The Greek Rajas of Ancient India

Very few people know that approximately 40 years after the death of the famous Cleopatra, a date generally considered to be the end of the Hellenistic period, a Greek king named Strato III still reigned over a small territory in eastern Punjab. He was the last of dozens of rajahs in ancient India descended from …

The Dark Side of Alexander The Great  

When Alexander died in 323 in Babylon, his myth immediately spread throughout the known world. For centuries, the Macedonian king has fascinated rulers, leaders and-the everyday man. The rapidity of his conquests and his young age made him legendary. Many were inspired by him, and even today his personality continues to enchant. Ancient sources tell …

Economy and Politics I: The Economics of a Decentralized Society

The summer is almost at an end, and that means it is time for a new series! This time guest writer Alexandros Pardalis looks at the ways in which economy and politics interacted in Ancient Greece and how novel methods of economic organization helped the Ancient Greeks flourish. The importance of the Greek city states …

Hellenistic Cities III: Messene

The last post in this series is from quite a while ago. About high time we change this and delve into the short history of yet another Greek city during the Hellenistic period. This time we turn our eye to Messene. This city lies in the southern part of the Peloponnese in close proximity to …

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 …

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 …

Greek Kings and Indian Emperors: Diplomacy between the Hellenistic Kingdoms and Mauryan India

To writers like Herodotus and Ctesias, India was on the periphery of the Greek understanding of the inhabited world, drifting the between outright fantasy and the faintest tidbits of reality. Though the invasion of Alexander the Great and the Macedonian army into the Punjab in 327 BC was something of a bloody introduction, it marked …