Peace of Apamea, 188 B.C.

The Peace of Apamea ended the war between Rome and Antiochus III, and ended any chance that the Seleucid Empire might ever reclaim its lands in Asia Minor.  The fighting in Asia Minor had ended after the Roman victory at Magnesia, late in 190, at which Antiochus’s army had been destroyed. Initial peace terms were agreed early in 189, and were then confirmed at Rome. Finally ten commissioners were sent to Asia Minor to work out the details of the treaty, which was formally signed at Apamea in 188 B.C. 

Antiochus agreed to pay a war indemnity of 15,000 Euboic talents. Of this 500 was paid when the negotiations began in 189, 2,500 was to be paid once the Senate ratified the peace, and the remaining 12,000 in twelve annual instalment of 1,000 talents. 

The Senate added a number of terms to the treaty to further eliminate any threat from Antiochus. His fleet, which was not to sail any further west that Cape Sarpedonium in Cilicia, was reduced to only ten cataphracts. He was forbidden to fight a war anywhere in Europe of the Aegean, although he could defend himself against attack. The exact borders of Asia Minor were also clarified at this point.

The Senate also set up the system used to distribute the areas abandoned by Antiochus. These areas were considered to be Roman property, which was being given away. Ten commissioners were sent to Asia Minor to decide who would benefit from this.

The basic framework adopted was to split all of the inland areas between Pergamum and Rhodes, with Eumenes of Pergamum getting most of it, and Rhodes getting southern Caria and Lycia. The Greek towns on the coastline were also split. Those which had once been subjected to Attalus of Pergamum were awarded to his heir, as where any which had resisted the Romans. The remaining cities were given their freedom, and allowed to live under their own laws.

A notable feature of the treaty was that the Romans had no interest in gaining possessions of their own in Greece or Asia Minor. What they wanted was a network of friends and allies to protect them against any threat from further east. The inevitable flaw in this policy was that any threat to their allies would force them to return to the area. Their position as the protector of the freedoms of Greece would also soon unravel, for the one freedom denied to the Greeks was the freedom to wage war on each other.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 November 2008), Peace of Apamea, 188 B.C. , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/peace_apamea.html

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