Alexander I Balas (Person, Concept)

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Preferred Label
Alexander I Balas (en), Alexandre Ier Balas (fr), Alejandro Balas (es), Alessandro I Bala (it), Alexander I. Balas (de), Αλέξανδρος Α' Βάλας (el)Additional labels
Alternate Label
Alexander Balas (en)


Alexander I Theopator Euergetes ("Divinely-fathered Benefactor"), nicknamed Balas ("Lord"), was the twelfth king of the Seleucid Empire, ruling from 152 to 145 BC. Alexander I was a supposed son of Antiochus IV supported by Attalus II of Pergamum and Ptolemy VI of Egypt as a rival claimant to the Seleucid throne against Demetrius I. In 152 BC, Alexander I arrived at Ptolemais (Ake) and established his base there. He controled Apamea by 152/1 BC and in 150 BC defeated and killed Demetrius I. Shortly thereafter, Alexander I married Cleopatra Thea, the daughter of Ptolemy VI in order to seal an alliance with her father. Things began to fall apart in 148 and 147 BC, when Susa and Media were lost to Parthian and local kings and Demetrius II arrived in Syria to avenge his father, Demetrius I. Unfortunately, Alexander I had alienated his father-in-law by plotting against him, and therefore Ptolemy VI supported Demetrius II. Alexander I was forced to flee to Cilicia, where he raised an army to wage war against Demetrius II and Ptolemy VI. When he returned to Syria in 145 BC he was defeated in battle by Ptolemy VI. Alexander I escaped and attempted to find safety among the Arabs, but was assassinated instead.

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