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 III: Hybrid Worship in Alexandria

This is third part of our series on Hellenistic cities where we explore some very famous poleis such as Alexandria or Pergamon as well as some that are a little more obscure like Megalopolis. Each post tells us more about the general history, population or specific aspects of these Greek cities. In today’s post Shiro …

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 …

Myth and Polis VII: Mythology and the depiction of Alexander the Great

When I visit one of the great archaeological museums of Europe, I always look for two things: how many busts of Alexander the Great are there, and which Greek coins are on display? So when I was at the Altes Museum in Berlin last week, I noticed that whenever Alexander the Great is represented in …

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 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 …

Hellenistic Women III: Berenice I of Egypt

To conclude our weeklong celebration of the women from Greek Antiquity, we are looking at another important queen from the Hellenistic period: Berenice I of Egypt. She was the fourth wife of the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty but also the most important one as she was the mother of his successor Ptolemy II Philadelphus …

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 …

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 …