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 …

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 …

Myth and Polis II: Did the Greeks believe their own myths?

‘Did the Greeks believe their own myths?’ This question, which was central to Paul Veyne’s 1988 book of the same name, is also important in this series on the deeper connection between myth and politics among the Greeks. After all, as I pointed out in the previous entry, to us it might seem strange that …

Hellenistic sculpture

The art of the Hellenistic period differed greatly from that of the period before. In this post we will be exploring some of the typical characteristics of Hellenistic sculpture via some of its most famous statues. Alexander’s conquests and the creation of the Hellenistic kingdoms created a cosmopolitan environment which influenced the art as well. …

Myth and the polis: Greek diplomacy and the mythical past

Elke Close Mythological stories and figures influenced the daily life of the ancient Greeks in different ways. They were at the heart of Greek religion, taught valuable life lessons to young and old and provided an explanation for unusual natural phenomena. Greek mythology was thus very much a part of the Greek identity. It is …

Polybius of Megalopolis

One of the most prolific historians of the Hellenistic Age was without a doubt Polybius of Megalopolis. His Histories not only provide us with a plethora of information on ‘Rome’s rise to power’, but the wider political reality of the Hellenistic World of the third and second centuries BC. Our series on the ‘great’ Hellenistic figures …