Myth and Polis VII: Mythology and the depiction of Alexander the Great

When I visit one of the great archaeological museums of Europe, I always look for two things: how many busts of Alexander the Great are there, and which Greek coins are on display? So when I was at the Altes Museum in Berlin last week, I noticed that whenever Alexander the Great is represented in …

Hellenistic Cities I: the Settling of Alexandria

In this new series, we will be exploring the cities of the Hellenistic world. Each time we will explore a new city and discover a different aspect such as its history, social groups, political institutions or cultural festivals. This week we start with what is perhaps the most famous of the cities of the Hellenistic …

Myth and Polis VI: Alexander the Great

Whichever way you look at it, when you talk about the Hellenistic world, most people immediately think of Alexander the Great. And how could they not? His deeds have captured the imagination for millennia. Whether it is his extremely fast march to India or the ease with which he inspired loyalty in his soldiers and loved …

Hellenistic Women I: Apama, the first Queen of the Seleucid Empire

During a critical moment in the conquests of Alexander the Great, he issued a surprising order: Alexander announced to his men that there would be a grand wedding between the highest-ranking officers of the Macedonian army and the captured Persian noble women at the capital city of Susa, in 324 BCE. His successors and their …

An introduction to the Seleucids II: The (Re)birth of an Empire

This is the second part of the introduction into the seleucid empire, click here to read the first part. This time Guest blogger Nicolaas verhelst introduces us to the founder of the Seleucid dynasty, Seleucos I Nicator. Read on to learn more about the man, the myth and the legend as well the earliest and …

An Introduction to the Seleukid Empire I: An Ode to the Elephant Kings

The Seleukids. What does one generally know about them? Not nearly enough. In this two part series Guest author Nicolaas Verhelst introduces us to the history of the Seleucid dynasty. In this first part he starts with an ode to the Seleucid kings and their vast and complex empire. He explains some of the reasons …

Numismatics and the legend of horned Bukephalos

In her last post, Michelle simon introduced us to Alexander’s horse bukephalos. One of the most famous horses of the ancient world. Despite his famed beauty and nobility, he had a rather common name, since boukephalous in greek means ‘ox-headed’. According to tradition, there were several explanations for his name, the most interesting of which …

What’s in a name: Bucephalus, Alexander’s Horse

When you mention the Hellenistic period, people immediately think of Alexander the Great. This is no surprise as his military conquests and travels shaped the Hellenistic era in a way which no other individual has done. Yet far fewer people know the name of one of his most trusty companions, his horse Bukephalus. In a …

The many faces of Alexander the Great

Thinking about antiquity, there can be no one more iconic and famous than Alexander the Great. Even though he died at a very young age, he managed to create one of the biggest empires seen to this day. His conquests of the east were defining for the Hellenistic period as it allowed Greek culture to …