Iran at the Time of Alexander the Great and the Seleucids

Evangelos Venetis

in The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732159
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Iran at the Time of Alexander the Great and the Seleucids

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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The lack of Persian sources, both about the fall of the Achaemenid Empire and Seleucid rule in Iran, is an important issue for the Iranian history of this period. All available records being in Greek and Latin, there is a stark absence of the defeated side's (Persian) perspective. Also, while there exists ample record of Alexander's conquest of Iran, the same is not true for the Selueucid period. Alexander's invasion of the Persian empire was the result of political antagonism between the two empires, in the previous two centuries. Both Darius III and Alexander, borne out of internal turmoil of Persia and Greece, respectively, after a long drawn war, spread out across Asia minor, fought the decisive battle at Gaugamela, which resulted in a total Persian defeat. The destruction of the Persepolis, as a reprimand, etched a gross memory in the Persian psyche, enabling a negative profile of Alexander forever.

Keywords: Seleucid; Alexander; political antagonism; Persepolis; negative profile; Guagamela

Article.  10405 words. 

Subjects: History ; Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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