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CL4056 Kings and Cities


Module Organiser: Dr Shane Wallace
Duration: All Year
Contact Hours: 44 (1 x 2-hr class p.w.)
Weighting: 20 ECTS
Assessment: 2 x 3hr end-of-year examinations.

Overview & Aims:

The Hellenistic period, stretching from the death of Alexander the Great in 323BC to the death of Cleopatra VII of Egypt in 30BC, is marked by the rapid expansion of Macedonian power across the ancient world, from Macedon and Greece, to Egypt, the Black Sea, Afghanistan, and even India. Nonetheless, its core remained the old Greek world of the Aegean and the western Mediterranean. A defining feature of this world is the interaction between the established Greek city-states and the new Macedonian monarchies. This module will study from a number of different angles the nature of the relationship between kings and cities in the Hellenistic period. Epigraphic evidence, namely royal letters and civic decrees, will be of primary importance, but emphasis will also be placed throughout on literary, numismatic, and archaeological material. The rise of these Hellenistic kingdoms has been seen by many scholars to mark the death of the Greek city-state – monarchic power triumphing over civic independence – but this module will explore the development of what was a unique, vibrant, yet sometimes tense relationship between the old Greek cities and the new Macedonian kings, one that integrated cities and kings, civic independence and royal authority, Greek past and Macedonian present.  Topics for discussion will include: the Greek polis; Macedonian kingship; freedom and democracy; royal civic foundations; Hellenism; ruler cult; image and ideology; royal and civic economies; court society.

Prescribed Texts:

  • Austin, M., The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest. A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 2006)
  • Erskine, A. (ed.), A Companion to the Hellenistic World (Malden/Oxford, 2003)
  • Shipley, G., The Greek World after Alexander (London, 2000)

Source Collections

  • Bagnall, R.S. & Derow, P., Historical Sources in Translation: The Hellenistic Period (Malden, 2004)
  • Burstein, S.M., The Hellenistic Age from the Battle of Ipsus to the Death of Kleopatra VII. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 3 (Cambridge, 1985)
  • Harding, P., From the End of the Peloponnesian War to the Battle of Ipsus. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 2 (Cambridge, 1985)
  • Sherk,  R.K., Rome and the Greek East to the Death of Augustus. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 4 (Cambridge, 1984)

Introductory Reading:

  • Dmitriev, S., City Government in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor (Oxford, 2005)
  • Habicht, C., Athens from Alexander to Anthony (Harvard, 1997)
  • Ma, J., Antiochos III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor, 2nd edition(Oxford, 2002)
  • Shipley, G., The Greek World after Alexander (London, 2000)
  • Walbank, F., The Hellenistic World (Cambridge, 1993)
  • Learning Outcomes:

    On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:

    • Knowledge of the sources, literary and non-literary, for the early Hellenistic period.
    • Ability to examine, engage with, and integrate different types of source material.
    • Critical judgement on the strength and weaknesses of our sources and ability to analyse them in their context.
    • Awareness of the nature of, and debates surrounding, Macedonian and Hellenistic kingship.
    • Sophisticated awareness of the nature of power in the Hellenistic world and the relationship between cities and kings.
    • Understanding of the inter-cultural dynamics of the period.
    • Ability to develop the skills necessary for studying ancient history.

Last updated 15 August 2013