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 …

Myth and Polis XI: Hellenistic kings and kinship myth

We have now reached the eleventh part of the series on the use of mythological kinship in Greek diplomatic interaction. Since most of the sources come from the epigraphic material of the Hellenistic period, we have already looked several times at how mythological kinship was used by cities in that period in their interactions with …

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 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …