WI: Antiochos III conquers Egypt

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by dandan_noodles, May 25, 2019.

  1. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2015
    In 192 B.C., Antiochos III embarked on his invasion of mainland Greece, hoping to take advantage of the withdrawal of the Roman garrison army. The ensuing war with Rome, Pergamon, and Rhodes led to a humiliating string of defeats, the loss of most of Asia Minor, and a crippling indemnity.

    At the same time, though, Egypt was in freefall. Middle and Upper Egypt were in open revolt against the Ptolemies, a child sat the throne, and in 201 B.C., Antiochos himself had inflicted a devastating defeat on the Egyptians at Panium, thereafter conquering Syria got good. Antiochos concluded a pact with Philip V of Macedon to partition the Ptolemaic empire.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, but why did Antiochos choose Asia Minor, Thrace, and Greece as his direction of conquest, instead of immediately taking over Egypt, probably the richest kingdom in the Mediterranean world? It doesn't seem to have presented a particular challenge after his crushing victory at Panium, and his son's campaigns in Egypt seemed pretty successful.

    Rome returned to the Greek East in 192 because of Rhodian and Pergamese fears of a world hegemon stirring; would Rome attempt to intervene again if Antiochos took possession of Egypt, and if so, how successful would they be?
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  2. jocay Ambiguously Brown

    Aug 21, 2018
    New York
    Egypt is an important source of grain to Rome; yes even in this era. The Romans would absolutely wage war against Antiochus III and if prior Seleucid military performance is of any indication, the Romans would have little difficulty landing an army in Egypt and imposing a puppet to secure the grain supply.
  3. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2015
    The Romans don't have any bases for an expeditionary force anywhere near Egypt, and even if they did manage to put together an expedition, it'd still be badly outnumbered by the Seleukid army and fleet; Egypt is probably too far for their Rhodian allies to support them at sea, and the concentration of its manpower and shipbuilding resources in Antiochos's hands would make him even more formidable than he already was.