Seleucus I Nicator

By DominicusUltimus

I've always found Seleucus to be the most interesting, and dare I say charismatic of the Successors of Alexander the Great. It was said that on the night of his conception his mother Laodice was impregnated by the god Apollo and that she dreamt of the anchor of a great ship, the anchor being one of the chief symbols of Apollo. When she awoke from this vision she discovered a ring with the symbol of an anchor in the center. Almost a year later she gave birth to Seleucus and to her astonishment the child bore a birthmark in the shape of an anchor on his left arm. Only on the day when Seleucus was preparing to march alongside Alexander into Asia did his mother give him the ring and reveal to him the truth of his birth and parentage.

Did Seleucus believe he was the son of Apollo? I do not think so, but he was a cunning and far-sighted man in my mind and the benefits that such a tale could bring to him in the future were most likely not lost too him. Unfortunately, much of what Seleucus did after he reached Asia is a mystery until the time Alexander promoted him to commander of the Agema of Shieldbearers in India many years after the beginning of the Asian expedition. After this promotion and his subsequent marriage to Apame, a beautiful Persian noblewoman chosen for him by Alexander himself, he began to truly believe in Alexander's dream of ethnic fusion which would combine Greek and Persian cultures and allow both peoples to peacefully coexist.

His eager embrace of the idea of 'ethnic fusion' shows that Seleucus was far more open to new ideas and cultures than any of his fellow companions. It may also have proved that he had realized the only way to rule such a vast empire in Asia would be to see and treat the Asian peoples as equals, and not to try and quell their natural culture or force Greek culture upon them. In the manner of treating all people with respect and honour regardless of their ethnicity he was second only to Alexander himself.

Overall Seleucus was the "true heir" of Alexander in that he possessed many of Alexander's incredible traits, but few of his flaws and vices. He was courageous, but not to the point of arrogant or foolhardy courage as Alexander showed many times. He may have enjoyed drinking to establish friendship and camaraderie amongst his confidants, but he never became a heavy drinker or an alcoholic. Unlike Alexander he possessed a cool and calculating attitude, while maintaining an ingenious military mind. He must have exerted a truly wise and just rule, and possessed an awesome personality for how else could he have maintained such a massive empire that only began to break after his untimely death?

I cannot give a true description of Seleucus the man, because I know only of Seleucus the Conqueror, but if I may be so bold I shall say in a few words of how I feel about him.
"A man who was beyond his time, he showed that not all men can be corrupted by power no matter how great or seemingly almighty that power may be. As virtuous as the Northern Star, and as glorious as the blinding sun I can only hope and pray that the world will one day know a man who so personified all that made humanity so great and noble in that distant time."