Myth and the Polis IX: Foundation Myths

Look at the buildings of an ancient Greek city and you cannot help but notice the references to Greek mythology are everywhere. As well as specific buildings for the veneration of local heroes, such as the Erechtheion on the Acropolis, there were temples to the gods, such as the temple of Apollo in Corinth. And …

Myth and polis VIII: Alexander’s use of myth during his campaigns

We have already reached the eighth part of this series. In the last two contributions, I have paid extensive attention to the figure of Alexander the Great and we have looked at which mythological ancestors the Macedonian king had and how this descent can still be seen in material sources. In this last part on …

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 …