Tag Archives: Hellenism

Alexander der Große

Müller, Sabine. 2019. Alexander der Große. Eroberungen – Politik – Rezeption. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

Alexander III. von Makedonien (356-323 v. Chr.) gilt als einer der größten Eroberer der Antike. Bereits zu seinen Lebzeiten wurden gezielt um seine Person und Politik Mythen gewoben. Seit der Antike polarisieren die schillernd konstruierten Kunstfiguren, zu denen Alexander stilisiert wurde. Fakten wurden dabei von Fiktionen überlagert. Sabine Müller dekonstruiert diese artifiziellen Images und zeichnet die Politik der historischen Person Alexander nach, der in den Traditionen seiner Dynastie, der Argeaden, stand und auf die politischen Zwänge innerhalb seines expandierenden Reichs achten musste.

Professor Dr. Sabine Müller ist Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Alte Geschichte an der Universität Marburg.

Source: Alexander der Große, Sabine Müller bei Dienst am Buch Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH

Alexander the Great in Persian Tradition

Manteghi, Haila. 2018. Alexander the Great in Persian tradition: History, myth and legend in medieval Iran. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.

Alexander the Great (356-333 BC) was transformed into a legend by all those he met, leaving an enduring tradition of romances across the world. Aside from its penetration into every language of medieval Europe, the Alexander romance arguably had its greatest impact in the Persian language. Haila Manteghi here offers a complete survey of that deep tradition, ranging from analysis of classical Persian poetry to popular romances and medieval Arabic historiography. She explores how the Greek work first entered the Persian literary tradition and traces the development of its influence, before revealing the remarkable way in which Alexander became as central to the Persian tradition as any other hero or king. And, importantly, by focusing on the often-overlooked early medieval Persian period, she also demonstrates that a positive view of Alexander developed in Arabic and Persian literature before the Islamic era. Drawing on an impressive range of sources in various languages – including Persian, Arabic and Greek – Manteghi provides a profound new contribution to the study of the Alexander romances.Beautifully written and with vibrant literary motifs, this book is important reading for all those with an interest in Alexander, classical and medieval Persian history, the early Islamic world and classical reception studies.

About the author:
Haila Manteghi is a lecturer at the University of Munster and recently completed her second PhD on the Persian Alexandrian tradition, at the University of Exeter. Her first PhD, on the same topic, was completed at the University of Alicante, and she has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections.

The Hellenistic Court

Erskine, Andrew, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones & Shane Wallace (eds.). 2017. The Hellenistic court: Monarchic power and elite society from Alexander to Cleopatra. Classical Press of Wales.

Hellenistic courts were centres of monarchic power, social prestige and high culture in the kingdoms that emerged after the death of Alexander. They were places of refinement, learning and luxury, and also of corruption, rivalry and murder. Surrounded by courtiers of varying loyalty, Hellenistic royal families played roles in a theatre of spectacle and ceremony. Architecture, art, ritual and scholarship were deployed to defend the existence of their dynasties. The present volume, from a team of international experts, examines royal methods and ideologies. It treats the courts of the Ptolemies, Seleucids, Attalids, Antigonids and of lesser dynasties. It also explores the influence, on Greek-speaking courts, of non- Greek culture, of Achaemenid and other Near Eastern royal institutions. It studies the careers of courtesans, concubines and ‘friends’ of royalty, and the intellectual, ceremonial, and artistic world of the Greek monarchies. The work demonstrates the complexity and motivations of Hellenistic royal civilisation, of courts which governed the transmission of Greek culture to the wider Mediterranean world – and to later ages.

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Seleucid Research Bibliography, 1870-2017

Strootman, Rolf. 2018. Seleucid Research Bibliography 1870-2017.

The Portrait of a Hellenistic Ruler in the National Museum of Iran

Lindström, Gunvor. 2017. The Portrait of a Hellenistic Ruler in the National Museum of Iran. In  Daehner, Jens M., Kenneth Lapatin, and Ambra Spinelli (eds.), 198-204, Artistry in Bronze: The Greeks and Their Legacy (XIXth International Congress on Ancient Bronzes). Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum; Getty Conservation Institute.

The portrait of a Hellenistic ruler in the National Museum of Iran (inv. 2477) is the most prominent archaeological testimony of the Hellenistic presence in Iran. It shows the spread of Hellenistic largescale sculpture in the regions east of the Tigris River, of which there is otherwise very little evidence. Furthermore, it is one of the few preserved original Hellenistic large-scale bronzes. Nevertheless, this extraordinary piece of art is rarely illustrated in handbooks on Hellenistic sculpture or ruler portraits, and only a few specialists are familiar with this bronze. The head represents a ruler, likely a king of the Seleucid dynasty, which ruled Iran in the third and second centuries BC. But due to the portrait’s intense deformation, the ruler represented could not be identified until now. In August 2015 a project was started with the aim of reconstructing the original facial features. Although this aim has not been achieved, the investigations at the National Museum of Iran have already yielded extraordinary results.

 

HISTORIA I ŚWIAT

The sixth issue of Historia i Świat (2017) has been published. Many papers of this issue are related to our interest:

  • Svyatoslav V. SMIRNOV: Notes on Timarchos’ Iconography: Dioscuri Type
  • Mozhgan KHANMORADI & Kamal Aldin NIKNAMI: An Analytical Approach to Investigate the Parthians Painted Stuccoes from Qal‘eh-i Yazdigird, Western Iran
  • Ilkka SYVÄNNE: Parthian Cataphract vs. the Roman Army 53 BC-AD 224
  • Morteza KHANIPOOR, Hosseinali KAVOSH & Reza NASERI: The reliefs of Naqš-e Rostam and a reflection on a forgotten relief, Iran
  • Gholamreza KARAMIAN & Kaveh FARROKH: Sassanian stucco decorations from the Ramavand (Barz Qawaleh) excavations in the Lorestan Province of Iran
  • Katarzyna MAKSYMIUK: The capture Ḥaṭrā in light of military and political activities of Ardašīr I
  • Michael Richard JACKSON BONNER: A Brief Military History of the Later Reign of Šapur II
  • Patryk SKUPNIEWICZ: The bullae of the spahbedan. Some iconographic remarks
  • Joan ZOUBERI: The role of religion in the foreign affairs of Sasanian Iran and the Later Roman Empire (330-630 A.D.)
  • Tomasz SIŃCZAK: New Russian view on Sassanid Empire. Polemic with book: М. Мочалов, Д. Полежаев, Держава Сасанидов 224 – 653 годы, Москва 2016

Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia

Canepa, Matthew P. 2017. “Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia,” In Richard J. A. Talbert & Fred S. Naiden (eds.), Mercury’s Wings: Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World, 249-272, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This chapter explores the dynamics of cross-cultural communication, primarily among the kingdoms and empires of Western and South Asia after Alexander the Great. This period witnessed the rise, conflict, coexistence and fall of a succession of cross-continental empires, including that of the Seleucids (312-64 BCE) and Mauryas (321-185), as well as powerful regional powers with larger ambitions such as the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Diodotids and Euthymids of Bactria (ca. 25o–ca. 145), Sungas (185-73), and a variety of Indo-Greek kingdoms (ca. 185 BCE–ca. 10 CE). Several new Iranian-speaking elites, including the Parni, Saka, and Yuezhi, descended from the Central Asian steppes and eventually formed the Arsacid, Indo-Scythian, and Kusana empires, respectively. These Macedonian, Indian, and Iranian powers engendered an intensive period of diplomatic interaction and cultural exchange. While this chapter focuses first on peer-polity diplomatic communication, it also explores the relationship between direct, intentional communicative acts and the wider contexts of cross-cultural interaction in which they took place and to which they often contributed.

The Hellenistic Worlds

Michel Balard, Philippe Clancier, Omar Coloru & Gilles Gorre. 2017. Les mondes hellénistiques. Du Nil à l’Indus, Paris: Hachette.

 

The Hellenistic Worlds (323-31 BC) stretch from Anatolia to Indus and from Armenia to Egypt. These territories share the common feature of not belonging to the Greek cultural area and of hosting populations of different origins and cultures. The study of the societies pre-existing the Macedonian conquest provide an important element for the comprehension of the functioning of the new powers, of their structure and administration, and the creation of cultural transfers between communities. The sources corresponding to the area of expertise of each author, and the historiographical debate they engender are at the heart of this manual. After a chronological table, the chapters address issues concerning the administration of these territories, their economy, the role played by local shrines, and cultural aspects.

To see table of contents click here.

Seleukid Royal Women

Seleukid Royal Women is introduced by our guest contributor Khodadad Rezakhani, a Humboldt Fellow at the Institute of Iranian Studies, Free University of Berlin.

Coskun, Altay & Alex McAuley (eds.). 2016. Seleukid royal women: Creation, representation and distortion of Hellenistic queenship in the Seleukid Empire (Historia, Einzelschriften 240). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Khodadad writes:

‘The study of any period of ancient history of Iran away from political history is a welcomed change in scholarship. The arrival of this volume, edited by two of the most prominent scholars of the Hellenistic period and in a framing that embraces the multi-cultural nature of the Seleukid kingship is a most exciting development that needs to be celebrated. It should also be considered as a blue-print for future studies of similar calibre and scope in other periods of the history of the region. Hopefully, the proliferation of such studies would bring the history of “in-between” (to quote the prologue) more to the attention of the general audiences, as well as the scholars, of the ancient world. Perhaps the volume could have benefited from more in-depth studies of the majority of the (non-Greek speaking) areas of the Seleukid domains, a lacuna which is perhaps more a fault of the experts of these non-Greek speaking in-betweens than the erudite editors of the volume’.

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Folly and Violence in the Court of Alexander the Great and his Successors?

Howe, Time & Sabine Müller (eds.). 2016. Folly and Violence in the Court of Alexander the Great and his Successors?. Bochum & Freiburg: Projekt verlag.

The ancient Greco-Roman sources on the history of Alexander III and the Successors contain numerous epi­sodes on diverse forms of Macedonian violence. Viewed from a mocking, moralistic perspective, the Macedonians served as a distorted mirror in which Greeks and Romans asserted their identities. The theme of Macedonian violence was also present in Greek comedy. This volume explores four case studies aiming at the deconstruction of these Greco-Roman topoi. The articles examine images of the Macedonians, Alexander, and Demetrius Poliorcetes analyzing the dimensions and expressions of Greco-Roman bias and its socio-political background.

Table of contents

  • Time Howe & Sabine Müller: “Introduction: Does the cliché suffice?”
  • Sulochana Asirvatham: “Youthful Folly and Intergenerational Violence in Greco-Roman Narratives on Alexander the Great”
  • Matti Borchert: “Between Debauchery and Ludicrousness – Alexander the Great and the Golden Plane Tree”
  • Sabine Müller: “Make It Big: The ‘New Decadence’ of the Macedonians under Alexander in Greco-Roman Narratives
  • Frances Pownall: “Folly and Violence in Athens Under the Successors”
  • The Editors and Contributors