diodotus, neither of whom seemed to care for anything but their own interests.

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Alexander Balas returned from Cilicia with his army, but Ptolemy VI and Demetrius II defeated his forces in a Battle of the Oenoparus River.

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Alexander Balas now fled to Arabia in order to join up with Zabdiel, but he was killed.

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Alexander Balas's severed head was brought to Ptolemy, who died shortly after from wounds sustained in the battle.

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Alexander Balas is the title character of the oratorio Alexander Balas Balus, written in 1747 by George Frideric Handel.

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