03.04.12 301 B.C. Greek Seleucid Control of the Holy Land is Secured
However, the land of the Jews became the disputed territory between the Seleucid and Ptolemy dynasties. It was the curse of living on the land bridge that connected Africa with Asia and Europe – and being sandwiched between the northern Arabian Desert and Mediterranean Sea – that they were constantly faced with invading armies on the march. They lived in constant tension, never knowing when an invading army would steal their food and other supplies. Finally, in 301 B.C. one of the greatest battles of antiquity took place at the Ipsus in Phrygia, west-central Anatolia. There an estimated one hundred thirty thousand troops from both the Seleucid and Ptolemaic armies fought each other. Antigonus I was killed in battle and his son Demetrius became the Seleucid king. However, in the century to come there were five major wars between the Egyptian Ptolemies and Syrian Seleucids (274-272, 260-252, 246-241, 221-217, and 201-198). Whenever the Egyptians marched north or the Syrians marched south to Egypt, they crossed the Holy Land stealing food and whatever other supplies were needed. If there was ever a land that needed peace and rest, it was the region of Naphtali and Zebulon – two Hebrew tribal areas on which the international highway lay – the Via Maris.
. For a study of historical maps of this region, see Nebenzahl, Kenneth. Maps of the Holy Land. New York: Abbeville Press. 1986.
. Cate, A History of the New Testament and its Times. 66.