Antigonus (Seleucid admiral)

Antigonus, son of Menophilus was a Seleucid official (nauarchos).[1] He served under king Alexander (I or II), in the mid-2nd century BC. He is known from an inscription found in the city of Miletus.

The inscription

The inscription of Antigonus was found in 1963 on a marble block which was part of the Gotenmauer wall in Miletus.[note 1][4] In the view of Peter Herrmann, the re-used block came from the necropolis of the city.[5] The first two lines read:[6]

Ἀντίγονος Μηνοφίλου ὁ γενόμενος ναύαρχος Ἀλε-
ξάνδρου τοῦ Συρίας βασιλέως·


The first lines translate as "Antigonus, son of Menophilus, Admiral of Alexander, king of Syria" (either Alexander I Balas or Alexander II Zabinas).[7]

The inscription is important for understanding the Seleucid dynasty's self-representation.[7] Ancient hostile historians designated the Seleucid kings as kings of Syria or "kings who reigned in Syria".[7] Those designations were understood by traditional scholarship as mockery that emphasized the loss of Seleucid lands outside Syria; the inscription of Antigonus, a Seleucid official of the highest rank, proved that the geographical association of the Seleucids with the kingdom of Syria came from the dynasty's own self-representation.[7]


  1. The inscription's entry in the "Milet: Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen und Untersuchungen seit dem Jahr 1899" is number 422.[2]
    The Gotenmauer was a wall built in c. 262 to defend Miletus against the invasion of Goths.[3]




  • Brückner, Helmut; Herda, Alexander; Müllenhoff, Marc; Rabbel, Wolfgang; Stümpel, Harald (2014). Frederiksen, Rune; Handberg, Søren (eds.). "On the Lion Harbour and other Harbours in Miletos: Recent Historical, Archaeological, Sedimentological, and Geophysical Research". Proceedings of the Danish Institute at Athens. Arhus University Press. 7. ISBN 978-8-771-24104-4. ISSN 1108-149X.
  • Grainger, John D. (1997). A Seleukid Prosopography and Gazetteer. Mnemosyne, Bibliotheca Classica Batava. Supplementum. 172. Brill. ISBN 978-9-004-10799-1. ISSN 0169-8958.
  • Kosmin, Paul J. (2014). The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-72882-0.
  • Herrmann, Peter (1987). "Milesier am Seleukidenhof. Prosopographische Beiträge zur Geschichte Milets im 2. Jhdt. v. Chr". Chiron: Mitteilungen der Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (in German). Verlag C.H.Beck. 17. ISSN 0069-3715.
  • Chaniotis, Angelos (1987). "Ein Neuer Genealogischer Text aus Milet". Epigraphica Anatolica (in German). Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH. 10. ISSN 0174-6545.
  • Herrmann, Peter (1998). "n. 422". Inschriften von Milet (in German). Walter de Gruyter (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut). Teil 2 Inschriften n. 407-1019 (Milet: Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen und Untersuchungen seit dem Jahr 1899 V1/2). ISBN 978-3-11-015092-6. ISSN 2304-4934.
  • Pleket, Henri Willy; Stroud, Ronald S., eds. (1990). "SEG 37-992. Miletos. Epitaph of the Nauarchos Antigonos and his Family, ca. 100 B.C. or Somewhat Later". Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum. Sijthoff & Noordhoff. XXXVII (1987). ISBN 978-9-004-16849-7. ISSN 0920-8399.