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The Seleucid Empire (/sɪˈlʲsɪd/) was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty, 312 BC to 63 BC; it was founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the empire created by Alexander the Great. Seleucus received Babylonia and, from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near eastern territories. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan,Turkmenistan and northwest parts of India.

The Seleucid Empire was a major center of Hellenistic culture that maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated, mostly in the urban areas. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece. Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece was abruptly halted after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Their attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands. Much of the eastern part of the empire was conquered by the Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia in the mid-2nd century BC, yet the Seleucid kings continued to rule a rump state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey.


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