BOOK REVIEW: The Rise of the Seleukid Empire by John Grainger
THE day Alexander the Great died, his empire began to fall apart. With no clear succession plan and only an infant son’s tenuous claim to Alexander’s legacy, his generals were no longer united by common devotion to their leader. And so, their personal motivations became the political manoeuvring that split the empire into ever-shifting pieces.
John Grainger’s The Rise of the Seleukid Empire deals primarily with the political and military exploits of one of those generals, Seleukos (aka Seleucos I), and the first century of his resulting empire. Seleukos was not one of Alexander’s star generals: the Macedonian came to command later during the campaign and was neither terrible nor a superstar. Upon their leader’s death, the generals wasted no time forming alliances and plans to continue the Empire, under the guise of holding it for Alexander’s heir.