Alexandri magni imperium et expeditio per Europam, per Africam et potissimum per Asiam (L)
About this Item
Alexandri magni imperium et expeditio per Europam, per Africam et potissimum per Asiam
Contributor Names Moulart-Sanson, Pierre, -1730
Created / Published
[Paris] : Lutetiae Parisiorum, 
- Middle East--Maps--Early works to 1800
- Balkan Peninsula--Maps--Early works to 1800
- Middle East
- Balkan Peninsula
- Relief shown pictorially.
- Includes list of numbered notes and inset showing continets of Africa, Europe, and Asia.
- LC copies annotated in inks to show boundaries and mounted on linen.
- Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.
1 map ; 41 x 59 cm
Call Number/Physical Location
G7420 1712 .M6
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA dcu
Library of Congress Control Number
Description Relief shown pictorially. Includes list of numbered notes and inset showing continets of Africa, Europe, and Asia. LC copies annotated in inks to show boundaries and mounted on linen. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.
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Dublin Core Record
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📹 Alexander the Great’s Letter to Darius, King of Persia // Ancient Greek Primary Source (VİDEO)
📹 Alexander the Great’s Letter to Darius, King of Persia // Ancient Greek Primary Source (LINK)
This the speech attributed to Alexander by the historian Arrian (92-175 AD), said to have been sent to the defeated Darius, King of Persia after the battle of Guagamela in 331 BC.
Though he wrote his account 'The Anabasis', several hundred years after Alexander's time, his account of the Macedonian ruler turned' King of the World' is thought to be one of the more accurate.
PERSİA — MAKEDONYA — ROMA
Helenistik dönem (İÖ 323-30) İskender’in ölümü (İÖ 323) ile başladığı ve Actium savaşı (İÖ 30) ile sonlandığı kabul edilen bir tanımlamadır.
Helenistik dönemin başlıca karakteristiği Helenik kültürün İskender’in fetihleri (İÖ 334-323) sonucunda ortadan kaldırılan Pers imparatorluğunun engin topraklarına yayılması ve egemenliğin bütünüyle Helenistik bir nitelik taşımasıdır. İÖ 30 yılında yer alan Actium savaşından sonra aynı alanda egemen güç bundan böyle Roma’dır.
Fethettiği büyük uygarlıkların kültüründen etkilenen İskender’in kendisi Helen ve Pers kültürlerinin bir bireşimini sağlamayı istedi. Bu etkileşim bir süredir yer alıyordu ve Yunanlılar Mezpotamya ve Mısır’ı olduğu gibi Persia’yı da yakından tanıyordu.
Helenistik dönemin Pers İmparatorluğunun yıkılması ile başladığının kabul edlimesine karşın, dönem politik olmaktan çok kültürel karakteri ile öne çıkar. Pers İmparatorluğunu ortadan kaldıran ve bütün bir Batı ve Orta Asya’ya egemen olmaya başlayan yeni güç askeri değil, entellektüeldir. Makedon ordusunun gücü hiçbir zaman 50.000 askerden daha yüksek değildi. İstençsiz bir Pers dünyası karşısında, İskender’in gücü biricik gerçek güç olan istençten oluşuyordu.
Helenik tinin Batı- ve Orta-Asya’ya doğru yayılması ilkin despotizmin özgürlük tini ile karşılaşması olarak görünür. Sonuç değişime ve yeniliğe izin vermeyen despotik “kültürlerin” çözülmeye başlaması, Asya’nın yalnızca kendini yineleyen despotik topraklarında Usun ve Özgürlüğün ışığının doğmaya başlamasıdır. Helenistik dönem ile yeni Helenik tin yalıtılmış kent-devleti ölçeğinden çıkarak ilk kez evrensel tarihe katılmaya, edimsel olarak Dünya Tarihini belirlemeye, etik-öncesi ve etik-dışı kültürleri özgürlük ile tanıştırmaya başlar.
DÜNYA TARİHİNDE HELENİK TİN
Helenik kültürün insan tinini ulaştırdığı estetik, etik ve entellektüel yükseklik karşısında, Asya’da tarih olmayan tarihler, yalnızca biteviye kendilerini yineleyen kültürler durur. Despotik tin ortadan kalkmaya direnen sağlam yapılar kurar ve tüm tarihi bunları pekiştirmekten oluşur (Çin ve Hindistan). Tarihsel sağlamlık, paradoksal olarak, tarihsel önemsizliğe götürür. Batı Asya’da da Mezopotamya ve Mısır kültürlerinin özeti olan Persler aynı despotik, tutucu ve gelişime kapalı kültürleri ile tarihsel rollerini tamamladılar ve özgür Helenik tin tarafından ortadan kaldırıldılar.
Helenistik Dönem tekil Yunan kent-devletlerinin sonunu ve bundan böyle tarihsel gelişimin özeğinin Batı ve Orta Asya olduğunu anlatır. Henüz tarih-öncesini yaşayan Avrupa uygarlığa direnen bir Germanik barbarlar alanıdır. Kuzey Afrika, Güney Avrupa ve Batı Asya’yı kucaklayan bütün bir Akdeniz havzası Helenik tinin yeni bir yapılanması olan Roma’nın kültür alanıdır. Roma önce Cumhuriyet ve arkasından İmparatorluk olarak sürerken, onun yanında tarih sahnesine ilkin Arap İmparatorlukları ve daha sonra Selçuklu ve Osmanlı İmparatorlukları çıkacaktır. Germanik tin tarih sahnesine Roma İmparatorluğunun Batı bölgesini bir yıkıntıya çevirerek girecek, ama Reformasyondan sonra başka herkes arkaik değerlerin nasıl korunacağı problemini çözmekle uğraşırken modern dönemi başlatacak ve dünyanın yeni egemeni olacaktır.
İskender ve Aristoteles
İskender’in doğumu üzerine babası II. Filip Aristoteles’e bir mektupta şunları yazdı: “Bil ki bana bir oğul doğdu. Ama tanrılara bana onu verdikleri için olmaktan çok onu senin zamanında verdikleri için minnettarım. Çünkü senin yetiştirme tarzının ve bilgeliğinin onu gelecekteki krallığına değer bir insan yapacağını umuyorum.” Aristoteles öğrencisinden dünya-tarihsel bir karakter yarattı.
İskender’in eylemleri ve erdemleri, düşünceleri ve dostlukları Aristoteles’ten aldığı eğitimin değerinin ve başarısının tanıklarıdır. Aynı zamanda kuramsal felsefenin kılgısal yararsızlığı konusundaki tüm aptalca konuşmalara son yanıtı oluştururlar. Tarihte başka hiçbir insan İskender kadar etkili olmadı. Hiçbir insan dünya kültürünün gelişiminde onun kadar belirleyici olmadı. İskender’in ölümünden sonra Helenistik dönemde ardılları tarafından kurulan imparatorluklar askeri ya da politik olmaktan çok kültürel imparatorluklar idi.
Alexander the Great and Olympiada (Giovanni Battista Weder, 1780s). (W)
Alexander III of Macedon (Αλέξανδρος Γ΄ ὁ Μακεδών; 20/21 July 356 BC - 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας,translit.Aléxandros ho Mégas), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and he created one of the largest empires of the ancient world by the age of thirty, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.
During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. After Philip’s assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.
He endeavored to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs.
Alexander the Great (*356; r. 336-323): the Macedonian king who defeated his Persian colleague Darius III Codomannus and conquered the Achaemenid Empire. During his campaigns, Alexander visited a.o. Egypt, Babylonia, Persis, Media, Bactria, the Punjab, and the valley of the Indus. In the second half of his reign, he had to find a way to rule his newly conquered countries. Therefore, he made Babylon his capital and introduced the oriental court ceremonial, which caused great tensions with his Macedonian and Greek officers.
Regent for and murderer of Alexander IV. Exercised no actual power in Persia.
Augustus on Alexander
Augustus on Alexander
After his victory at Actium in 31 BC Augustus pursued his defeated rivals, Antony and
Kleopatra, to Alexandria in Egypt. After capturing the city, he soon had the opportunity to view its sights. One of the few places he is known to have visited during his
residence there is the tomb of Alexander the Great. Rome’s future emperor is said to
have reverently placed a golden crown on the embalmed body laid out in front of him
and then scattered flowers on it.
When asked if he would also like to see the tombs of
Ptolemies, the Greco-Macedonian dynasty that had ruled over Egypt since the death
of Alexander, he abruptly dismissed the suggestion, saying that “he wanted to see a
king, not some corpses.” So, at least, reports Suetonius in the early second century AD
(Suet. Aug. 18, cf. Dio 51.16, Erskine 2002a)
The Roman emperors wanted to look back to the almost mythical figure of Alexander; they saw themselves
as heirs not to the kingdoms that developed out of Alexander's empire but as the heirs
of Alexander himself.
A companion to the Hellenistic world / edited by Andrew Erskine.
🎨 Alexander in Art
🎨 Charles Le Brun — Entry of Alexander into Babylon
Charles Le Brun — Entry of Alexander into Babylon (W)
"Entry of Alexander into Babylon", a 1665 painting by Charles LeBrun, depicts Alexander the Great's uncontested entry into the city of Babylon, envisioned with pre-existing Hellenistic architecture.
(W) Charles Le Brun (24 February 1619 - 12 February 1690) was a French painter, art theorist, interior decorator and a director of several art schools of his time. As court painter to Louis XIV, who declared him "the greatest French artist of all time", he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art and much influenced by Nicolas Poussin.
🎨🎨🎨 Alexander in Art
Die Hochzeit Alexanders des Großen mit der Prinzessin Roxane. Um 1517 von Sodoma gestaltetes und von Francesco Primaticcio gemaltes Fresko in der Villa Farnesina, Rom.
In the spring of 327, toward the end of his stay at Maracanda, Alexander married Roxane (Roshanak, “Beautiful Star”), the sixteen-year-old daughter of
Oxyartes of Bactria. Where he frst met her is not known, but it was either
afer he captured the Sogdian rock or the Rock of Chorienes (see above). He
married her in Macedonian fashion, slicing a loaf of bread with his sword and
sharing it with Oxyartes, but his men were unimpressed because they had
wanted their king to take a Macedonian wife. Although Curtius claims that
the “intermarriage of Persians and Macedonians would serve to consolidate
his empire,” Alexander, as in everything he did, had a pragmatic reason for
marrying Roxane: he needed Oxyartes’ help to ensure the passivity of Bactria
and Sogdiana. Alexander was now intent on invading India, and so could not
aﬀord a revolt of Bactria to his rear. He believed Oxyartes, a Bactrian baron,
would prevent any problems. Te marriage was thus a political one, reminiscent of those of his father Philip. (L)
Russian collections have few large works by Rotari, who came to Russian in 1756 but worked mainly as a (highly successful) portrait artist. He was equally admired by three successive monarchs, Elizaveta Petrovna, Peter III and Catherine II. This canvas was executed for Ekaterina Alexeevna (the future Catherine II while she was still but the wife of the heir to the throne) for her palace at Oranienbaum. This episode from the history of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) comes from Plutarch (Lives, Alexander, XLVII). During a siege of a fortress in Bactria, the eastern part of the Persian state of Darius III, Roxane - daughter of a Bactrian satrap or nobleman - was captured. In an effort to gain the support of the Persian aristocracy, Alexander married her. Rotari here shows Alexander's meeting with Roxane, who is surrounded by weeping slaves and stands modestly before the amazed military commander. Soft pale blue, pink and yellowish-brown tones form an elegant colour range, giving the Classical composition something of the elegance and lightness of the Rococo style.
8. Opis’e ulaşınca, Makedonyalı askerlerini topladı ve yaşları ya da sakatlıkları nedeniyle daha öte hizmet için uygun olmayan tüm adamların ordudan çıkarıldığını bildirdi. Onları ülkelerine gönderdi. Yola çıkarken her birine dostlarını ve akrabalarını kıskandıracak ve geri kalan Makedonyalıları gelecekte onların emeklerini ve tehlikelerini paylaşmak için heyecanlandıracak şeyler için söz verdi. İskendonatımıylader kendi payına bu sözlerle hiç kuşkusuz adamlarını hoşnut etmeyi amaçlıyordu. Makedonyalılar ise daha şimdiden hizmetlerini küçümsediğini ve onları bir savaş için bütünüyle yararsız gördüğünü duyumsadılar. Böylece, bütünüyle doğal olarak, sözlerini yalnızca bütün sefer boyunca duygularını incitmek için yaptıklarının — örneğin Pers giysilerini benimsemesi, Doğulu “Ardıllar”ın Makedonya kuşandırılması, ve Yoldaşlar süvarisine yabancı askerlerin katılması gibi — bir başka örneği olarak gördüler ve içerlediler. Sonuçta konuşmayı saygılı bir sessizlik içinde dinlemek yerine, kendilerini tutamayarak, ordudaki herkesin çıkarılmasını istediler ve acı bir şaka olarak sonraki seferinde yanına babasını alabileceğini eklediler — ki, görünürde tanrı Ammon’u demek istiyorlardı.
İskender bunları işitince çok kızdı. O sıralar saygısızlığa fazla alınır olmuştu, ve alıştığı Doğulu boyun eğme tutumu Makedonyalılara karşı eski açık yürekli tutumunu büyük ölçüde değiştirmişti. Çevresindeki subaylar ile platformdan sıçradı, parmağı ile kalabalığı karıştırmış olanların en önünde olanları göstererek muhafızlardan onları tutuklamalarını istedi. Bunlar on üç kişiydi, ve tümünün idam edilmeleri buyruğunu verdi.1 Ürkütücü bir sessizlik oldu. İskender bir kez daha kürsüye çıkarak askerlerine seslendi.
9. “Makedonyalılar, şimdi duyduğunuz yurt özleminizi durdurma gibi bir amaçla konuşmayacağım. Nereye isterseniz gidin, sizi engellemeyeceğim. Ama bilin ki, eğer böyle gidecek olursanız, bir şeyi anlamanızı istiyorum — bize nasıl davrandığınızı, ve bizim size nasıl davrandığımızı. Öyleyse size ilkin babam Filip’ten söz edeceğim, çünkü bunu yapmam gerekiyor. Filip sizleri başı boş dolaşan yoksul bir kabile olarak buldu. Çoğunuz postlar giyiyor, dağ yamaçlarında birkaç koyun otlatıyor ve onları komşularınız Trakyalılar, İllyrialılar ve Triballialılardan uzak tutmak için başarısız döğüşler veriyordunuz. Postlar yerine giymeniz için size giysiler verdi; sizi dağlardan ovalara indirdi; size sınırlarınızda düşmanlarınızla eşit koşullarda döğüşmeyi öğretti, ta ki güvenliğinizin bir zamanlar olduğu gibi köylerinizin doğal gücünde değil, ama kendi yiğitliğinizde olduğunu anlayıncaya dek. Sizleri kentli yaptı; size iyi yasalar ve töreler getirerek sizi uygarlaştırdı. Sizi boyun eğdiğiniz kabilelere, sizi ve mallarınızı yağmalayan insanlara kul ve köle olmaktan kurtardı. Sizi onlara efendi yaptı. Trakya’nın büyük bölümünü Makedonya’ya kattı, kıyıdaki en iyi yerleri ele geçirerek ülkenizi tecime açtı, ve saldırı korkusu olmaksızın barış içinde madenlerinizi işletmenizi sağladı.1 Şimdiye dek size rahatsızlık vermiş ve sizi korkudan dehşete düşürmüş Thessaly’yi sizin egemenliğiniz altına getirdi ve Fokislileri küçük düşürerek Yunanistan’ın dar ve zorlu yolunu geniş ve kolay bir yola çevirdi.2 Bizi yıllardır devirmek için şanslarını kollayan Atina ve Thebes’i öylesine aşağılara düşürdü ki — bu sırada benim kendim de babamın emeklerini paylaşıyordum3 —, Atina’ya haraç ödemek ve Thebes’e boyun eğmek yerine,4 şimdi onların varolma haklarını kendi paylarına bizden kazanmaları gerekiyor. Peloponez’e geçerek, oradaki herşeyi düzene soktu ve Perslere karşı savaş için Yunanistan’ın geri kalanının yüksek komutanı yapıldığı zaman, bunun onurunu yalnızca kendi için değil, ama Makedonya halkı için kazandı.
“Babamın sizlere sunduğu tüm bu soylu hizmetler kendi başlarına görüldüklerinde gerçekten de büyüktürler. Gene de, benimkilerle karşılaştırıldıklarında küçüktürler. Babamdan birkaç altın ve gümüş kupa, ve hazinesindeki altmış talentlik parayı kalıt aldım. Ve Filip’in borçları beş yüz talent kadardı.5 Kendim bu yüke ek olarak sekiz yüz talentlik bir borç daha aldım ve size doğru dürüst bakamayacak denli yoksul bir ülkeden yürüyerek sizin için tek bir vuruşta, ve Perslerin deniz üstünlüğü karşısında, Hellespont’un kapılarını açtım. Süvarim Darius’un satraplarını ezdi, ve İyonya’yı, Aeolia’yı, aşağı ve yukarı Frigyaları ve Lydia’yı imparatorluğunuza kattım. Miletos’u kuşatma yoluyla dize getirdim. Öteki kentler tümü de kendi istekleriyle boyun eğdiler, onları aldım ve meyvalarını toplamanız için size verdim. Mısır ve Kyrene’nin tek bir damla kan akıtmadan kazandığım varsıllıkları şimdi sizin elinizdedir. Filistin ve Suriye’nin ovaları ve Nehirler arasındaki Ülke şimdi sizin mülkünüzdür. Babil ve Baktria ve Susa sizindir; Lydia’nın altınının, İran’ın hazinesinin, Hindistan’ın varsıllığının efendileri sizlersiniz — evet, ve Hindistan’ın ötesindeki denizin de. Sizler benim yüzbaşılarım, generallerim, valilerimsiniz.
“Sizin için tüm bu çabalarımdan bana geriye bu kaftandan ve bu taçtan başka ne kaldı? Kendim için hiçbirşey almadım. Hiç kimse sizin bu iyeliklerinizden ve gelecekte kullanmanız için saklanmakta olanlardan ayrı olarak benim hazinelerimi gösteremez. Çünkü sizin yediğiniz aynı yemeği yediğime, sizin uyuduğunuz aynı uykuyu uyuduğuma göre, niçin kendime birşeyler ayırayım? Oh, gene de aranızda kendilerine ziyafetler çeken kimileriyle aynı yemeği yediğimi sanmıyorum. Ve dahası, yataklarınızda rahat uyumanız için sizden önce uyandığımı biliyorum.1
10. “Belki de diyeceksiniz ki, komutanınız olduğum için, kazandığımı benim adıma kazanmak için katlanmak zorunda kaldığınız zahmetlerin ve sıkıntıların hiç birini çekmedim. Ama aranızda benim için benim onun için çektiğimden daha çok acı çektiğini duyumsayan var mı? Haydi, eğer yaralandıysanız, soyunun ve yaralarınızı gösterin, ve ben de göstereceğim. Bedenimde sırtımdan başka yara izi taşımayan hiçbir yerim kalmadı. Yakın döğüşte kullanılan ya da uzaktan fırlatılan hiç bir silah yoktur ki, izini taşımıyor olayım. Göğüs göğüse döğüşte kılıçla yaralandım. Oklarla delindim. Mancınıktan gelen taşlar bedenimi ezdi. Birçok kez sapan taşlarının ve sopa vuruşlarının hedefi oldum. Ve tümü de sizin şanınız, sizin gönenciniz için.2 Her toprakta, her denizde, her nehirde, dağda ve ovada utkulu bir ordu olarak size dünyanın sonuna dek önderlik ettim. Sizin evlendiğiniz gibi evlendim, ve birçoklarınızın benim çocuklarımla kan bağı olan çocukları olacak. Kimilerinizin borçları vardı, ve bunların nasıl oluştuğuna burnumu sokmadan, ve iyi maaşlar almanıza ve kuşatma sonrası yağmalardan paylarınıza düşenlere bakmadan, onları ödedim. Çoğunuza sizin yürekliliğinizin ve benim saygımın hiçbir zaman yok olmayacak anıları olarak altın halkalar verdim.3 Ve savaşta kim öldüyse, ölümü şanlı ve cenaze törenleri görkemli oldu. Hemen hemen tümünün anısına yurtlarında bronz yontular dikildi. Anne ve babaları saygı görüyor ve tüm hizmetlerden ve vergilerden bağışık tutuldular.4 Çünkü benim önderliğim altında, aranızda tek bir adam bile düşmana sırtı dönük ölmedi. “Ve şimdi bundan böyle seferler için uygun olmayanları geri göndermeye karar vermiştim — ülkedeki herkesin haset ve hayranlığı için.
Ama hepiniz beni bırakmak istediğinize göre, öyleyse hepiniz gidin! Ve yurdunuza ulaştığınızda, onlara Persleri ve Medleri, Baktrialıları ve Sakaları yenen, Uxialıları, Arakhotialıları, Drangialıları ezen, Parthia’yı, Khorasmia’yı, Kaspian Denizi’ne dek Hyrkania’yı imparatorluğuna katan, Kaspian Kapılarının ötesinde Kafkasları geçen, Oxus ve Tanais nehirlerini geçen, evet, ondan önce Dionysos’tan başka hiç kimsenin geçmediği İndus’u ve ayrıca Hydaspes’i, Akesines’i ve Hydraotes’i geçen, ve eğer korkmamış olsaydınız Hyfasis’i de geçecek olan, İndus’un iki ağzından Hint Okyanusu’na açılan ve daha önce hiçbir ordunun ayak basmadığı Gedrosia Çölünü aşan, yürüyüş hattındaki Karmania’yı ve Oreitanların ülkesini ele geçiren, gemileri okyanusta Hindistan’dan Pers Körfezi’ne yelken açtıkları zaman sizin tarafınızdan Susa’ya geri getirilen — tüm bunları yapan Kralınız İskender’i terk ettiğinizi ve onu yenmiş olduğunuz barbar kabilelerin eline bıraktığınızı söyleyin. Böyle haberler emin olun ki size bu dünyada şan ve gökte ödüller kazandıracaktır. Çekilin gözümün önünden!”
Kingdoms of the Diadochi after the Battle of Ipsus,c. 301 BC.
The diadochifought over and carved up Alexander's empire into several kingdoms after his death, a legacy which reigned on and continued the influence of ancient Greek culture abroad for over 300 more years. This map depicts the kingdoms of the diadochi c. 301 BC, after the Battle of Ipsus. The five kingdoms of the diadochi were:
Map of the successor Kingdoms (c. 303 BC) before the battle of Ipsus.(W)
Without a chosen successor, there was almost immediately a dispute among Alexander's generals as to whom his successor should be. Meleager and the infantry supported the candidacy of Alexander's half-brother, Arrhidaeus, while Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, supported waiting until the birth of Alexander's unborn child by Roxana. A compromise was arranged -Arrhidaeus (as Philip III) should become King, and should rule jointly with Roxana's child, assuming that it was a boy (as it was, becoming Alexander IV). Perdiccas himself would become Regent of the entire Empire, and Meleager his lieutenant. Soon, however, Perdiccas had Meleager and the other infantry leaders murdered, and assumed full control.
Alexander the Great left behind a huge empire, stretching from Greece to India; but with his death it was an empire without a ruler. His young widow Roxana was pregnant with an unborn child, who would, if a male, become his heir, but he would not be able to take on Alexander’s mantle for many years.
The high command therefore appointed one of their number, Perdiccas, as Regent. They then divided Alexander’s empire up amongst themselves, each taking a major province (satrapy) to rule as governor (satrap).
They, plus their sons and one or two others who would come to prominence in the years ahead, have gone down in history as the “Successors”, because they succeeded to the rule of Alexander’s conquests.
One aspect of the period immediately following Alexander’s death was that some of his policies which had been particularly dear to him were abandoned. Many of his senior officers set aside the Persian wives he had forced them to marry, and Alexander’s moves towards creating a single Macedonian/Greek/Persian ruling class came to nothing.
The wars of the Successors
There began almost 50 years of wars, coups, alliances, counter-alliances, betrayals, assassinations and mutinies. In all these complex goings-on, a pattern developed by which any one of the Successors who attained a pre-eminent position amongst the rest would attract an alliance of the others to bring him down.
In 321, the regent Perdiccas was faced with such an alliance. In the ensuing war he was murdered by his own lieutenants.
A general named Antigonus emerged from this situation as the pre-eminent Successor. The others therefore joined forces against him. The resulting wars dragged on for the next two decades, with many twists and turns. At different times it was waged in Macedonia, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia; the city-states of Greece tried to regain their independence but failed, becoming the impotent playthings of different Successors.
Alexander’s widow and son were caught up in the violence and murdered in 310. From 307 onwards the surviving Successors began proclaiming themselves as kings: Antigonus in Asia Minor and Greece; Ptolemy in Egypt; Lysimachus in Thrace, Cassander in Macedonia and Seleucus in the east.
The Wars of the Diadochi (Greek: Πόλεμοι των Διαδόχων, Polemoi ton Diadochon), or Wars of Alexander's Successors, were a series of conflicts fought between Alexander the Great's generals over the rule of his vast empire after his death. They occurred between 322 and 275 BC.
Diadochi kingdoms. The borders of alexanders empire in black lines, and the empires the succeeded his territory (coloured). (W)
The news of Alexander's death inspired a revolt in Greece, known as the Lamian War. Athens and other cities joined together, ultimately besieging Antipater in the fortress of Lamia. Antipater was relieved by a force sent by Leonnatus, who was killed in action, but the war did not come to an end until Craterus's arrival with a fleet to defeat the Athenians at the Battle of Crannon on September 5, 322 BC. For a time, this brought an end to Greek resistance to Macedonian domination. Meanwhile, Peithon suppressed a revolt of Greek settlers in the eastern parts of the empire, and Perdiccas and Eumenes subdued Cappadocia.
First War of the Diadochi, 322-320 BC
Perdiccas (who was already betrothed to the daughter of Antipater, Nicea) attempted to marry Alexander's sister, Cleopatra, a marriage which would have given Perdiccas a claim to the Macedonian throne. Antipater, Craterus and Antigonus formed a coalition against Perdiccas's growing power. Antipater sent his army under the command of the Craterus, into Asia Minor. This was the beginning of the first of the Diadochi Wars. Meander, Asander and Ptolemy joined them in rebellion against Perdiccas. The actual outbreak of war was triggered by Ptolemy's theft of Alexander's body, and diversion of it to Egypt. Although Eumenes defeated Craterus at the battle of the Hellespont, it was all for nought, as Perdiccas himself was murdered by his own generals Peithon, Seleucus, and Antigenes during the invasion of Egypt (after a failed crossing of the Nile).
Ptolemy came to terms with Perdiccas' murderers, making Peithon and Arrhidaeus regents in Perdiccas's place, but soon these came to a new agreement with Antipater at the Treaty of Triparadisus. Antipater was made Regent of the Empire, and the two kings were moved to Macedon. Antigonus was made Strategos of Asia and remained in charge of Phrygia, Lycia, and Pamphylia, to which was added Lycaonia. Ptolemy retained Egypt, Lysimachus retained Thrace, while the three murderers of Perdiccas—Seleucus, Peithon, and Antigenes—were given the provinces of Babylonia, Media, and Susiana respectively. Arrhidaeus, the former regent, received Hellespontine Phrygia. Antigonus was charged with the task of rooting out Perdiccas's former supporter, Eumenes. In effect, Antipater retained for himself control of Europe, while Antigonus, as Strategos of the East, held a similar position in Asia.
Although the First War ended with the death of Perdiccas his cause did not. Eumenes was still at large with a victorious army in Asia Minor. So were Alcetas, Attalus, Dokimos and Polemon who had also gathered their armies in Asia Minor. In 319 BCE Antigonus, after receiving reinforcements from Antipater's European army, first campaigned against Eumenes (see: battle of Orkynia), then against the combined forces of Alcetas, Attalus, Dokimos and Polemon (see: battle of Cretopolis), defeating them all.
Second War of the Diadochi, 318-315 BC
Another war soon broke out between the Diadochi. At the start of 318 BC Arrhidaios, the governor of Hellespontine Phrygia, tried to take the city of Cyzicus. Antigonus, as the Strategos of Asia, took this as a challenge to his authority and recalled his army from their winter quarters. He sent an army against Arrhidaios while he himself marched with the main army into Lydia against its governor Cleitus whom he drove out of his province.
Cleitus fled to Macedon and joined Polyperchon, the new Regent of the Empire, who decided to march his army south to force the Greek cities to side with him against Cassander and Antigonus. Cassander, reinforced with troops and a fleet by Antigonus, sailed to Athens and thwarted Polyperchon's efforts to take the city.From Athens Polyperchon marched on Megalopolis which had sided with Cassander and besieged the city. The siege failed and he had to retreat losing a lot of prestige and most of the Greek cities. Eventually Polyperchon retreated to Epirus with the infant King Alexander IV. There he joined forces with Alexander's mother Olympias and was able to re-invade Macedon. King Philip Arrhidaeus, Alexander's half-brother, having defected to Cassander's side at the prompting of his wife, Eurydice, was forced to flee, only to be captured in Amphipolis, resulting in the execution of himself and the forced suicide of his wife, both purportedly at the instigation of Olympias. Cassander rallied once more, and seized Macedon. Olympias was murdered, and Cassander gained control of the infant King and his mother. Eventually Cassander became the dominant power in the European part of the Empire, ruling over Macedon and large parts of Greece.
Meanwhile Eumenes, who had gathered a small army in Cappadocia, had entered the coalition of Polyperchon and Olympias. He took his army to the royal treasury at Kyinda in Cilicia where he used its funds to recruit mercenaries. He also secured the loyalty of 6,000 of Alexander's veterans, the Agyraspidis (the Silver Shields) and the Hypaspists, who were stationed in Cilicia.In the spring of 317 BC he marched his army to Phoenica and began to raise a naval force on the behalf of Polyperchon.Antigonus had spent the rest of 318 consolidating his position and gathering a fleet. He now used this fleet (under the command of Nicanor who had returned from Athens) against Polyperchon's fleet in the Hellespont. In a two-day battle near Byzantium, Nicanor and Antigonus destroyed Polyperchon's fleet. Then, after settling his affairs in western Asia Minor, Antigonus marched against Eumenes at the head of a great army. Eumenes hurried out of Phoenicia and marched his army east to gather support in the eastern provinces.In this he was successful, because most of the eastern satraps joined his cause (when he arrived in Susiana) more than doubling his army.They marched and counter-marched throughout Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Susiana and Media until they faced each other on a plain in the country of the Paraitakene in southern Media. There they fought a great battle − the battle of Paraitakene − which ended inconclusively. The next year (315) they fought another great but inconclusive battle − the battle of Gabiene − during which some of Antigonus's troops plundered the enemy camp. Using this plunder as a bargaining tool, Antigonus bribed the Agyraspides who arrested and handed over Eumenes. Antigonus had Eumenes and a couple of his officers executed. With Eumenes's death, the war in the eastern part of the Empire ended.
Antigonus and Cassander had won the war. Antigonus now controlled Asia Minor and the eastern provinces, Cassander Macedon and large parts of Greece, Lysimachus Thrace, and Ptolemy, Egypt, Syria, Cyrene and Cyprus. Their enemies were either dead or seriously reduced in power and influence.
Third War of the Diadochi, 314-311 BC
Though his authority had seemed secure with his victory over Eumenes, the western dynasts were unwilling to see Antigonus rule all of Asia.In 314 BCE they demanded from Antigonus that he ceed Lycia and Cappadocia to Cassander, Hellepontine Phrygia to Lysimachus, all of Syria to Ptolemy, and Babylonia to Seleucus, and that he share the treasures he had captured.Antigonus only answer was to advise them to be ready, then, for war.In this war, Antigonus faced an alliance of Ptolemy (with Seleucus serving him), Lysimachus, and Cassander. At the start of the campaigning season of 314 Antigonus invaded Syria and Phoenica, which were under Ptolemy's control, and besieged Tyre.Cassander and Ptolemy started supporting Asander (satrap of Caria) against Antigonus who ruled the neighbouring provinces of Lycia, Lydia and Greater Phrygia. Antigonus allied himself to Polyperchon, who still controlled parts of the Peloponnese, and proclaimed freedom for the Greeks to get them on their side. He sent his nephew Polemaios with an army through Cappadocia to the Hellespont to cut Asander off from Lysimachus and Cassander. Polemaios was very successfull, securing the northwest of Asia Minor for Antigonus, even invading Ionia/Lydia and bottling up Asander in Caria, but he was unable to drive his opponent from his satrapy. Eventually Antigonus decided to campaign against Asander himself, leaving his oldest son Demetrius to protect Syria and Phoenica against Ptolemy. Ptolemy and Seleucus invaded from Egypte and defeated Demetrius in the Battle of Gaza. After the battle, Seleucus went east and secured control of Babylon (his old satrapy), and then went on to secure the eastern satrapies of Alexander's empire. Antigonus, having defeated Asander, sent his nephews Telesphorus and Polemaios to Greece to fight Cassander, he himself returned to Syria/Phoenica, drove off Ptolemy, and sent Demetrius east to take care of Seleucus. Although Antigonus now concluded a compromise peace with Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Cassander, he continued the war with Seleucus, attempting to recover control of the eastern reaches of the empire. Although he went east himself in 310 BC, he was unable to defeat Seleucus (he even lost a battle to Seleucus) and had to give up the eastern satrapies.
At about the same time, Cassander had young King Alexander IV and his mother Roxane murdered, ending the Argead dynasty, which had ruled Macedon for several centuries. For the moment, all of the various generals continued to recognize the dead Alexander as king, since Cassander did not publicly announce the deaths, but it seemed clear that at some point, one or all of them would claim the kingship.
At the end of the war there were five Diadochi left: Cassander ruling Macedon and Thessaly, Lysimachus ruling Thrace, Antigonus ruling Asia Minor, Syria and Phoenicia, Seleucus ruling the eastern provinces and Ptolemy ruling Egypte and Cyprus. Each of them ruled as kings (in all but name).
War soon broke out again. Ptolemy had been expanding his power into the Aegean and to Cyprus, while Seleucus went on a tour of the east to consolidate his control of the vast eastern territories of Alexander's empire. Antigonus resumed the war, sending his son Demetrius to regain control of Greece. In 307 he took Athens, expelling Demetrius of Phaleron, Cassander's governor, and proclaiming the city free again. Demetrius now turned his attention to Ptolemy, invading Cyprus and defeating Ptolemy's fleet at the Battle of Salamis. In the aftermath of this victory, Antigonus and Demetrius both assumed the crown, and they were shortly followed by Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, and eventually Cassander.
In 306, Antigonus attempted to invade Egypt, but storms prevented Demetrius' fleet from supplying him, and he was forced to return home. Now, with Cassander and Ptolemy both weakened, and Seleucus still occupied in the East, Antigonus and Demetrius turned their attention to Rhodes, which was besieged by Demetrius's forces in 305 BC. The island was reinforced by troops from Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Cassander. Ultimately, the Rhodians reached a compromise with Demetrius -they would support Antigonus and Demetrius against all enemies, save their great ally Ptolemy. Ptolemy took the title of Soter ("Savior") for his role in preventing the fall of Rhodes, but the victory was ultimately Demetrius', as it left him with a free hand to attack Cassander in Greece. Demetrius returned to Greece, defeated Cassander, and formed a new Hellenic League, with himself as general, to defend the Greek cities against all enemies (and particularly Cassander).
In the face of these catastrophes, Cassander sued for peace, but Antigonus rejected the claims, and Demetrius invaded Thessaly, where he and Cassander battled in inconclusive engagements. But now Cassander called in aid from his allies, and Anatolia was invaded by Lysimachus, forcing Demetrius to leave Thessaly and send his armies to Asia Minor to assist his father. With assistance from Cassander, Lysimachus overran much of western Anatolia, but was soon (301 BC) isolated by Antigonus and Demetrius near Ipsus. Here came the decisive intervention from Seleucus, who arrived in time to save Lysimachus from disaster and utterly crush Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus. Antigonus was killed in the fight, and Demetrius fled back to Greece to attempt to preserve the remnants of his rule there. Lysimachus and Seleucus divided up Antigonus's Asian territories between them, with Lysimachus receiving western Asia Minor and Seleucus the rest, except Cilicia and Lycia, which went to Cassander's brother Pleistarchus.
On June 10, 323 BCE Alexander the Great died in Babylon. Although historians have debated the exact cause most agree that the empire he built was left without adequate leadership for there was no clear successor or heir. The military commanders who had followed the king for over a decade across the sands of Asia were left to fight each other over their small piece of the territorial pie. These were the Wars of Succession or Wars of the Diadochi. What followed were over three decades of intense rivalry. In the end three dynasties would emerge, remaining in power until the time of the Romans.
In 334 BCE Alexander and his army left Macedonia and Greece in the capable hands of Antipater I and crossed the Hellespont to conquer the Persian Empire. Now, after a decade of fighting, King Darius was dead, dying at the hands of one of his own commanders, Bessus. Although many in his army wanted to simply return home, the new, self-proclaimed king of Asia was making plans for the future. His proposed Exile Decree called for all Greek exiles to return to their native cities; however, as he sat in his tent at Babylon, trouble brewed throughout his empire. Many of his loyal troops not only protested the presence of Persians among their ranks but rebelled against his insistence that they take Persian wives. Several of the satraps — those he had put in charge to govern the occupied territories — were being executed for treason and malfeasance. After Alexander's death, other areas, even some closer to home, would seize the opportunity to revolt. Athens and Aetolia, upon hearing of the death of the king, rebelled, initiating the Lamian War (323 -322 BCE). It took the intervention of Antipater and Craterus to force an end to it at the Battle at Crannon when the Athenian commander Leosthenes was killed.
Of course, Alexander did not live to fulfill his dreams. After a night of heavy partying, he fell ill; his health gradually deteriorated. There were those, his mother Olympias included, who claimed he had been poisoned in a supposed plot conceived by the philosopher and tutor Aristotle and Antipater, fulfilled by his sons Cassander and Iolaus. On his death bed, barely able to speak, the king handed his signet ring to his loyal commander and chiliarch (replacing Hephaestion) Perdiccas. In a scene befitting a king, he died surrounded by his commanders. Questions exist to this day concerning Alexander’s final words — “to the best.” — and what they meant. Since he had not specifically named a successor, the primary concern of those closest to the king, especially his commanders, was to choose a successor.
A Search for a successor
Without Alexander, there was no government and no one had the authority to make decisions. Apparently, since he had treated his commanders equally, not wanting to create rivalry, his final words were meaningless. There was no one considered “the best.” There were, however, two likely candidates that could be considered as a possible successor. First, there was Alexander’s half-brother Arrhidaeus, the son of Philip II and Philinna of Larissa. He was already in Babylon. Next, one might consider waiting until the child of Alexander’s Bactrian wife Roxanne was born, but the future Alexander IV would not be born until August.
Without Alexander, there was no government & no one had the authority to make decisions.
According to one historian, the struggle for leadership would be more bitter and destructive than the decade-long war against the Persians. The commanders were split: some favored Arrhidaeus, others wanted Alexander’s unborn son, and then there were those who wanted to simply divide the empire among themselves. Perdiccas favored Roxanne and the future Alexander IV. For self-centered reasons, Perdiccas preferred Alexander’s wife and child; he would then be able to serve as regent for the young king. Later, with Perdiccas’s approval, Roxanne, favoring her son as the only true heir, chose to eliminate any competition, even if there were no children, by killing Alexander’s wife Strateria, the daughter of Darius, and her sister Drypetis. To add insult she threw their bodies down a well.
Hoping to maintain a unified empire, Perdiccas brought the commanders together to decide on a successor. Many disliked the idea of waiting for the birth of Roxanne’s child. Roxanne was not a pure Macedonian. One commander even suggested Alexander’s four-year-old son, Heracles, by his mistress Barsine, but this idea was easily dismissed. Some looked to Arrhidaeus, and even though he was considered mentally handicapped, he was still the half-brother of Alexander and a Macedonian. The infantry commander Meleager and a number of his fellow infantry staged a revolt, choosing Arrhidaeus as the successor and even naming him Philip III. Meleager disliked Perdiccas, considering him a threat to the state. He even tried to arrest him. Seeing this as a betrayal, Perdiccas had Meleager executed in the sanctuary where he had sought refuge. The revolt was quietly suppressed. Some commanders decided to briefly put aside their differences and wait for the birth of Roxanne’s child with guardians even being appointed to oversee the safety of both the child and the newly crowned Philip III. The regent Antipater would eventually have both of them brought to Macedon for safety.
However, the death of Meleager changed the attitude of many of the commanders and set in motion the decades of war that would follow. From 323 to 281 BCE the intense competition between the commanders would escalate, as they wrestled for the control of Greece, Macedon, Asia Minor, Egypt, Central Asia, Mesopotamia and India. Although there would be brief periods of peace, the empire would never be reunited. In the end there was only one solution: the Partition of Babylon divided Alexander’s kingdom among the more prominent commanders - Antipater and Craterus received Macedon and Greece, Ptolemy grabbed Egypt deposing Cleomenes, the bodyguard Lysimachus was awarded Thrace, Eumenes gained Cappadocia, and lastly, Antigonus the One-Eyed remained in Greater Phrygia.
The successor Wars
The four Successor Wars centered on the aspirations of three individuals and their descendants: Antigonus Monophthalmus I (382 - 301 BCE), Seleucus I Nicator (358 -281 BCE) and Ptolemy I Soter (366–282 BCE). It would be their heirs who formed the dynasties that would exist for two more centuries. The great empire that Alexander had built extended from Macedon and Greece, eastward through Asia Minor, southward through Syria to Egypt, and eastward again through Mesopotamia and Bactria and into India. No empire like it had ever existed, and none of the successors would ever achieve anything equal to it. From Alexander’s death in 323 BCE to the death of Lysimachus in 281 BCE, the old commanders fought, making and breaking numerous alliances — all with the selfish intentions of extending their own land holdings — no one could depend on another’s loyalty.
With the empire divided at Babylon, the commanders made their way home. Lysimachus would have to deal with a Thracian rebellion, Antipater and Craterus fought Athens and her allies in the Lamian War, and Ptolemy had to establish himself in Egypt. The new pharaoh also had to look across the Nile and determine his next move against Perdiccas. Despite their selfish concern over land, there was one commonality among all of the commanders: no one liked Perdiccas, and Perdiccas hated Ptolemy above all others. It was very obvious from the beginning that these two men would never agree. The two had even quarreled at Babylon when Perdiccas had wanted to wait for Alexander’s son to be born while Ptolemy wanted to divide the empire.
As the king’s chiliarch, Perdiccas had established himself securely after Alexander’s death, always hoping to reunite the empire. He had the signet ring and the king’s body, preparing to return it to Macedon and a newly prepared tomb. However, at Damascus the body mysteriously disappeared — stolen by Ptolemy and taken to Memphis in Egypt. Now, with the kidnapping of the body, the long disagreement finally ended in war (322–321 BCE). Three failed attempts to cross the Nile into Egypt cost Perdiccas his life; he own army tired of his failure and the death of 2,000 men and killed him. Some even believe Seleucus, a one-time ally of Perdiccas, was involved. Under Alexander, Seleucus had been the commander of an elite corps of hypaspists, yet he did not acquire any territory at Babylon. Instead, he was named the commander of the Companion Cavalry. His loyalty to Ptolemy in the fight against Perdiccas, however, brought him the province of Babylonia.
The First Succesor War ( 322-320 BCE) was all about jealousy. Before his confrontation with Ptolemy, Perdiccas had already alarmed both Antipater and Craterus in Macedon as well as Antigonus in Phrygia by his army’s invasion of Asia Minor. The arguments over territory began when Perdiccas became furious at Antigonus because he refused to help Eumenes keep control of his allocated territory, Cappadocia. Eumenes was the commander of Perdiccas’s forces in Asia Minor. Antigonus wanted to avoid a conflict with Perdiccas and Eumenes, so he and his son Demetrius sought refuge in Macedon. They joined forces with Antipater, Craterus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus against Perdiccas and Eumenes. Unfortunately, Craterus died in battle when he own horse fell on him. After Perdiccas’s death, Eumenes became isolated, condemned to death in the Treaty of Triparadeisus.
Under the guidance of Antipater, the new treaty at Triparadeisus in 321 BCE secured many of the commanders in their allotted territories. Later, when Antipater died in 319 BCE, Cassander, his son, was not named the heir to the regency of Macedon and Greece but instead was made a cavalry commander. Antipater did not believe his son was capable of defending Macedon against the other regents. In his place, Antipater appointed a commander named Polyperchon as regent. This slight would lead to a series of conflicts between the two - Cassander would ally himself with Lysimachus and Antigonus while Polyperchon would align himself with Eumenes and later the dowager queen Olympias. However, the year 319 BCE would bring an end to the first war - Perdiccas, Craterus and Antipater were dead, Seleucus was firmly established in Babylonia, Ptolemy occupied Egypt, Lysimachus sat in Thrace, and Antigonus held much of Asia Minor. The only place of discontent was in Macedon and Greece where Cassander and Polyperchon were preparing to battle.
The Second & Third Successor Wars
Over the next decade the Second Successor War (319 - 315 BCE) and Third Successor War (314 - 311 BCE) would bring about a number of dramatic changes. Cassander would roust Polyperchon from Macedon and Greece, and with the help of Antigonus establish bases at Piraeus and on the Peloponnese. And to further secure his right to sit on the Macedonian throne, he would marry the daughter of Philip II, Thessalonica. By 316 BCE at the Battle of Gabiene, Antigonus would finally be victorious against Eumenes gaining control of much of Asia- he had been ordered by Antipater at Triparadeisus to hunt down Eumenes. Eumenes would later be executed in 316 BCE after his own men betrayed him, surrendering him to Antigonus. Unfortunately, Seleucus would lose his hold on Babylonia after Antigonus’s invasion, seeking refuge with Ptolemy. Luckily, he would regain his territory in 311 BCE, eventually establishing a new capital, Seleucia.
The Peace of the Dynasts was concluded in 311 BCE but quickly ended when another war, the Babylonian War (311- 309 BCE) kicked off when Seleucus invaded Babylonia with Ptolemy’s support against Antigonus and his son Demetrius, regaining his lost territory at the Battle of Gaza.
In Thrace Lysimachus had been having trouble with one of the cities along the Black Sea coast. Setting his sights on the strategically important province for himself, Antigonus sent a small army to aid the city and provoke the local tribes. Finally, in 311 BCE, peace was achieved with Lysimachus remaining in control of the city, but this revolt finally drew him into the conflict that he had so long sought to avoid. He soon formed an alliance with Cassander, Ptolemy, and Seleucus.
In 310 BCE Cassander ordered the death of both Alexander IV & his mother Roxanne.
Meanwhile, in Alexander’s old homeland, Macedon, Cassander was continuing his battle against Polyperchon. Earlier, Polyperchon had fled to Epirus and aligned himself with Olympias, hoping to invade and reclaim Macedon. Cassander realized that as long as Olympias and the young Alexander IV remained alive, they would be a threat to his hold on Macedon. In 316 BCE she had ordered the assassination of her step-son Philip III - his wife Eurydice would commit suicide. In 310 BCE Cassander ordered the death of both Alexander IV and his mother Roxanne. Olympias would also die, with dignity, at the hands of his soldiers.
The Fourth Successor War
In the Fourth Successor War (308-301 BCE) Cassander and Ptolemy would continue to have troubles with Demetrius I of Macedon, “the Besieger of Cities”, when he invaded Greece and “liberated” Athens in 307 BCE from Cassander’s governor. Later, in 302 BCE, he reinstituted the old League of Corinth. Meanwhile, Ptolemy had gradually been expanding northward, securing the island of Cyprus, only to lose to Demetrius at Salamis. Next, Demetrius chose to attack Rhodes but thanks to Ptolemy and his allies (Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander) the siege ended in negotiations. That same year, 305 BCE, the various commanders declared themselves to be kings. By 303/302 BCE the war continued as Cassander fought to keep Demetrius and Antigonus out of Macedon. Cassander had little choice but call to his allies for help. Lysimachus moved his forces into Asia Minor causing Demetrius to abandon Greece and join his father. The Battle of Ipsus brought Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Cassander against Antigonus and Demetrius. The battle would cause not only the death of Antigonus but the end of any hope of restoring Alexander’s empire. Lysimachus and Seleucus divided Antigonus’s territory with the former getting lands in Asia Minor while the latter took Syria where he would ultimately build the city of Antioch.
Although Cassander sat securely in Macedon, his safety would not last. He died in 297 BCE leaving his homeland to the army of Demetrius who declared himself king of Macedon and Greece. The victorious Lysimachus began to expand his territory further. After the death of his old ally Cassander, he set his sights on Macedon. With the assistance of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, he crossed the border and forced Demetrius out. Demetrius and his army escaped across the Hellespont and into Asia Minor, confronting the army of Seleucus. Unfortunately for Demetrius, he was immediately captured only to die in captivity in 283 BCE, although his descendants would eventually regain Macedon and Greece.
In 282 BCE Lysimachus’s one-time ally Seleucus set his sights on Lysimachus’s territory in Asia Minor, and in 281 BCE the two armies met at Corupedium where Lysimachus met his death. The commander who had not received any land at Babylon and, at one point, lost what little he did gain, proved to be the true winner. Unfortunately, victory would have to be celebrated by his descendants. He would die at the hands of Ptolemy’s son Ptolemy Ceraunus in 281 BCE.
The death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE had brought chaos. His failure to name a successor or heir left his commanders to eventually divide the empire among themselves. Jealousy led to over three decades of war where alliances were made and broken. The four wars of the diadochi would usher in the Hellenistic Period and bring into existence three dynasties that would exist until the time of the Romans.
Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.
The Partition of Babylon designates the apportionment of the territories of Alexander the Great between his generals after his death in 323 BC. The phrase is a proper name formulated by scholars in English in the late 19th century. For example, the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1885 presents it as one of a trio occurring sequentially in the period: "The list of satrapies at this period is known from the records of the partitions of Babylon (323), Triparadisus (321), and Persepolis (315).” "Partition" as presented by the name does not mean that Babylon was politically partitioned, but rather the empire of Alexander was partitioned at Babylon; the same convention is applied as in the naming of a treaty, after the location where the agreement was reached.
Finally, in Macedon the Antigonid dynasty ruled the smallest division of Alexander's Empire and had the most troubles from the start. The first founder of the Antigonid Dynasty was Antigonas, who gained control of Asia Minor after Alexander’s death. He attempted to reunite the empire under his own rule and declared himself king, but he was defeated and killed in 301 BC.
After numerous battles with neighboring kingdoms and losses to Seleucus, the Antigonid Dynasty ended up hemorrhaging most of Asia Minor (Anatolia) and was considerably reduced in size.
The Kingdom of Antigonos
The Kingdom of Antigonos (W)
The Kingdoms of Antigonos and his rivals c. 303 BC.
Perdiccas (Greek: Περδίκκας, Perdikkas; c. 355 BC – 321/320 BC) became a general in Alexander the Great's army and participated in Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia. Following Alexander's death, he rose to become supreme commander of the imperial army and regent for Alexander's half brother and intellectually disabled successor, Philip Arridaeus (Philip III).
He was the first of the Diadochi who fought for control over Alexander’s empire but in his attempts to establish a power base and stay in control of the empire, he managed to make enemies of key generals in the Macedonian army, Antipater, Craterus and Antigonus Monophtalmus, who decided to revolt against the regent. In response to this formidable coalition and a provocation from another general, Ptolemy, Perdiccas invaded Egypt, but when the invasion floundered his soldiers revolted and killed him.
Antigonus was appointed governor of Greater Phrygia in 333 BC. He was primarily responsible for defending Alexander’s lines of supply and communication during the latter's extended campaign against the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Following Alexander's victory at Issus, the Persian mercenary commander Memnon of Rhodes ordered a counter-attack into Asia Minor in an attempt to sever Alexander's lines of supply and communication; however, Antigonus defeated the Persian forces in three separate battles.
The dynasts unite against Antigonus
The most powerful dynasts of the empire, now kings in their own right, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, responded to Antigonus' successes by allying with each other, often through marriage. Antigonus soon found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with each of them.
Succeeding the Antipatrid dynasty in much of Macedonia, Antigonus ruled mostly over Asia Minor and northern Syria. His attempts to take control of the whole of Alexander's empire led to his defeat and death at the Battle of Ipsusin 301 BC. Antigonus's son Demetrius I Poliorcetes survived the battle, and managed to seize control of Macedon itself a few years later, but eventually lost his throne, dying as a prisoner of Seleucus I Nicator. After a period of confusion, Demetrius's son Antigonus II Gonatas was able to establish the family's control over the old Kingdom of Macedon, as well as over most of the Greek city-states, by 276 BC.
Cassander (Greek: Κάσσανδρος Ἀντιπάτρου,Kassandros Antipatrou; "son of Antipatros": c. 350–297 BC), was king of the Hellenic kingdom of Macedon from 305 BC until 297 BC, and de facto ruler of southern Greece from 317 BC until his death.
Eldest son of Antipater and a contemporary of Alexander the Great, Cassander was one of the Diadochi who warred over Alexander's empire following the latter's death in 323 BC. Cassander later seized the crown by having Alexander’s son and heir Alexander IV murdered. In governing Macedonia from 317 BC until 297 BC, Cassander restored peace and prosperity to the kingdom, while founding or restoring numerous cities (including Thessalonica, Cassandreia, and Thebes); however, his ruthlessness in dealing with political enemies complicates assessments of his rule.
The new regent, Perdiccas, left Antipater in control of Greece. Antipater faced wars with Athens, Aetolia, and Thessaly that made up the Lamian War, in which southern Greeks attempted to re-assert their political autonomy. He defeated them at the Battle of Crannon in 322 BC, with Craterus' help, and broke up the coalition. As part of this he imposed oligarchy upon Athens and demanded the surrender of Demosthenes, who committed suicide to escape capture. Later in the same year Antipater and Craterus were engaged in a war against the Aetolians when he received the news from Antigonus in Asia Minor that Perdiccas contemplated making himself outright ruler of the empire. Antipater and Craterus accordingly concluded peace with the Aetolians and went to war against Perdiccas, allying themselves with Ptolemy, the satrap of Egypt. Antipater crossed over to Asia in 321 BC. While still in Syria, he received information that Perdiccas had been murdered by his own soldiers. Craterus fell in battle against Eumenes (Diodorus xviii. 25-39).
Regent of the Empire
In the treaty of Triparadisus (321 BC), Antipater participated in a new division of Alexander's great kingdom. He appointed himself supreme regent of all Alexander's empire and was left in Greece as guardian of Alexander's son Alexander IV and his disabled brother Philip III.
Having quelled a mutiny of his troops and commissioned Antigonus to continue the war against Eumenes and the other partisans of Perdiccas, Antipater returned to Macedonia, arriving there in 320 BC (Justin xiii. 6). Soon after, he was seized by an illness which terminated his active career.
Death and struggle for succession
Antipater died of old age in 319 BC, at the age of eighty. By his side was his son Cassander.
Controversially, Antipater did not appoint Cassander to succeed him as regent,citing as the reason for his decision Cassander's youth (at the time of Antipater's passing, Cassander was in his 30s). Over Cassander, Antipater chose the aged officer Polyperchon as regent.
Cassander became indignant at this, believing that he'd earned the right to become regent by virtue of his loyalty and experience. Thus he appealed to general Antigonus to assist him in battling Polyperchon for the position.
In 317 BC, after two years of war with Polyperchon, Cassander emerged victorious. Cassander would go on to rule Macedonia for nineteen years, first as regent and later as king, ultimately founding the Antipatrid dynasty.
Ptolemy was the son of Arsinoe of Macedon by either her husband Lagus or Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander. Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s most trusted companions and military officers. He had been an intimate friend of Alexander since childhood.
Seleucus I Nicator (c. 358 BC -September 281 BC; Ancient Greek: Σέλευκος Α΄ ΝικάτωρSéleukos Α΄ Nikátōr; "Seleucus the Victor") was one of the Diadochi. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of the territory in the Near East which Alexander had conquered.
Bust of Seleucus I Nicator (Europos ca 358 BC-Lisimacheia 281 BC).
Seleucus I Nicator (c. 358-281 BC) (Σέλευκος Α΄ ΝικάτωρSéleukos Α΄ Nikátōr; "Seleucus the Victor") was one of the Diadochi. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of the territory in the Near East which Alexander had conquered.
While he was a mercurial and often restless leader, and not always a wise king, he was considered one of the greatest military commanders of his time. In his Life of Pyrrhus, Plutarch records that Hannibal ranked him as the greatest commander the world had ever seen, though in the life of Titus Quinctius Flamininus, Plutarch writes that Hannibal placed him second after Alexander the Great. This latter account is also given by Appian.
He married Ptolemy I's stepdaughter Antigone (a daughter of Berenice I of Egypt from her first husband Philip — respectively, Ptolemy I's wife and a Macedonian noble) and restored his kingdom in Epirus in 297 BC with financial and military aid from Ptolemy I.
Attalid dynasty / Kingdom of Pergamon (282-133 BC)(W)
Helenistic Pergamon, 188 BCE
Capital Pergamon Common languages Greek, Lycian, Carian, Lydian Government Monarchy King
• 282–263 BC Philetaerus
• 263–241 BC Eumenes I
• 241–197 BC Attalus I
• 197–159 BC Eumenes II
• 160–138 BC Attalus II
• 138–133 BC Attalus III
• 133–129 BC Eumenes III
Historical era Hellenistic period
• Philetaerus takes control of the city of Pergamon 282 BC
• Attalus III bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic 133 BC
The kingdom was a rump state that had been left after the collapse of the Lysimachian Empire. One of Lysimachus' lieutenants, Philetaerus, took control of the city in 282 BC. The later Attalids were descended from his father and expanded the city into a kingdom.
History of the Attalid Dynasty (the Pergamon Kingdom))
In 282 BC, Philetaerus deserted Lysimachus, offering himself and the important fortress of Pergamon, along with its treasury, to Seleucus I Nicator, who defeated and killed Lysimachus at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. Seleucus was killed a few months later. Philetaerus, especially after the death of Seleucus, enjoyed considerable autonomy despite being nominally under the Seleucids. He acquired considerable wealth because Pergamon had been the treasure-hold of Lysimachus and extended his power and influence beyond Pergamon. He contributed troops, money and food to the city of Cyzicus, in Mysia, for its defence against the invading Gauls, thus gaining prestige and goodwill for him and his family. He reigned for forty years and built the temple of Demeter on the acropolis, the temple of Athena (Pergamon's patron deity), and Pergamon's first palace. He added considerably to the city's fortifications.
Eumenes I succeeded in 263 BC. He rebelled and defeated the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter near the Lydian capital of Sardis in 261 BC. He freed Pergamon, and greatly increased its territories. He established garrisons, such as Philetaireia, in the north at the foot of Mount Ida, which was named after his adoptive father, and Attaleia, in the east, to the northeast of Thyatira near the sources of the river Lycus, which was named after his grandfather. He also extended his control to the south of the river Caïcus, reaching the Gulf of Cyme. He minted coins with the portrait of Philetaerus, who was still depicting the Seleucid king Seleucus I Nicator in his coins.
Pausanias wrote that the greatest achievement of Attalus I (reigned 241–197 BC) was his defeat of the Gauls, by which he meant the Galatians, Celts who had migrated to central Asia Minor and established themselves as a major military power. Several years later the Galatians attacked Pergamon with the help of Antiochus Hierax, who rebelled against his brother Seleucus II Callinicus, the king of the Seleucid Empire and wanted to seize Anatolia and make it his independent kingdom. Attalus defeated the Gauls and Antiochus in the battle of Aphrodisium and in a second battle in the east. He then fought Antiochus alone in a battle near Sardis and in the Battle of the Harpasus in Caria in 229 BC. Attalus won a decisive battle and Antiochus left to start a campaign in Mesopotamia. He gained control over Seleucid territories in Asia Minor north of the Taurus Mountains. He repulsed several attempts by Seleucus III Ceraunus, who had succeeded Seleucus II, to recover the lost territory.
In 223 Seleucus III crossed the Taurus, but was assassinated. Achaeus assumed control of the army. Antiochus III the Great then made him governor of Seleucid territories north of the Taurus. Within two years he recovered the lost territories and forced Attalus within the walls of Pergamon. However, he was accused of intending to revolt and to protect himself he proclaimed himself king.
In 218 BC Achaeus undertook an expedition to Selge, south of the Taurus. Attalus recaptured his former territories with the help of some Thracian Gauls. Achaeus returned from his victorious campaign in 217 BC and hostilities between the two resumed. Attalus made an alliance with Antiochus III, who besieged Achaeus in Sardis in 214 BC. Antiochus captured the city and put Achaeus to death in the next year. Attalus regained control over his territories.
The Attalids became allies of Rome during the First Macedonian War (214–205 BC) and supported Rome in subsequent wars. Attalus I, who had helped the Romans in the first war, also provided them with assistance in the Second Macedonian War (200–197 BC).
Before he became king, Attalus II was a military commander. In 190 BC he took part in the Battle of Magnesia, which was the final victory of the Romans in the war against the Seleucids. In 189 BC he led the Pergamene troops which flanked the Roman Army under Gnaeus Manlius Vulso in the Galatian War. In 182-179 BC, he was at war with Pharnaces I of Pontus. He won victories and gained some territory. He acceded to the throne in 159 BC. In 156-54 BC he made war against Prusias II of Bithynia with the help of the Romans. In 154 BC he was also assisted by Ariarathes V of Cappadocia, who provided troops led by his son Demetrius. Attalus expanded his kingdom and founded the cities of Philadelphia and Attalia. In 152 BC the two kings and Rome helped the pretender Alexander Balas to seize the Seleucid throne from Demetrius I Soter. In 149 BC, Attalus helped Nicomedes II Epiphanes to seize the Bithynian throne from his father Prusias II.
The last Attalid king, Attalus III died without issue and bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic in 133 BC. The Romans were reluctant to take on territory in Asia Minor and did not take charge of the kingdom. Aristonicus, claimed to be the illegitimate son of Attalus III, assumed the dynastic name of Eumenes III, claimed the throne, instigated a rebellion and in 132 BC "occupied Asia, which had been bequested to the Roman people and was supposed to be free." In 131 BC Rome sent an army against him which was defeated. The Romans defeated Eumemes III in 129 BC. They annexed the former kingdom of Pergamon, which became the Roman province of Asia.
In the interior of the Pergamon Altar there is a frieze depicting the life of Telephus, son of Herakles. The ruling dynasty associated Telephus with its city and used him to claim descent from the Olympians. Pergamon, having entered the Greek world much later than its counterparts to the west, could not boast the same divine heritage as older city-states and so had to cultivate its place in Greek mythology retroactively.
Known as the “Hellenistic Period”, it lasted from the death of Alexander in 323 BC until 31 BC, when Roman troops conquered the last of the territories that the Macedonian king had once ruled.
Following Alexander's death in 323 BC. His generals Ptolemy, Antigonus, Parmenion, Cassander, and Seleucus engaged in a bitter struggle to carve out personal kingdoms from Alexander's conquests. After 40 years of war, three major dynasties were settled on.
• Alexander the Great and his successors • Hellenistic civilization • Government and warfare • Society and economy
The Hellenistic World 1
Alexander the Great and his Successors
Alexander, king of Macedon, invaded the Persian empire in 334 BCE with an army composed of troops from all over Macedonia and Greece. Ten years later he had completed the conquest of this empire, and more; he had even brought parts of India under his rule.
After Alexander’s untimely death in 323 BCE, his empire immediately began to fall apart as his generals fought each other for supremacy. By 300 BCE, the empire had broken into three main pieces, each under one of Alexander’s generals. Macedonia was under Antigonus; a vast territory stretching from Asia Minor to India had fallen to Seleucus; and Egypt was the fief of Ptolemy. These three generals founded major kingdoms which would be ruled by their descendants for several generations. Around and between them, smaller kingdoms were ruled by other dynasties, and many of the old Greek cities had regained their independence (in theory at least).
The Hellenistic period was brought to an end by the rising power of Rome. The first Hellenistic kingdom to fall to Rome was Macedonia, in 168 BCE; the final one was Egypt, in 31 BCE. Hellenistic culture, however, was to last much longer; and its impact can be felt down to the present day.
The city-state (polis) had been the defining feature of Greek civilization, and one of the most notable features of the period is that Alexander and his successors founded numerous Greek-style cities right across the Middle East, as far as Afghanistan and India.
Each city was a self-governing community so far as local affairs were concerned; each had its gymnasium, temples, theatres, stoa (public square), town council and other institutions of a Greek city-state. They were intially populated by Greeks and Macedonians – either veterans of the conquest armies, or immigrants – brought in in their thousands to bolster the new regimes. Soon many local people moved in as well, many adopting the lifestyles of the colonists.
Some of these cities became very large indeed by the standards of the period, especially Alexandria in Egypt, Antioch in Syria, and Ephesus and Pergamum in Asia Minor. These and many smaller cities became centres for the diffusion of Greek language and culture throughout the vast region. Even ancient cities of Asia Minor and Syria such as Sardis, Tyre, and the Philistine cities of Palestine, gradually became Greek in language, culture, institutions and architecture.
Within the wide Hellenistic world, many people of all races, particularly the upper classes, came to speak and read Greek. Amongst more humble members of society, at least in the cities, koine, “the common tongue”, a kind of colloquial Greek, spread. This enabled people from widely different locations and backgrounds to communicate with one another. People, goods and ideas travelled easily from city to city, and from kingdom to kingdom.
Non-Greek peoples, if not completely absorbed into Hellenistic culture, were profoundly influenced by it. For example, the Jews, who by this time were to be found in all major cities of the Middle East as well as in their Judaean homeland, translated their scriptures into Greek at this time, and Greek ideas became embedded in the Jewish faith.
Cultural influences were by no means one way, and alien elements were grafted onto Greek ways. The Ptolemies of Egypt portrayed themselves as pharaohs; the Indo-Greek kings of Bactria were patrons of Buddhism; Egyptian cults spread throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean worlds, as did mystery cults from Mesopotamia and Iran. Babylonian astronomy reached its peak, and Babylonian astrology exerted a strong influence on Greek thought. Many Hellenistic rulers embraced local practices of divine kingship and were worshipped as living gods, a thing which would have appalled earlier generations of Greeks.
It must be remembered, however, that for the majority of people in the Middle East, the farmers in the countryside, Hellenistic civilization remained an exotic, foreign plant. Greek language and culture was mostly confined to the cities. Rural populations retained their traditional ways of life, along with their native languages and cultures.
Government and warfare
Before Alexander the Great’s conquests, the Greek world had been divided into hundreds of small city-states, mostly governed as republics. Now, the much expanded sphere of Greek civilization was dominated by several large and powerful kingdoms.
The major Hellenistic kingdoms had their origins quite simply as armies dominating large territories, whose commanders became the kings of new states. The officers became the ruling class, and the rank and file became a small, privileged minority living in strategically-placed colonies to keep the native majority in check.
Given these origins, it is hardly surprising that the kings were primarily military rulers, with all other considerations of state subordinated to the needs of their armies. These kingdoms were autocracies, with power centralised upon the monarch and his court.
At first Greeks and Macedonians virtually monopolized the structures of power. With the passage of time men of local origin were admitted into the higher circles, but only after they had become Greek in culture and outlook. In all Hellenistic courts Greek was the official language, and Greek culture was lavishly patronized (see below). This was true even in those smaller kingdoms which had royal families of non-Greek origin.
Despite being centres of Greek civilization, however, in their display of power these courts owed more to Persian or Egyptian antecedents than anything in the world of classical Greece. Subjects did obeisance before the thrones, and kings soon took to expecting divine honours from their subjects. The kingdoms’ territories divided into provinces under royal governors called, as under the Persian empire, satraps, who had immense power within their satrapies.
The autocracy of the kings and the rule of the satraps was modified to some extent by the existence of the self-governing Greek-style cities within all the Hellenistic kingdoms. Nevertheless they were expected to show the king their loyalty by paying him the tribute he demanded, and also by according him divine honours. In some cases a military garrison was stationed in them, or nearby, and royal officials supervised the city magistrates in their duties.
Such was the situation in the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean and stretching eastwards throughout the Middle East. In the western Mediterranean, things were different. Hundreds of Greek city-states in Greece, Sicily, southern Italy and the coasts of Gaul and Spain continued to maintain their independence, much as they had before Alexander the Great’s time. They operated in a transformed environment, however. In the new world of big, predatory kingdoms, these small states could not take their independence for granted. Leading cities like Athens and Sparta tried (often unsuccessfully) to play one big kingdom off against another. The smaller city-states tended to form alliances with each other, conceding large parts of their individual sovereignty in order to ensure their joint protection against their more powerful neighbours. The Archaian and Aetolian Leagues were the best known of these.
Throughout the Hellenistic period, the various states, large and small, were engaged in continuous conflict with one another. Monarchs spent a great deal of their time on campaign, and it was seen as part of their role to lead their armies on the field of battle. They were accompanied by an inner circle of aristocrats called “companions”, who dined and drank with the king in peace and war and who acted as his advisors and lieutenants. This was an ancient Macedonian practice which all the Hellenistic kings followed.
Hellenistic armies differed from those of the classical age of Greece in several major respects. Firstly, they were on the whole much larger. The armies were now supported by the resources of large kingdoms, not small city-states, so that they could be composed of many more troops.
Secondly, they were no longer composed of citizen-soldiers doing military service during the fighting season and returning home in time for the harvest. Armies were now made up of full-time professional soldiers. Armies would keep the field all year round and fight long campaigns far from their bases.
The core of these armies were made up of Macedonian or Greek troops, recruited either from the new cities in Asia and Egypt or from the Greek and Macedonian homelands. The armies also included many troops who were either recruited amongst the native populations of the kingdoms, or who came from certain regions with a particularly warlike reputation. Soldiers from Galatia, in central Asia Minor, were highly regarded, as were Thracians.
Thirdly, Hellenistic armies employed tactics which, while based on classical Greek warfare, had important differences. The Macedonian phalanx, which apparently made its appearance in the days of Alexander the Great’s father, king Philip II of Macedonia, was derived from the Greek hoplite formations of heavy infantry soldiers fighting as one unit; however, they were much larger, and the soldiers were armed with very long pikes with which they charged the enemy. These lethal weapons, deployed en masse and backed up with the weight of hundreds of running men, were difficult to resist by men fighting in smaller, more traditional formations. These infantry phalanxes were supported by much smaller units of heavy cavalry.
Fourthly, the armies had novel additions to them, quite foreign to the older Greek armies. Siege engines, modelled on those of the Persian armies, were staffed by specialist engineers; long-range catapults could hurl heavy projectiles; and in some armies war elephants provided an effective kind of shock cavalry to break up large infantry formations.
Naval warfare also developed at this period. Fleets were composed of more warships, which became larger and heavier, with bigger crews of soldiers, oarsmen and sailors.
Society and economy
Society in the Hellenistic kingdoms of the Middle East was divided into two categories: a small ruling minority made up of people of Macedonian and Greek origin, or of native people who had adopted Greek culture; and the great mass of the people who continued to live in rural villages and who broadly clung to their ancestral way of life. They were engaged in farming or related occupations, and spoke Aramaic, Iranian, Egyptian or some other native language.
The Hellenistic period was a time of economic expansion. New trade routes were opened to the East, especially via the Indian Ocean to India, and thence to South East Asia. Long-distance trade was eased by the use of an international coinage based on the gold and silver standards which had their origin in Athens.
Some older Greek Mediterranean cities, such as Syracuse, Corinth and Ephesus, saw their commerce gain new overseas markets which Alexander the Great’s conquests had opened up. Other cities of non-Greek heritage, such as Tyre and Babylon, became key commercial hubs in this new Greek-speaking world.
New foundations such as Pergamum in Asia Minor, Antioch in Syria, and above all Alexandria in Egypt, which especially prospered. Pergamum and Antioch were key centres in the long-distance overland trade which spanned the Middle East. Alexandria was the gateway to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean trade, and to the African trade down the Nile Valley.
The old religion of classical Greece, with its pantheon of gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Diana, Athene and Apollo remained the foundational belief-system for the Greeks and Macedonians now scattered around the Middle East, as well as of course for those remaining in their homelands. The new circumstances of the Hellenistic world, however, were bringing Greek religion face to face with the religions of the Middle East, and vice-versa, with interesting results.
The different religions began to mingle to produce a fascinating syncretism. At the simplest level, Greek gods and goddesses were identified with Asian or Egyptian deities with similar attributes, so that such figures as Zeus-Ammon, Aphrodite-Hagne and Isis-Demeter. Some Asian deities, such as Artemis and Cybele, entered mainstream Greek religion in their own right.
More interestingly, the mingling produced newly-minted gods. In Egypt, the worship of Serapis and Isis began to spread, with the Isis cult in particular spreading far and wide throughout the Hellenistic world. This was one of the new “mystery cults” which brought a more personal style of religious experience. Their belief systems revolved around individual salvation in the after life, in a way that the more traditional public religions did not; they also, in some cases, promised wealth and success for their devotees in this life.
The period also saw the rise of ruler-cults. Alexander the Great was worshipped as a god after his death, with his mausoleum at Alexandra becoming a centre of pilgrimage. The Ptolemaic kings of Egypt promoted themselves to the native population as pharaohs in the mould of the great line of Egyptian kings from the past; as such they assumed the mantle of divine kingship that went with that status. This idea was reinforced by the practice, which the Ptolemies also adopted from the ancient pharaohs, of marrying within their own close family to keep their divine blood pure.
The Seleucid kings also promoted their own cult, in line with the ancient kings of Babylon. These royal cults had their own temples, priests and feast days. To what extent people really believed that their rulers were deities is hard to say, but the worship acted as a public display of loyalty to the regime.
The religious life of the Hellenistic world would not be complete without reference to the communities of Jews which now existed in many cities throughout the Middle East, and which began to spread in Greece as well. Each community was centred on its place of worship, the synagogue, where the worship of the One God, Yahweh, was practiced. Most adherents of the this faith were Jews by birth, but down the generations a small but steady stream of converts reinforced their numbers.
Another religion which affected the very eastern part of the Hellenistic world was Buddhism. It is evident from their coins that some Greco-Indian kings, including the most famous of them, Milinda, were converts to this religion.
Magic and astrology were practiced widely amongst the populations of the Hellenistic world, at all levels of society. From ancient times the Greeks had consulted oracles, used charms and cast spells, but close contact with the complex system of astrology developed by the priests of ancient Mesopotamia had a powerful effect in them, and deeply penetrated their thinking.
The great tradition of Greek philosophy continued during the Hellenistic period. The philosophers of the classical period, especially Plato and Aristotle, continued to be highly influential, but philosophical trends of Hellenistic times were concerned more with the interior life of the individual, and how best he could live the good life.
The period is famous for two new schools of thought, Stoicism and Epicurianism. Stoicism (so named because its founder, Zeno of Citium (355-263 BCE), lectured at the stoa in Athens) taught that a single supreme deity created the universe and designed it to be guided by rational principles. It followed from this that using the senses carefully was the most effective way to discover truth; they were sceptical of other approaches. To live the good life, they believed, >was to submit to the will of God, and to avoid seeking wealth, luxury and status, which would lead only to unhappiness.
Epicurianism was founded by the philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE). He rejected the supernatural altogether, believing that the material universe was all there is. He argued that intellectual pursuits offered the surest avenue to “the good life”, free from pain. The pursuit of wealth and status could never satisfy.
Another influential school of philosophy, which had been founded in the 5th century BCE but which gained prominence now, was Cynicism, founded by Antisthenes (c. 455-360 BCE). Cynics believed that happiness could only come by virtue based on knowledge, and that anything that got in the way of this was unhelpful at best, evil at worst. Diogenes of Sinope (c. 412-323 BCE) took Cynicism further by teaching that it was only through the avoidance of comfort that the moral life could be attained.
• Culture: literature, art and architecture • Mathematics, Science and Technology
The Hellenistic World 3
Culture: literature, art and architecture
Amongst modern scholars, especially in the 19th and early 20th century, the Hellenistic period has often been seen as a period of cultural decline after the brilliance of classical Greece. More recently, though, it has been seen as a time when artists, writers and thinkers built on the art, literature and philosophy of the 5th and 4th centuries, but introduced many innovations of their own.
In many ways, the Hellenistic period was a hugely cultured age – almost self-consciously so. Although the Hellenistic kingdoms were essentially military monarchies, their rulers were expected to support culture – Greek culture, that is – and they did so on a lavish scale. Beautiful temples, magnificent monuments, extravagant palaces and amazing sculptures were the result. Athens retained its preeminent reputation as a university town, but enormous libraries, museums and even zoos sprang up in the big new cities of the Hellenistic world, Pergamum, Antioch and above all, Alexandria. These functioned as research institutes and places of higher education. The preservation of past cultural glories was taken very seriously. The Library of Alexandria was said to contain over 500,000 volumes, the library of Pergamum about half that (Pergamon became a major centre of book production, popularizing an early form of paper (parchment) to facilitate this). There were internationally-known libraries and centres of learning in other cities as well, such as Pella and Kos; and the island of Rhodes had a library as well as a famous finishing school for politics and diplomacy, and cities the length and breadth of the Hellenistic world possessed cultural facilities such as gymnasia and theatres: a large theatre with 35 rows has been found in the outer reaches of the Hellenistic world, in Afghanistan.
The massive extension of the Greek-speaking world undoubtedly led to a much expanded demand for reading and dramatic entertainment in Greek. This demand was met by an increasing number of writers: we know of more than 1100 of the Hellenistic period, though of varying ability. Leading names were Theocritus (c. 310-250 BCE), who is considered the father of Greek bucolic poetry; the playwright Menander (342-290 BCE), who founded the New Comedy, with plays dealing with love intrigues and sentimental themes, and Polybius (203-120 BCE), the greatest historian of the era who wrote a 40-volume history of Rome between 221 and 146 BCE, of which 5 volumes survive.
The Hellenistic period also saw the rise of the novel in ancient Greek literature. There is nothing like works such as Daphnis and Chloe, and the Ephesian Tale, in earlier Greek writing, and they would have a major impact on later European fiction.
At the same time as these new productions, the poems, plays and epics of classical Greece retained their popularity
Sculpture and painting
Some of the best-known works of Greek sculpture belong to the Hellenistic period: the Venus of Milo, the Dying Gaul, Laocoon and his Sons, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Artists of the period were less restrained than their predecessors had been. Symmetry and proportion were not striven for in the same way as before. Instead, they were much more adventurous in depicting emotion, humour, everyday life. Painters and sculptures chose subjects taken from all human life, and all social classes. They were concerned with representing how individuals – even poor, old or ugly ones – really felt. Gods, goddesses and heroes become less important in their work, but where they do occur they are shown with human emotions.
These developments in art may have been a reflection of the lesser importance now attached to communal civic life. With large kingdoms and leagues now the norm, the old city-state was no longer the dominant socio-political unit. the shared communal culture may not therefore have been so important, so that artists were free now to focus more on the interior life of the individual. It is significant that, in the religious sphere, this age saw the rise of mystery cults which focussed much more on the spiritual needs of individuals rather than the public rites of the old religion.
Writers of the period leave us in no doubt that painting was alive and well in the Hellenistic world, but of course this art form survives far less well than sculpture.
With the vast expansion of the Greek-speaking world and the rise of extremely wealthy ruling elites came a new magnificence in architecture. Rulers and city councils were trying to impress – and they succeeded. The temple of Zeus at Acragas measured 363 feet long and 183 feet wide. The temples of Artemis at Ephesus, of Artemis at Sardis, and of Diana at Didyma were other impressive structures of the period.
Size was not the only difference between Hellenistic and earlier Greek temples. They were now more highly ornamented than before. This can be clearly seen in the design of columns, such a key element in temple architecture. The earlier Ionic and Doric columns, with their austere simplicity, were replaced by lavishly decorated Corinthian columns.
This new scale and luxuriant design were not limited to religious buildings. The Pharos of Alexandria, a lighthouse which is thought to have been the tallest building in the world for many centuries apart from the Great Pyramids, was said to be almost 400 feet tall; and the Colossus of Rhodes was an enormous statue of the Sun-god Helios which stood guard at one of the busiest harbours of that city. Three of the above-mentioned structures – the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Pharos of Alexandria and the Colossus of Rhodes – were widely regarded at the time as being amongst the Seven Wonders of the World.
The founding of so many colonies brought town planning into a new prominence. Towns were laid out with a symmetry and proportion rarely found in earlier towns.
Mathematics, Science and Technology
Hellenistic science built on the achievements of classical Greek thinkers, but it was enriched by direct contact with the knowledge which had developed in the more ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The city of Alexandria became a major centre of scientific research. The library of Alexandria seems to have had an officially-supported programme of scientific research. The very fact of having so much knowledge gathered together in one place was a huge draw for scholars, and a community of such grew up in the city. One can certainly imagine formal or informal seminars taking place, and ideas being shared and developed. Some scholars were given government salaries, and a zoo, and probably also a plant collection, was maintained for the study of the natural world. One naturalist, Theophrastus (371-287 BCE), developed a system for plant classification.
The Hellenistic period saw two of the greatest Greek mathematicians, Euclid (c. 325 – 265 BCE), whose work Elements of Geometry was used as a standard textbook in geometry until the 19th century, and Archimedes, who developed a range of geometrical theorums and is widely considered the greatest mathematician of the ancient world. Most famously he discovered the “Archimdes” principle, concerned with how bodies float.
The Hellenistic period saw major advances in astronomy. Hipparchus (c. 190–c.120 BCE), building on the work of the Babylonians, worked out the length of the solar and lunar years with precision; Aristarchos of Samos (c.310-c.230 BCE) developed a heliocentric view of the solar system; and Apollonius of Perga (c. 262-c.190 BCE) investigated the motions of the Moon and the Sun, and was the first to apply the words “ellipse”, “parabola” and “hyperbola” to their relevant phenomena. Eratosthenes (c.276-c.195 BCE) has been called the “father of Geography”: he measured the circumference of the Earth to within 1500 miles, and also accurately calculated the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and possibly the distance of the Earth from the Sun (the fact that the earth was a sphere was common knowledge in the Hellenistic world). He also created the first map of the world, with parallels and meridians based on the geography available to him.
In terms of geographical knowledge, the Hellenistic period saw the bounds of the known world extended by adventurous travellers, who sent back information on their findings. India became known to Greek travellers, and Greek navigators, probably tapping into local knowledge, discovered that the monsoon winds were crucial to sailing the Indian Ocean. Direct trade between India and the Greek-speaking world began soon after. The North Sea was sailed, and the islands of Britain were circumnavigated.
Medicine was dominated by the Hippocratic tradition, with its emphasis on careful observation and rigorous documentation of symptoms. The Hellenist period saw new advances under Praxagoras of Kos (born c. 340 BCE), who theorized that blood travelled through the veins, Herophilus of Chalcedon (335–280 BCE), who was the first to base his conclusions on dissection of the human and animal bodies, and his student Erasistratus (304 – 250 BCE), who explained the workings of the aortic and pulmonary valves of the heart, and noted the differences between the sensory and motor nerves. Works on herbal remedies were also written during this period.
Archimedes is credited with designing several innovative machines, such as the “Archimedes screw”, for pumping water, compound pulleys and huge grappling machines for fending off warships. Other technological developments of the Hellenistic period included surveying instruments (later used to good effect by the Roman army), a water clock and water organ, and a piston pump. One of the most remarkable inventions was the Antikythera mechanism (150–100 BCE). This was a 37-gear machine for calculating the motions of the Sun and Moon, including lunar and solar eclipses. These were apparently predicted on the basis of astronomical observations made by the Babylonians.
The period thus saw a series of ingenious inventions, but few if any had a major impact on society at large.
Finally, in Macedon the Antigonid dynasty ruled the smallest division of Alexander's Empire and had the most troubles from the start. The first founder of the Antigonid Dynasty was Antigonas, who gained control of Asia Minor after Alexander’s death. He attempted to reunite the empire under his own rule and declared himself king, but he was defeated and killed in 301 BC.
After numerous battles with neighboring kingdoms and losses to Seleucus, the Antigonid Dynasty ended up hemorrhaging most of Asia Minor (Anatolia) and was considerably reduced in size.
The Pergamon Altar is a monumental construction built during the reign of king Eumenes II in the first half of the 2nd century BC on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient Greek city of Pergamon in Asia Minor.
The structure is 35.64 metres wide and 33.4 metres deep; the front stairway alone is almost 20 metres wide. The base is decorated with a frieze in high relief showing the battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods known as the Gigantomachy.
Date: ca. 270–250 BC
Dimensions: H. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Classification: Stone Sculpture
Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, The Bothmer Purchase Fund, Malcolm Hewitt Wiener, The Concordia Foundation and Christos G. Bastis Gifts and Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.66
This monumental head gives an impression of sovereign calm and power, even though the veil that once covered the top and back of the head is now missing. Although the features are cast in a thoroughly classical style typical of the late fourth century BC, the face is stamped with enough individuality to identify it as a portrait. In all probability, it represents a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, that succession of Macedonian Greeks who ruled Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC until the annexation of Egypt by Rome and the suicide of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC. Most recently, the head has been identified as Arsinoe II, who ruled together with her brother, Ptolemy II, from 278 BC until her death in 270 BC. Not only was the queen part of a dynastic ruler cult during her life, she was also transformed into an independent deity by her brother after her death. She was worshiped as an Egyptian goddess in association with Isis and also separately as a Greek goddess, with her own sanctuaries and festivals. This strongly idealized head, which resembles classical images of Hera and Demeter, was probably associated with the latter cult.
Reign 305/4-282 BC (Ptolemaic dynasty) Predecessor Alexander IV Successor Ptolemy II Personal details Born c. 367 BC, Macedon Died January 282 BC (aged 84–85), Alexandria, Egypt Spouses Artakama, Eurydice, Berenice I Children With Thaïs (mistress): Lagus, Leontiscus, Eirene With Eurydice: Ptolemy Keraunos, Meleager, Unknown third son, Ptolemais, Lysandra With Berenice I: Arsinoe II, Philotera, Ptolemy II Philadelphus Parents Lagus or Philip II of Macedon (father);
Arsinoe (mother) Relatives Menelaus (brother)
Capital Alexandria Common languages Greek (official), Egyptian (common) Religion Ancient Greek religion, ancient Egyptian religion Government Hellenistic monarchy Pharaoh
• 305–283 BC Ptolemy I Soter (first)
• 51–30 BC Cleopatra VII (last) Historical era Classical antiquity
• Established 305 BC
• Disestablished 30 BC Currency Greek Drachma Preceded by
Late Period of ancient Egypt Succeeded by
Directed and edited by Phillip Oerton. Narrated by Oli Rae-Jeyson. Images researched by Imani Daley and Oli Rae-Jeyson. Created as part of the digital storytelling seminars of the Hellenistic world module @warwickuni.
The fourteen kings of this dynasty were all called Ptolemy and are numbered by modern historians I to XV (Ptolemy VII never reigned). A remarkable aspect of the Ptolemaic monarchy was the prominence of women (seven queens named Cleopatra and four Berenices), who rose to power when their sons or brothers were too young. This was almost unique in Antiquity. Another intriguing aspect was the willingness of the Ptolemies to present themselves to the Egyptians as native pharaohs. This was less unique: the Seleucid dynasty that reigned the Asian parts of Alexander's empire did the same.
The Ptolemaic Empire at the end of the third century, c. 210 BC.
Although Ptolemy I had refused the regency after the death of Perdiccas, he aimed at more than Egypt alone. In the last years of the fourth century, he managed to seize Coele Syria, which is more or less equivalent to modern Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and southern Syria (and included the small Jewish state around Jerusalem). The possession of this area was, however, hotly contested: several Syrian wars were fought to defend it against the claims of the Seleucids. At first, Egyptian power was great: Cyprus, several Aegean islands, parts of Asia Minor, and parts of Thrace belonged to the Ptolemaic empire.
📹 Misunderstood Moments in History — Cleopatra’s Egypt (VİDEO)
Misunderstood Moments in History — Cleopatra’s Egypt (LINK)
The rich history of ancient Egypt is often reduced to nothing but Pharaohs and slaves in the desert. Today we will be bringing to life the fascinating tale of the Ptolemaic Dynasty and its most famous ruler, Queen Cleopatra!
Büyük İskender’in generallerinden Ptolemi I’in soyundan gelen Mısır kraliçesi Kleopatra anadili Koine Yunancası olan bir Makedon idi.
Ölümü ile Helenistik dönem sona erdi.
The view from Cleopatra's private residence and palace on the island of Antirrhodes in the port of Alexandria. The palace no longer exists as it now lies beneath the waves.
Cleopatra VII ascended the Egyptian throne at the age of eighteen upon the death of her father, Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos. She reigned as queen "philopator" and pharaoh with various male co-regents from 51 to 30 BC when she died at the age of 39.
In 58 BC, Cleopatra presumably accompanied her father Ptolemy XII during his exile to Rome, after a revolt in Egypt allowed his eldest daughter Berenice IV to claim the throne. The latter was killed in 55 BC when Ptolemy XII returned to Egypt with Roman military assistance. When Ptolemy XII died in 51 BC, he was succeeded by Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIII as joint rulers, but a falling-out between them led to open civil war.
Plutarch, in the “Life of Antony” written a century after the great romance, said of Cleopatra:
“Her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her.”
“But the contact of her presence, if you lived with her, was irresistible; the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching. It was a pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice ...”
🎨 “The Triumph of Cleopatra” (“Cleopatra's Arrival in Cilicia”)
“The Triumph of Cleopatra” (“Cleopatra’s Arrival in Cilicia”) (W)
The Triumph of Cleopatra, also known as Cleopatra's Arrival in Cilicia and The Arrival of Cleopatra in Cilicia, is an oil painting by English artist William Etty. It was first exhibited in 1821. During the 1810s Etty had become widely respected among staff and students at the Royal Academy of Arts, in particular for his use of colour and ability to paint realistic flesh tones. Despite having exhibited at every Summer Exhibition since 1811 he attracted little commercial or critical interest. In 1820 he exhibited The Coral Finder, which showed nude figures on a gilded boat. This painting attracted the attention of Sir Francis Freeling, who commissioned a similar painting on a more ambitious scale.
The Triumph of Cleopatra illustrates a scene from Plutarch's Life of Antony and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, in which Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, travels to Tarsus in Cilicia aboard a magnificently decorated ship to cement an alliance with the Roman general Mark Antony. An intentionally cramped and crowded composition, it shows a huge group of people in various states of undress, gathering on the bank to watch the ship's arrival. Although not universally admired in the press, the painting was an immediate success, making Etty famous almost overnight. Buoyed by its reception, Etty devoted much of the next decade to creating further history paintings containing nude figures, becoming renowned for his combination of nudity and moral messages.
How the Battle of Actium Changed the World?
The end of the Roman Republic
The beginning of the Roman Empire
The end of the Ptolemaic Egypt
The end of the Helenistic Period
The beginning of the Roman Period
The Battle of Actium —
Mark Antony and Cleopatra against former ally Octavian
Antony and Cleopatra on one side with a fleet totaling 500 warships
Octavian on the other with almost 1,000
The Battle of Actium was fought in the waters off Greece.
It ended in the complete obliteration of Antony and Cleopatra’s forces.
Antony and Cleopatra were chased down by Octavian. They both committed suicide instead of being captured.
Octavian went to Egypt and executed Cleopatra’s children by Antony as well as Julius Caesar’s one and only son.
Octavian's victory enabled him to consolidate his power over Rome and its dominions. He adopted the title of Princeps (“first citizen”) and some years later was awarded the title of Augustus ("revered") by the Roman Senate. This became the name by which he was known in later times. As Augustus, he retained the trappings of a restored Republican leader, but historians generally view this consolidation of power and the adoption of these honorifics as the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
The alliance among Octavian, Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, commonly known as the Second Triumvirate, was renewed for a five-year term in 38 BC. However, the triumvirate broke down when Octavian saw Caesarion, the professed son of Julius Caesar and Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, as a major threat to his power. This occurred when Mark Antony, the other most influential member of the triumvirate, abandoned his wife, Octavian's sister Octavia Minor. Afterwards he moved to Egypt to start a long-term romance with Cleopatra, becoming the de facto stepfather to Caesarion. Such an affair was doomed to become a political scandal. Antony was inevitably perceived by Octavian and the majority of the Roman Senate as the leader of a separatist movement that threatened to break the unity of the Roman Republic.
Despite a victory at Alexandria on 31 July 30 BC, more of Antony's men deserted, leaving him with insufficient forces to fight Octavian. A slight success over Octavian's tired soldiers encouraged him to make a general attack, in which he was decisively beaten. Failing to escape on board a ship, he stabbed himself in the stomach upon mistakenly believing false rumors propagated by Cleopatra herself claiming that she had committed suicide. He did not die at once, and when he found out that Cleopatra was still alive, he insisted on being taken to the mausoleum in which she was hiding, and died in her arms. She was shortly afterwards brought to the palace and vainly attempted to move Octavian to pity.
Cleopatra killed herself on 12 August 30 BC. Most accounts say she put an end to her life by the bite of an asp conveyed to her in a basket of figs. Octavian had Caesarion killed later that month, finally securing his legacy as Caesar's only 'son'.
Octavian’s victory at Actium gave him sole and uncontested control of "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea, i.e., the Roman Mediterranean) and he became “Augustus Caesar” and the "first citizen" of Rome. This victory, consolidating his power over every Roman institution, marked the transition of Rome from Republic to Empire. Egypt's surrender following Cleopatra's death marked the final demise of both the Hellenistic Period and the Ptolemaic Kingdom, turning it into a Roman province.
The Death of Cleopatra
🎨 The Death of Cleopatra by Guido Cagnacci, 1658
The Death of Cleopatra by Guido Cagnacci, 1658 (W)
The Musaeum or Mouseion at Alexandria (Ancient Greek: Μουσεῖον τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας), which included the famous Library of Alexandria, was an institution founded by Ptolemy I Soter or, perhaps more likely, by his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus. This original Musaeum ("Institution of the Muses") was the home of music or poetry, a philosophical school and library such as Plato’s Academ, also a storehouse of texts. It did not have a collection of works of art, rather it was an institution that brought together some of the best scholars of the Hellenistic world, analogous to a modern university. This original Musaeum was the source for the modern usage of the word museum.
The Greek geographer Strabo described the Musaeum and Library as richly decorated edifices in a campus of buildings and gardens.
"The Mouseion is also part of the palaces, possessing a peripatosand exedra and large oikos, in which the common tableof the philologoi, men who are members of the Mouseion, is located. This synodos has property in common and a priest in charge of the Mouseion, formerly appointed by the kings, but now by Caesar." — Strabo
The Mouseion featured a roofed walkway, an arcade of seats, and a communal dining room where scholars routinely ate and shared ideas. The building was filled with private study rooms, residential quarters, lecture halls, and theaters.
Once the largest library in the ancient world, and containing works by the greatest thinkers and writers of antiquity, including Homer, Plato, Socrates and many more, the Library of Alexandria, northern Egypt, is popularly believed to have been destroyed in a huge fire around 2000 years ago and its volumous works lost.
Ptolemy was the son of Arsinoe of Macedon by either her husband Lagus or Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander. Ptolemy was one of Alexander's most trusted companions and military officers. He had been an intimate friend of Alexander since childhood.
The Royal Library of Alexandria or Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Mouseion, which was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. The idea of a universal library in Alexandria may have been proposed by Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled Athenian statesman living in Alexandria, to Ptolemy I Soter, who may have established plans for the Library, but the Library itself was probably not built until the reign of his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The Library quickly acquired a large number of papyrusscrolls, due largely to the Ptolemaic kings' aggressive and well-funded policies for procuring texts. It is unknown precisely how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, but estimates range from 40,000 to 400,000 at its height.
The following scholars are known to have studied, written, or performed their experiments at the Musaeum of Alexandria.
Nineteenth century artistic rendering of the Library of Alexandria by the German artist O. Von Corven, based partially on the archaeological evidence available at that time.
Established probably during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC). Location: Alexandria, Egypt.
Items collected: Any written works of any kind. Size: Estimates vary; Livy says that it possessed roughly 400,000 scrolls at the time of the fire of Julius Caesar, perhaps equivalent to roughly 100,000 books. Staff: Estimated to have employed over 100 scholars at any given time when it was at its height.
The Ptolemaic rulers intended the Library to be a collection of all knowledgeand they worked to expand the Library's collections through an aggressive and well-funded policy of book purchasing. They dispatched royal agents with large amounts of money and ordered them to purchase and collect as many texts as they possibly could, about any subject and by any author.Older copies of texts were favored over newer ones, since it was assumed that older copies had undergone less copying and that they were therefore more likely to more closely resemble what the original author had written. This program involved trips to the book fairs of Rhodesand Athens.According to the Greek medical writer Galen, under the decree of Ptolemy II, any books found on ships that came into port were taken to the library, where they were copied by official scribes. The original texts were kept in the library, and the copies delivered to the owners. The Library particularly focused on acquiring manuscripts of the Homeric poems, which were the foundation of Greek education and revered above all other poems.The Library therefore acquired many different manuscripts of these poems, tagging each copy with a label to indicate where it had come from.
Edward Parsons has analyzed the Caesar theory in his book The Alexandrian Library and summarizes the sources as follows:
A final summary is interesting: of the 16 writers, ten — Caesar himself, the author of the Alexandrian War, Cicero, Strabo, Livy (as far as we know), Lucan, Florus, Suetonius, Appian, and even Athenaeus — apparently knew nothing of the burning of the Museum, of the Library, or of Books during Caesar's visit to Egypt; and six tell of the incident as follows:
Seneca the Younger (49 C.E.), the first writer to mention it (and that nearly 100 years after the alleged event), definitely says that 40,000 books were burned.
Plutarch (46-120 C.E.) says that the fire destroyed the great Library.
Aulus Gellius (123-169 C.E.) says that during the "sack" of Alexandria 700,000 volumes were all burned.
Dio Cassius (155-235 C.E.) says that storehouses containing grain and books were burned, and that these books were of great number and excellence.
Ammianus Marcellinus (390 C.E.) says that in the "sack" of the city 70,000 volumes were burned.
Orosius (c. 415 C.E.), the last writer, singularly confirms Seneca as to number and the thing destroyed: 40,000 books.
Of all the sources, Plutarch is the only one to refer explicitly to the destruction of the Library. Plutarch was also the first writer to refer to Caesar by name. Ammianus Marcellinus' account seems to be directly based on Aulus Gellius because the wording is almost the same. The majority of ancient historians, even those strongly opposed to Caesar politically, give no account of the alleged massive disaster.
📹 What really happened to the Library of Alexandria? (VİDEO)
What really happened to the Library of Alexandria? (LINK)
The stele was erected after the coronation of King Ptolemy V and was inscribed with a decree that established the divine cult of the new ruler. The decree was issued by a congress of priests who gathered at Memphis. The date is given as "4 Xandicus" in the Macedonian calendar and "18 Meshir" in the Egyptian calendar, which corresponds to March 27, 196 BC.
After six lines of preview on the Nubayrah Stele, the decree: "....Eirene, daughter of Ptolemy priestess of Arsinoe, the lover of her father; day this Decree, being the directors (superintendents) of services (?)....", the Priests Decree:)
(Start 0 before list) (Summary of the Priests)
A–Directors of Services, the Prophets-(hidden things)..., the Priests who go in the holy shrine to "robe the gods"-(statues), Scribes of the Gods, Sages of the 'House of Life', (the Per-Ankh)-(per-House, the House of Life, the Library, the storing of the "secret, priest scrolls")
B–Priests, arriving from the regions- (South and North, Upper and Lower Egypt temples) on honoring assumption of kingship by Ptolemy V, "they went into sanctuary of Memphis [and] behold they spake:
Ptolemy V Summary
A–Ptolemy and Wife Arsinoe-(Arsna) did great things, for Horus-Lands, of All People-(under his control), "being like a God, son of a gods, II," (his ancestry), .."the semblance-(likeness) of Horus", son of Isis, son of Osiris, with giving heart, supplied silver, great quantities Grain for sanctuaries, supplied "precious objects" for quieting of Egypt, ..establishing sanctuaries (of South and North–Upper and Lower Egypt).
B–Gifts to Soldiers, in his authority, according to their rank.
Citizen taxes remitted
A–Taxes of Nobles, that concerned Pharaoh, remitted
B–Others, absolved completely.
C–Made Army (Soldiers), and Citizens "comfortable" in his period of sole Kingship.
Tax Arrears and Pardons
A–Taxes on Egyptians, and Foreigners remitted.
B–Pardoned prisoners (from "long-ago 'incarcerations'").
Offering to Gods, Silver & Grain, (yearly) to temples, (and their land holdings)(all types), and gods of the "plantation lands", of the nomes, to continue. All possession lands, all kinds, to remain in possession.
A–Priesthood taxes not to increase.
B–Priests (of 'hourly-course duties' in temples) with Annual journey to Memphis-(Wall of Alexandria), released from journey.
Byssus cloth made for the Pharaoh's house, 2/3 remitted.
A–Things overdue for 'long time', restored (made "beautiful"-Nfr).
B–Restored Customs, (as Perfect, in the past)
C–Gave "height of Happiness"- (Restored Peace) to citizens as did God "Thoth, Great, Great"
(not in Nubayrah Stele)-(from Demotic)-Revolt of citizens (the region that rebelled), citizens allowed to return to their homeland.
A–Infantry-(Army), Cavalry-(horseman, etc), and Ships to drive back, those who came against Egypt from the 'Sea Coast' as well as those from the "Great Green"-(Mediterranean Sea)-(Green-papyrus stem)
B–Gave Silver, Grains (great Amounts) to quiet "Horus-lands" and "Egypt".
Took Siege against Lycopolis
A–People, citizens had transgressed "the Ways"
B–Blocked up canals (for water, growing food?)
D–Set up Infantry at canals. Conquered "district"-(conquer: kheb-nef-two whips with shen ring)
E–Made a great Massacre (of the citizens)
F–(Punishes the Leaders)
G–Gathered soldiers, captured Leaders, ("at their head, they led astray the nomes, they pillaged the "Horus Lands"-(temple properties), they transgressed the way of "His Majesty")
H–Father August (god Ra) granted: Leaders be brought to White Wall (Memphis); Rebels: "slaying by placing [them] upon stake[s]"- (branch)-(= to the crucifying, forerunner to events)-(earlier people had been immersed in hot oil)
A–Remitted Tax Arrears.
Gave temples, Money(monies), (Silver-gold + Mace, the ligatured two hieroglyphs mean "silver", or "money"), and gave them Grains.
B–Byssus Cloth Production-(Tax) remitted. (Past Byssus owed, Remitted)
C–5 Grain Bushels on temple aroura lands remitted. Likewise the temple aroura Vineyards.
Endowments to Temples of Apis and Mnevis
A–Plus the animal burials
B–Provisions for the animal temples, Festivals conducted, Burnt Offerings, (animals) for slaughter, drink offerings (libations), and all things (everything) "customary", and the best for temples, and everything, large quantities, of Egypt, (provided) "according to what [is] in the laws" - (laws: hepu, uses the H, reed shelter)
Gold and Silver and Grain, large quantities, everything, for "Temple of Apis"-(Hapy's temple); restored temple, (claim of its greatness, and God thankful)
(And Lastly) Set up Temples, Chapels, and Altars
A–The gods and goddesses rewarded Ptolemy V by giving him: "victory, might-(Nekh-t-"branch (hieroglyph)", etc)(Nike: Goddess of Victory), life-(Ankh), Strength, health, and everything Good, to the extent of them etc. for him, and his children, for ever."
The completed accomplishment list is then followed by And a Happening Good [may there be]
The list of rewards given by the gods and goddesses is also referencing: A.U.S. (Life, Dominion, Health), commonly translated, or transcribed as Life, Prosperity, Health. It is an acronym, and commonly followed the reference to "Pharaoh, aus". (i.e. Pharaoh, life, dominion, health), in Egyptian: "Pharaoh, ankh, wedja, seneb". –(or "ankh, utcha, senbi")
The list of rewards
The list of 8 rewards is preceded by:
"With Fortunate Happening !"(may Good Luck attend this)
Priests agree to increase honors to Ancestors (Ptolemy IV & III)
A–Set up Statue-(wood)-(in Shrine, gold) to Ptolemy V, Title: "Avenger of Baq-t"-(Egypt)-(Avenger: cross-ndj (hieroglyph)-(a cross)–(a "grinding mill", to reduce to pellets, powder))
B–Statue with Sword Royal of Victory, etc.
C–Honor Statues 3 times per day
(long reward)-Create Shrine (for statue); Uraeii-(cobras) on shrine, Pschent crown, with Payyrus Clusters-(two types), Mut-Vulture–on–Basket-(basket (hieroglyph)) and Uraeus–on–Basket....the meaning thereof: the Lord of the Two Crowns Illumineth the Two Lands–(Upper and Lower Egypt)
(long reward)-Celebrate Festival, (each month)-Celebrate the day of Ptolemy V birth, and "Day of Accession"-to throne; using: burnt offerings, (incense, food), poured libations, all customs for festivals, (and mostly done in temples?)
Five Day Festival, annual, beginning of month "Thoth"-(tutelary god of Scribes); Garlands on people's heads, festal altars, libations poured, and "all customs, etc"
Priests given title: "Priest of the God "Manifested"-(legs-forward (hieroglyph)), "Lord of 'Benefits' "–(Lord-Beauty,Beauty,Beauty); record on Documents, and engrave upon ring for each priest: "Priest of the god appearing-(manifesting), lord of benefits"-(beauty,beauty,beauty)
Seleucia (305-240 BC)
Antioch (240-63 BC) Languages Greek (official), Persian, Aramaic Religion Olympianism, Babylonian religion, Zoroastrianism Government Monarchy Basileus
• 305-281 BC Seleucus I (first)
• 65-63 BC Philip II (last)
Historical era Hellenistic period
• Wars of the Diadochi 312 BC
• Battle of Ipsus 301 BC
• Roman-Seleucid War 192-188 BC
• Treaty of Apamea 188 BC
• Maccabean Revolt 167-160 BC
• Annexed by Rome 63 BC
Succeeded by Province of Syria
The Seleucid Empire became a major center of Hellenistic culture – it maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated, mostly in the urban areas. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece. Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece halted abruptly in the early 2nd century BC after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Seleucid attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands. Having come into conflict in the East (305 BC) with Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire, Seleucus I entered into an agreement with Chandragupta whereby he ceded vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan and offered his daughter in marriage to the Maurya Emperor to formalize the alliance.
Seleucus I Nicator (c. 358 BC - September 281 BC; Ancient Greek: Σέλευκος Α΄ ΝικάτωρSéleukos Α΄ Nikátōr; "Seleucus the Victor") was one of the Diadochi. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of the territory in the Near East which Alexander had conquered.
Seleucus' wars took him as far as India, where, after two years of war (305-303 BC), he was defeated by the armies of the Maurya Empire and made peace by marrying his daughter to king Chandragupta, whereupon he was rewarded a considerable force of 500 war elephants, which would play a decisive role against Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC and against Lysimachus at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. Seleucus' victories against Antigonus and Lysimachus left the Seleucid dynasty virtually unopposed in Asia and in Anatolia. However, Seleucus also hoped to take control of Lysimachus' European territories, primarily Thrace and Macedon itself. But upon arriving in Thrace in 281 BC, Seleucus was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus, who had taken refuge at the Seleucid court with his sister Lysandra. The assassination of Seleucus destroyed Seleucid prospects in Thrace and Macedon, and paved the way for Ptolemy Ceraunus to absorb much of Lysimachus' former power in Macedon. Seleucus was succeeded by his son Antiochus I as ruler of the Seleucid empire.
Seleucus founded a number of new cities during his reign, including Antioch (300 BC) and in particular Seleucia on the Tigris (c. 305 BC), the new capital of the Seleucid Empire, a foundation that eventually depopulated Babylon.
The Seleucids fictitiously claimed that Apama was the alleged daughter of Darius III, in order to legitimise themselves as the inheritors of both the Achaemenids and Alexander, and therefore the rightful lords of western and central Asia.
In 294 BC, prior to the death of his father Seleucus I, Antiochus married his stepmother, Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. His elderly father reportedly instigated the marriage after discovering that his son was in danger of dying of lovesickness. Stratonice bore five children to Antiochus: Seleucus (he was executed for rebellion), Laodice, Apama II, Stratonice of Macedon and Antiochus II Theos, who succeeded his father as king.
On the assassination of his father in 281 BC, the task of holding together the empire was a formidable one. A revolt in Syria broke out almost immediately. Antiochus was soon compelled to make peace with his father's murderer, Ptolemy Keraunos, apparently abandoning Macedonia and Thrace. In Anatolia he was unable to reduce Bithynia or the Persian dynasties that ruled in Cappadocia.
and a In 278 BC the Gauls broke into Anatolia,victory that Antiochus won over these Gauls by using Indian war elephants (275 BC) is said to have been the origin of his title of Soter (Greek for "saviour").
At the end of 275 BC the question of Coele-Syria, which had been open between the houses of Seleucus and Ptolemy since the partition of 301 BC, led to hostilities (the First Syrian War). It had been continuously in Ptolemaic occupation, but the house of Seleucus maintained its claim. War did not materially change the outlines of the two kingdoms, though frontier cities like Damascus and the coast districts of Asia Minor might change hands.
In 268 BC Antiochus I laid the foundation for the Ezida Temple in Borsippa. His eldest son Seleucus had ruled in the east as viceroy from c. 275 BC until 268/267 BC; Antiochus put his son to death in the latter year on the charge of rebellion. Around 262 BC Antiochus tried to break the growing power of Pergamum by force of arms, but suffered defeat near Sardis and died soon afterwards. He was succeeded in 261 BC by his second son Antiochus II Theos.
Antioch on the Orontes (Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou; also Syrian Antioch) was an ancient Greek city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. Its ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, and lends the modern city its name.
Antioch was founded near the end of the fourth century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals. The city's geographical, military, and economic location benefited its occupants, particularly such features as the spice trade, the Silk Road, and the Royal Road. It eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East. the city was the capital of the Seleucid Dynasty until 63 B.C. when the Romans took control. They made it the seat of the Roman governor. From the early 4th century the city was the seat of the count of the Orient (the title of this vicar of the praetorian prefects), head of the regional administration of sixteen provinces. It was also the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch was one of the most important in the eastern Mediterranean area of Rome's dominions.
The Tyche (Fortune) of Antioch. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Eutychides of the 3rd century BC. (LINK)(LINK2)
The war was the consequence of a "cold war" between both powers, which had started in 196 BC. In this period Romans and Seleucids had tried to settle spheres of influence by making alliances with the Greek minor powers.
The fighting ended with a clear Roman victory. In the Treaty of Apamea the Seleucids were forced to give up Asia Minor, which fell to Roman allies. As a main result of the war the Roman Republic gained hegemony over Greece and Asia Minor, and became the only remaining major power around the Mediterranean Sea.
The Aegean world at the outbreak of the war in 192 BC.
The Peace of Apamea
The battle was disastrous for the Seleucids, and Antiochus was forced to come to terms. Amongst the terms of the Treaty of Apamea, Antiochus had to pay 15,000 talents(450 tonnes) of silver as a war indemnity, and he was forced to abandon his territory west of the Taurus Mountains. Rhodes gained control over Caria and Lycia, while the Pergamese gained northern Lycia and all of Antiochus' other territories in Asia Minor.
The war ended in a settlement resulting in the annexation the Indus Valley region and perhaps Afghanistan to the Mauryan Empire, with Chandragupta securing control over the areas that he had sought, and a marriage alliance between the two powers. After the war, the Mauryan Empire emerged as the dominant power of the Indian Subcontinent.
Date 305-303 BC Location Northwestern India; Chiefly the Indus River Valley Result Decisive Mauryan Victory Belligerents
Seleucid Empire Commanders and leaders
Seleucus I Nicator Strength Maurya Empire ~600,000 Infantry,
~9,000 Elephants Seleucid Empire ~30,000 Cavalry
Chandragupta Maurya's Empire circa 320 BCE. His dynasty would later control the vast majority of India
The main historical sources for this battle are Livy and Appian.
📹 Battle of Magnesia 190 BC Roman-Seleucid (VİDEO)
Battle of Magnesia 190 BC / Roman-Seleucid War (LINK)
Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis
Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis (LINK)
Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis
Sammu-Ramat is thought to have lived around the transition period from the 9th century to the 8th century BCE, with her heyday approximately from 811-806 BCE. She was the wife of one Assyrian King and the mother of the next. In this, Sammu-Ramat is not very different from other powerful women leaders who existed both before and after her. For example, Queen Tiye or Tiy (lived in the 14th century BCE), also gained great power and influence in her country by being an extremely shrewd adviser and asset to her husband (Amenhotep III) and her son (Akhenaten) in Egypt. Though numerous other women reached incredible heights of power in the ancient world, few could match Sammu-Ramat in her most impressive feat. She reigned supreme in her (likely unintentional) creation of a cult of personality that, after death, raised her to godhood and distributed her legend out of Assyria and into neighboring regions.
Sammu-Ramat was made into a widespread legend under the name Semiramis, but even so, the actual living and breathing woman at the heart of it all remains fairly obscure. As her legend and cult grew, her story transitioned from history, to mythology, and eventually resembled a tall-tale. The facts, as far as historians and archeologists have been able to accurately uncover, should be clearly noted before moving from the human Queen Sammu-Ramat, to the mythological goddess, Semiramis. For full disclosure, some deny that Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis are related, but the majority believes that Sammu-Ramat served as either the archetype, or a significant inspiration, of the legendary Semiramis.
Sammu-Ramat began her rise to power at the start of Assyria’s long-awaited ascendance to dominance. She was wed to the Assyrian King Shamshi-Adad V (ruled approximately 823-811 BCE). Her husband ruled in a difficult time; his reign began after a civil war between his own father and brother. The Assyrian Kingdom was not stable, and Shamshi-Adad gladly accepted any advise that Sammu-Ramat provided. Queen Sammu-Ramat gladly took the opportunity to aid and influence the governing of the Assyrian Kingdom. She was reported to have been very active in her husband’s court. She participated in government and religious ceremony, court and even accompanied the Assyrian military on campaigns. The scale of her involvement in these government activities was never described in depth, but most sources imply that she was heavily involved in the governance of Assyria during her husband’s kingship.
Shamshi-Adad died around 811 BCE, and the Assyrian crown passed to the heir, Adad-Nirari III, who would lead an effective rule from 811-783 BCE. In 811, however, Adad-Nirari was too young to govern the kingdom. While the young king matured, Queen Sammu-Ramat was able to seize the position as regent ruler of the Assyrian people. She was able to maintain her authority and keep the kingdom stable until her son took the throne. Most historians propose two possible theories of Sammu-Ramat’s success; the Assyrians either both respected and admired her, or they were deathly afraid of her. The route of admiration and respect seems likeliest based on the facts that Sammu-Ramat was a trusted adviser to the late king, and had maintained a constant presence in court, ceremony and military campaigns.
As a regent, Queen Sammu-Ramat did not dawdle. She had no intention of simply waiting for the young king to grow old enough to rule. No, as far as we can tell, the regent Queen was very active during her period of rule. She reportedly gathered her fighting men and marched successfully against the Medes and the Armenians to her north. She created new roads and started construction on embankments for the Euphrates River near Babylon. She is thought to have funded the creation of at least one new temple, and erected a stela or obelisk. Many other miscellaneous structures and monuments were later attributed to Sammu-Ramat’s mythical incarnation, Semiramis.
Around 806 BCE, King Adad-Nirari III was at an age where he could take on the full responsibility of the Assyrian throne. In his reign, the Assyrian Kingdom continued to grow, following the example of Queen Sammu-Ramat. Under the rule of multiple successive kings, the Assyrians went on to expand their way outward into the Iranian plateau and down towards the Persian Gulf, and also spreading westward into Egypt. The Assyrian Kings did not besmirch Queen Sammu-Ramat’s name; quite the opposite occurred. Her historical regency transformed into a legendary tale of a conquering warrior queen, Semiramis of Assyria.
The mythology of the Assyrian warrior queen, Semiramis, spread all around the eastern Mediterranean. Her story permeated throughout the lands of the extensive Assyrian Kingdom, and moved up through Armenia and other Annatolian peoples to reach the Greek city-states. Numerous writers of antiquity wrote about Semiramis, including Ctesias, Herodotus, Strabo, Polyaenus, Plutarch and Justinus. Even the major Christian writer, Eusebius (263-339 CE), wrote about the legendary warrior queen of Assyria. Her story went on to inspire countless people; some wanted to worship her, and others, like Alexander the Great, wanted to exceed her in conquest. The brief, but admirable, reign of the regent Queen Sammu-Ramat became immortal in the cult and mythology of the warrior queen goddess, Semiramis.
When it is stated that the story of Semiramis was mythological, the statement is accurate; the tale of Semiramis acquired many of the common features found in Greek mythology. Storytellers took the life of Sammu-Ramat, added a divine origin story, increased her conquests, and amplified her sexual activities—the story was a hit, and a legend was born.
The legend of Semiramis began when a fisherman, headed to the water to haul in his daily catch. Instead of wrangling a fish, however, the fisherman found a fish goddess named Derceto. The goddess had somehow earned the wrath of Aphrodite—suffice it to say, Derceto was much more lusty than she would have been in usual circumstances. From the encounter between the fisherman and the fish goddess, Semiramis was born. There is no happy ending for Derceto, however, as mythology often has more tragedy than contentment. Feeling shameful and guilty for what she did under Aphrodite’s spell, Derceto committed suicide shortly after she gave birth to Semiramis.
Yes, Semiramis was alone and abandoned, but do not fret. A flock of doves fluttered to the newborn demi-god, giving little Semiramis comfort, warmth and food. Soon, a group of farmers stumbled upon the baby goddess and the doves relinquished Semiramis into their care. The farmers took the abandoned girl back to their village and raised her as their own. From this point of her myth, Semiramis begins the events that occurred in the life of Sammu-Ramat. A government official found his way to the farming village and instantly wanted to marry Semiramis. She agreed to marry him, and she helped him with his governing duties. Semiramis’ advice proved to be very wise and effective, resulting in her every word and suggestion being trusted and implemented in her husband’s politics.
Eventually, Semiramis, and her husband relocated to the court of the Assyrian King. Unfortunately for her husband, the King, too, wanted to marry the astute goddess. Semiramis’ husband, trapped between love and loyalty, fell into despair and committed suicide. The widowed Semiramis agreed to marry the Assyrian King. She and the King held court jointly, went on military campaigns together and shared the decision of government policy, just as Sammu-Ramat and Shamshi-Adad V seemed to work together as partners. The Assyrian King eventually died, and Semiramis, like Sammu-Ramat, was able to keep power through the respect of the people or the fear of her wrath. Some versions of the legend claim that Semiramis had the Assyrian king executed, which is plausible considering the King’s actions had forced Semiramis’ former husband into suicide.
With the Assyrian kingdom under her control, the legend claims that Semiramis personally went on to conquer the same lands that Sammu-Ramat conquered, as well as the lands historically conquered by King Adad-Nirari III (Sammu-Ramat’s son) and the succeeding Assyrian kings. The legend of Semiramis claims she conquered even more territory than what was held by historical Assyria. From the Assyrian lands in Egypt, her legend claims that she pushed into Libya. From her Persian territory, Semiramis was supposed to have launched a failed campaign against India (a claim known to Alexander the Great while he was in the region). In true Greek god fashion, the legend of Semiramis claims that she slept with many of her soldiers, but had them all executed afterwards, fearing the political ramifications of having a lover.
The military expeditions of Semiramis ended with her failed campaign into India. She returned back to Assyria and died shortly, thereafter. On her deathbed, however, Semiramis did not simply die and decay like a normal mortal. No, in the true fashion of a goddess of antiquity, Semiramis transformed into a dove, and flew away from the world of mortals and into the realm of the divine.
Mortals and Myths
There are immense differences between the historical life of Sammu-Ramat and the Semiramis of legend and myth. Despite the divine origin story, and the exaggerated conquests of land and lust, the legend of Semiramis had at its core the history of Sammu-Ramat—a formidable woman who was able to gain the respect of the Assyrain people, stabilize the Kingdom and usher the Assyrians on their path to becoming an empire. Sammu-Ramat ruled with brilliance and skill in an ancient world where women leaders were few and far between. Queen Sammu-Ramat left the Assyrian Kingdom, and others surrounding Assyria, in a state of bafflement. The only explanation they could find for Sammu-Ramat climbing to such a height in life was that she was descended from gods and, upon death, ascended back to the heavens.
Written by C. Keith Hansley
🎨 Antiochus and Stratonike
🎨 Antiochus und Stratonike
🎨 Antiochus und Stratonike / Theodoor van Thulden (1669).
Antiochus und Stratonike / Theodoor van Thulden (1669)
Antiochus and Stratonica (LINK)
Apama was the daughter of the Bactrian aristocrat Spitamenes, and married to Seleukos by Alexander himself in the mass wedding at Susa in 324 BCE. Seleukos was the only one of the successors of Alexander that kept his Iranian wife during his reign.
Apama was not a silent queen either. Inscriptions from the great sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma show Apama making independent dedications as queen to Apollo, Artemis and Leto. Apama was also mother to the heir to Seleukos I, Antiochos.
It is with Antiochos that the love stories of the early Seleukids take an interesting turn. Seleukos, like Philip (Alexander’s father) and other Hellenistic kings, practiced polygamy. Shortly before Apama’s death, Seleukos married Stratonike, the daughter of Demetrios Poliorketes and a member of a major Macedonian family. Stratonike was much younger than Seleukos, and indeed of an age with his son, Antiochos.
In a beautiful story of love that survives in Plutarch, Appian, Valerius Maximus and Lucian, Antiochos falls in love with Stratonike, his father’s wife. The young man is unwilling to follow his passion and supplant his father. Instead he decides to commit suicide by starving himself. The loyal family doctor, Erasistratos, finds out about the young man’s secret love through observation of the “symptoms” of unrequited passion.
In Plutarch’s words, harkening back to the great archaic poetess, Sappho: “…whenever Stratonike came to see him, as she often did, either alone, or with Seleukos, lo, those tell-tale signs of which Sappho sings were all there in him, – stammering speech, fiery flushes, darkened vision, sudden sweat, irregular palpitations of the heart, and finally, as his soul, was taken by storm, helplessness, stupor and pallor.”
Seleukos loved his son, and in recognition of Antiochos’ love for Stratonike, he divorced Stratonike and married her to Antiochos himself.
🎨 Antiochus and Stratonice / Gaspare Diziani (1689-1767).
Antiochus and Stratonice / Gaspare Diziani (1689-1767) (LINK)
🎨 Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp) (LINK)
Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Antiochus and Stratonice / Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Antiochus and Stratonice, Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp) (LINK)
Until its recent rediscovery, this ambitious history painting had long been considered a lost work by Rubens on account of an enthusiastic account of it given by Sir Joshua Reynolds after he saw it in a private collection in Antwerp. ‘At Mr. Dasch’s’, he wrote after a visit to the collector in 1781, ‘is an admirable picture of Rubens; the story of Seleucus and Stratonice. The languishing air of the son, who is lying on a bed, is eminently beautiful: the whole is well composed’ (J. Reynolds, H. Mount ed., A Journey to Flanders and Holland, op. cit., p. 79). Reynolds was so impressed by the picture that he made a swift compositional sketch of it, thus providing the only visual record of the work until its reappearance almost 250 years later (fig. 1).
While several scholars over the years have taken Reynolds’s word for the attribution, finding the composition ‘perfectly compatible with Rubens’ (E. McGrath, op. cit.), his high opinion of it has not found widespread support amongst today’s scholars now that the original has been unearthed. On stylistic grounds, the painting is certainly very closely linked to Rubens’s output in the mid-1630s. The elegant rendering of Stratonice, clad in shimmering yellow silk, her blond hair braided and adorned with pearls, compares closely to Rubensian female types from the period, such as, for example, the central protagonist in the Rape of the Sabines, (c. 1635; London, National Gallery. While the figure stroking his beard to the left of the composition is a direct quotation from Rubens’s Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism of circa 1618-1630 (Hampton Court, The Royal Collection). Changes to the composition, made clear by visible pentimenti (most notably the re-positioning of the central female) also attest to the inventiveness of the design. Despite its impressive quality and individual character, it has thus far not been possible to attribute the painting with certainty to any of the talented artists who were active in Rubens’s workshop at this time, including Justus van Egmont, Jan van den Hoecke and Theodoor van Thulden. The latter painted a version of this story in a much wider composition (Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 11 November 2008, lot 26).
Although Rubens apparently never treated the subject of Antiochus and Stratonice, this ancient tale of paternal love, recounted by Roman authors such as Valerius Maximus in Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, gained considerable popularity in 17th-century Europe, when it was adapted into numerous operas and novels (W Stechow, ‘“The Love of Antiochus with Faire Stratonice” in Art’, The Art Bulletin, XXVII, 1945, pp. 221-45). The story tells of Prince Antiochus, who fell profoundly in love with his young stepmother Stratonice, and became gravely ill after realising that his passion was hopeless. Lovesick, he decided to starve himself to death. His father, King Seleucus, alarmed by his son’s rapid decline, summoned the court physician Erasistratus. The doctor quickly discerned that the prince was suffering from unrequited love, but did not know the object of Antiochus’s affections. He therefore brought the ladies of the court to the young man’s bedside and observed his reactions. This painting captures the climactic moment when the doctor discovers who has caused the sickness, as the prince’s pulse increases dramatically when Stratonice enters the room. As a result of this realisation, Seleucus, a magnanimous monarch and loving father, ceded both his wife and his throne to his son. The composition, from which Seleucus is seemingly absent, reflects the contemporary development of the subject in literature and theatre, which side-lined the aging king to focus instead on the relationship between the two young lovers who are shown gazing at one another.
This picture was first documented (by Reynolds) in the collection of Mr Dasch in Antwerp in 1781. With the same owner, Reynolds also made note of two Rembrandts, although ‘not his best in style’ (untraced); a Jupiter and Antiope by van Dyck, ‘the same as Lord Coventry’ (possibly the picture now in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, which is a version of the ex-Coventry picture now in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne); and a pair of portraits by Rubens ‘A woman with a black veil and a gentleman’ (untraced). The name Dasch may refer to the Belgian noble family ‘D’assche’, represented in Antwerp at the time of Reynolds’s visit by Maximilien Louis van der Noot de Schoonhoven D’assche, who was born in 1764, making him just seventeen years old at the time. Even though the family of D’assche originates from Brussels, it is known that the grandmother of Maximilien, Catherine Louise de Cottereau, was born in Antwerp.
🎨 Erasistratus The Physician Discovers The Love Of Antiochus For Stratonice / Benjamin West
Erasistratus The Physician Discovers The Love Of Antiochus For Stratonice, Benjamin West
Erasistratus The Physician Discovers The Love Of Antiochus For Stratonice / Benjamin West (American, 1738-1820)
Alexandria on the Oxus Common languages Greek,
Parthian Religion Hellenism,
Hinduism Government Monarchy King
• 256–240 BC
• 145–130 BC
Heliocles I Historical era Antiquity
• Established 256 BC • Disestablished 125 BC Preceded by
Seleucid Empire Succeeded by
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was – along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom – the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC. It was centered on the north of present-day Afghanistan. The expansion of the Greco-Bactrians into present-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan from 180 BC established the Indo-Greek Kingdom, which was to last until around 10 AD.
The Graeco-Bactrian Kingdom — the easternmost region of the Hellenistic world covering Bactria (northern Afghanistan) and lands to the north (known in ancient times as Sogdiana, in present-day Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) — was one consequence of the sojourn through Afghanistan by Alexander the Great, whose army built fortresses and assigned Greek and Macedonian troops and all manner of support staff — from architects and doctors to administrators, artisans, tradesmen, even prostitutes — to remain behind in Bactria and begin to settle in that region during the late 4th century BC while Alexander continued his invasion east to India.
For at least two centuries prior to Alexander's arrival in 330 BC, Bactria had been a prized part of the Achaemenid Empire (559-330 BC) and, before that, the Median Empire (728-559 BC).
Since Greek prisoners captured in the many wars that took place between the Achaemenids and Greeks during the 5th and 4th centuries BC were often exiled to Bactria, the indigenous population of Bactria already included a high percentage of Greeks when Alexander's army arrived there in 329-328 BC.
These battle-hardened Bactrian Greeks, frequently employed by the Acheamenids in major battles and conscripted by Alexander for his own campaigns in the East, formed the backbone of a force that dominated Bactria from the mid-3rd to the second half of the 2nd century BC.
Under the leadership of Alexander's former soldiers and their descendents, the Bactrian Greeks created a Hellenic-inspired kingdom in the heart of Central Asia.
The Greeks' capitol at Bactra (present-day Balkh) included a huge Seleucid-era fortress and Hellenistic-style architecture. Corinthian capitals that once adorned large multi-columned palaces, discovered at Balkh, date from this early period.
Seizing an opportunity provided by the Seleucid dynasty, which asserted nominal dominion over Bactria but was too distracted by wars in Egypt to defend its territories in the East, the Bactrian Greeks achieved independence under Diodotus, the Seleucid satrap (regional governor) of Bactria.
Demetrius was the first Bactrian Greek king to breach the Hindu Kush, the traditional barrier that had long separated the Bactrians in the North and the Indian Maurya rulers to the South. The move across the Hindu Kush occurred around 185 BC, allowing Demetrius to march south through Kabul and Kandahar, battling the Mauryas into Pakistan (where he established a capital at Taxila, where many of Demetrius coins have been found) and onward into India. According to the seventeen-line Hathigumpha ("Elephant Cave") inscription, at Udayagiri, India, purportedly carved circa 157 BC, a Yavana (Greek) king named Demetrius marched his troops into eastern India, possibly as far as the city of Rajagriha before retreating back to the West. Undefeated in battle, Demetrius was given the posthumous title Aniketos ("Invincible") on coins minted by one of his Indo-Greek successors Agathokoles.
In the process, Demetrius carved out an Indo-Greek kingdom at the far eastern edge of the Hellenistic world, which later Greek kings would govern for the next two centuries. [The Indo Greek presence in NW India, N Pakistan and E Afghanistan continued until the last petty principality was absorbed by Scythian nomads around 20 BC.]
Capital Alexandria in the Caucasus (Kapisi/Bagram)
Peukelaotis (Charsadda, Pushkalavati) Common languages Greek (Greek alphabet)
Pali (Kharoshthi script)
(Brahmi script) Religion Hinduism,
Ancient Greek religion,
Zoroastrianism Government Monarchy
King • 180–160 BC
• 25 BC – AD 10
Strato II & Strato III Historical era Antiquity
• Established 180 BC
AD 10 Preceded by Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Succeeded by Indo-Scythians Today part of Pakistan,
The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdomwas an Hellenistic kingdom covering various parts of Afghanistan and the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent (parts of modern Pakistan and northwestern India), during the last two centuries BC and was ruled by more than thirty kings, often conflicting with one another.
The expression "Indo-Greek Kingdom" loosely describes a number of various dynastic polities, traditionally associated with a number of regional capitals like Taxila,(modern Punjab (Pakistan)), Pushkalavati and Sagala. Other potential centers are only hinted at; for instance, Ptolemy's Geographia and the nomenclature of later kings suggest that a certain Theophila in the south of the Indo-Greek sphere of influence may also have been a satrapal or royal seat at one time.
During the two centuries of their rule, the Indo-Greek kings combined the Greek and Indian languages and symbols, as seen on their coins, and blended Greek and Indian ideas, as seen in the archaeological remains. The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art. The ethnicity of the Indo-Greek may also have been hybrid to some degree. Euthydemus I was, according to Polybius,a MagnesianGreek. His son, Demetrius I, founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom, was therefore of Greek ethnicity at least by his father. A marriage treaty was arranged for the same Demetrius with a daughter of the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III (who had some Persian descent). The ethnicity of later Indo-Greek rulers is sometimes less clear. For example, Artemidoros (80 BC) may have been of Indo-Scythian ascendency, although this is now disputed.
Following the death of Menander, most of his empire splintered and Indo-Greek influence was considerably reduced. Many new kingdoms and republics east of the Ravi River began to mint new coinage depicting military victories. The most prominent entities to form were the Yaudheya Republic, Arjunayanas, and the Audumbaras. The Yaudheyas and Arjunayanas both are said to have won "victory by the sword".The Datta dynasty and Mitra dynasty soon followed in Mathura. The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 AD following the invasions of the Indo-Scythians, although pockets of Greek populations probably remained for several centuries longer under the subsequent rule of the Indo-Parthians and Kushans.
Demetrius I (Δημήτριος Α΄) was a Greek king (reigned c. 200-180 BC) of Gandhara. He was the son of the Greco-Bactrian ruler Euthydemus I and succeeded him around 200 BC, after which he conquered extensive areas in what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan, thus creating an Indo-Greek Kingdom far from Hellenistic Greece. He was never defeated in battle and was posthumously qualified as the Invincible (Aniketos) on the pedigree coins of his successor Agathocles. Demetrius I may have been the initiator of the Yavana era, starting in 186-185 BC, which was used for several centuries thereafter.