This book examines the causes and courses of the series of wars in the Hellenistic period fought between the kingdom of the Seleukids and the Ptolemies over possession of Syria.
This is a subject always mentioned by historians of the period in a glancing or abbreviated way, but which is actually wholly central to the development of both kingdoms and of the period as a whole. Other than relatively brief summaries no serious account has ever been produced. This extended consideration will bring to the centre of research on the Hellinistic period this long sequence of wars. Arguably they were the basic causes of the failure of both kingdoms in the face of Roman aggression and interference.

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John Grainger, Ph.D. (1987) in Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Birmingham, is the author of articles and books on Hellenistic and other aspects of history, including The League of the Aitolians (Brill, 1999) and Aitolian Prosopographical Studies (Brill, 2000). He is currently working on a book on sea warfare in the Hellenistic period and on a Dictionary of British Naval Battles.
"[...] The Syrian Wars is an important contribution to Hellenistic political and military history that should become the standard treatment of its subject for years to come." Stanley M. Burstein in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 31.03.2011

"Grainger has written an important book that no student of Hellenistic institutions or military history can afford to ignore." Jona Lendering in Ancient Warfare 5.4, 2011.

Prologue: Syria’s Importance Revealed

1. Syria Divided
2. Cold War
3. The New Kings, and the First Syrian War
4. Competitive Developing
5. The Second Syrian War
6. Increasing Strains
7. The Third War, the ‘War of Laodike’
8. The Seleukid Collapse
9. The Fourth War
10. The Reversal, the Ptolemaic Collapse
11. The Fifth War: the Triumph of Antiochos III
12. Changing Priorities
13. The Sixth War: and the ‘Day of Eleusis’
14. Mutual Troubles and a New Agenda
15. The Seventh War, the Triumph of Ptolemy Philometor
16. The Legacy of Philometor
17. The Eighth War, the Last Chance for Union
18. The Ninth, and Last, War

Epilogue: the Ambition of Kleopatra VII

Those interested in history, history of warfare, of the Middle East, and particularly in Hellinistic history, Syria and Palestine
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