War Elephants of the Hellenistic East: the Last Decades

Abakumov Arkady A.

Elephantry was an important (albeit quite specific) part of the Hellenistic military forces since the end of the 4th сentury BC, having valuable tactical as well as symbolic significance (the elephant as symbol of the kingdom’s might). The Seleucids were obliged to abolish their elephant corps in 188 BC after the war against the Romans, but they still continued to use it for nearly a half of a century. The author supposes that the Romans did not consider this demand to be as crucial as the Seleucid territorial concessions in Asia Minor so they did not insist on its strict implementation. Thus the Seleucids could keep their elephant corps at least partially (the ways to do it could be variable). Finally it was eliminated due to internal dynastic conflicts, not to the Roman initiative. After that the Ptolemys lost the need to maintain their own elephant corps as a counterbalance.

Keywords: Seleucid army, Ptolemaic army, war elephants, the Treaty of Apamea, The Battle of Beth Zechariah

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