Siege of Bactra

The Siege of Bactra was a siege of the Hellenistic period that lasted from 208 to 206 BC. It was a siege of the city of Bactra by the Seleucid Empire after they defeated the Greco-Bactrians at the Battle of the Arius.

Siege of Bactra

Map showing Balkh (here indicated as Bactres), the capital of Bactria
Date208–206 BC
Bactra (Modern day Balkh, Afghanistan)

Greco-Bactrian victory

  • Antiochus signs a peace treaty with Euthydemus
  • Antiochus III recognizes Euthydemus's reign
Seleucid Empire Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Antiochus III the Great Euthydemus I

The Seleucids besieged the capital of Bactria until concerning news from the west of his dominions and lack of progress against the city led the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III to negotiate a peace treaty with the Bactrian king Euthydemus and lift the siege. It was agreed that Antiochus would recognize Euthydemus as an ally, and he gave one of his daughters as a wife to Demetrius, Euthydemus' heir.

Siege and Peace

The Greco-Bactrians had recently been defeated at the Battle of the Arius by Antiochus III. After this defeat, Euthydemus retreated to Zariaspa,[1] a district of Bactra. The Greco-Bactrians were able to hold out long enough against Antiochus until his fortunes in the west deteriorated.

After two years' laying siege to Bactra, Antiochus' fortunes to the west of his empire had deteriorated to the point where he decided to withdraw from the siege. Euthydemus then sent his son, Demetrius, as his representative to negotiate a peace treaty. Impressed at Demetrius' behaviour and bearing which was seen as worthy of that of a member of the royalty, Antiochus offered him one of his daughters and agreed to a peace treaty.[2]

As a part of the peace treaty, Euthydemus gave Antiochus elephants[3] which Antiochus, along with his own, may have used at Magnesia.


  1. Polybius. Histories. After this battle Euthydemus retreated in dismay with his army to the city of Zariaspa.
  2. Polybius. Histories. Antiochus received the young prince; and judging from his appearance, conversation, and the dignity of his manners that he was worthy of royal power, he first promised to give him one of his own daughters, and secondly conceded the royal title to his father.
  3. Polybius. Histories. adding to his own the elephants belonging to Euthydemus.

See also