Hellenistic Cities II: Megalopolis: a short history

In part two of the Hellenistic Cities series, we are looking at the youngest polis of the Greek Mainland: the Arcadian city of Megalopolis. The archaeological site of Megalopolis lies in the heart of the Arcadian region in Greece and is about a 45 minute drive from modern day Sparta. Not many of the buildings …

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 …

Myth and Politics V: behind the scenes?

In the previous parts of this series, we have already seen kinship policy in action. From these examples, a few things become very clear. We do know that these kinship ties were used as an effective effective means of achieving certain goals, but do we know which ties where used and, more importantly, who these …

Myth and Polis IV: Just a Hellenistic thing?

This is already the fourth part of our series on myth and polis. Previously I have outlined how the Greeks had a whole arsenal of traditions that were used in Greek diplomacy. Referring to a common, mythological kinship between two parties was only one of the ways the Greeks tried to persuade others to join …

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 …

Myth and Polis III: Kinship diplomacy in action!

Enough with the theory. The first two parts of this series have already provided a first framework in which the central theme of this series – i.e. the use of mythology for political purposes – can be applied. So it is high time to see kinship diplomacy in action. For the first example turning our …

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 …