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Alexander Balas

Many different embassies having come to Rome,
B.C. 152. Visit of the young Attalus, son of the late king Eumenes.
the Senate admitted Attalus,1 son of king Eumenes I. For he had arrived at Rome at this time, still quite a young boy, to be introduced to the Senate, and to renew in his person the ancestral friendship and connexion with the Romans.
Demetrius, son of Ariarathes VI.
After a kindly reception by the Senate and his father's friends, and after receiving the answer which he desired, and such honours as suited his time of life, he returned to his native land, meeting with a warm and liberal reception in all the Greek cities through which he passed on his return journey. Demetrius also came at this time, and, after receiving a fairly good reception for a boy, returned home.

Then Heracleides entered the Senate, bringing Laodice and

Laodice and Alexander Balas. See ch. 15.
Alexander with him. The youthful Alexander first addressed the Senate, and begged the Romans "to remember their friendship and alliance with his father Antiochus, and if possible to assist him to recover his kingdom; or if they could not do that, at least to give him leave to return home, and not to hinder those who wished to assist him in recovering his ancestral crown." Heracleides then took up the word, and, after delivering a lengthy encomium on Antiochus, came to the same point, namely, that they ought in justice to grant the young prince and Laodice leave to return and claim their own, as they were the true-born children of Antiochus. Soberminded people were not all attracted by any of these arguments.
The Senate's decree in favour of Alexander and Laodice.
They understood the meaning of this theatrical exhibition, and made no secret of their distaste for Heracleides. But the majority had fallen under the spell of Heracleides's cunning, and were induced to pass the following decree: "Alexander and Laodice, children of a king, our friend and ally, appeared before the Senate and stated their case; and the Senate gave them authority to return to the kingdom of their forefathers; and help, in accordance with their request, is hereby decreed to them." Seizing on this pretext, Heracleides immediately began hiring mercenaries, and calling on some men of high position to assist him. He accordingly went to Ephesus and devoted himself to the preparations for his attempt.2 . . .

1 Surnamed Philometor. He succeeded his uncle Attalus Philadelphus in B.C. 138, and at his death in B.C. 133 left his dominions to Rome.

2 Alexander Balas was an impostor of low origin set up by Heracleides as a son of Antiochus Epiphanes. He entered Syria in B.C. 152, defeated and killed Demetrius in B.C. 150, and was himself defeated in B.C. 146 by Ptolemy Philometor (who also fell) in favour of a son of Demetrius, and was shortly afterwards murdered. Livy, Ep. 52, Appian, Syr. 67; Joseph. Antiq. 13, 2, 4.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 13.2.4
    • Appian, Syrian Wars, 11.67
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