New publication on the theme of court and elites in the Hellenistic Empire. After being available online since 2007, R. Strootman’s PhD thesis finally appears as a book, now in a considerably revised version, and is expected to become a reference for the study of Hellenistic political, social and cultural history. Scholars in Hellenistic religion will find this book of seminal interest for any research approaching Hellenistic religions from a sociological perspective.
Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires. The Near East after the Achemenids, c. 330 to 30 BCE
R. Strootman (Universiteit Utrecht)
This is the first complete study of royal courts in the post-Achaemenid Near East. Rolf Strootman brings together various aspects of court culture in the Macedonian empires of the post-Achaemenid Near East. During the Hellenistic Period (c. 330-30 BCE), Alexander the Great and his successors reshaped their Persian and Greco-Macedonian legacies to create a new kind of rulership that was neither ‘western’ nor ‘eastern’ and would profoundly influence the later development of court culture and monarchy in both the Roman West and Iranian East. Drawing on the socio-political models of Norbert Elias and Charles Tilly, After the Achaemenids shows how the Hellenistic dynastic courts were instrumental in the integration of local elites in the empires, and the (re)distribution of power, wealth, and status. It analyses the competition among courtiers for royal favour and the, not always successful, attempts of the Hellenistic rulers to use these struggles to their own advantage. It demonstrates the interrelationships of the three competing ‘Hellenistic’ empires of the Seleukids, Antigonids and Ptolemies. It casts new light on the phenomenon of Hellenistic Kingship by approaching it from the angle of the court. It covers topics such as palace architecture, royal women, court ceremonial, and coronation ritual.