The oriental context for the end of Greek rule in the Hellenistic Age






The oriental context for the end of Greek rule in the Hellenistic Age

By F.A. Gordon-Kerr

PhD Dissertation, University of Hull, 1981

Introduction: A connected account of the decline of Greek power in the Hellenistic East can be justified nowadays by noting the relative antiquity of available works on the subject when archaeological and numismatic work has continued and has rendered dated such works as those by Bevan and Bouche-Leclerq although still valuable. The excavation of Ai Khanum and Shahr-i-Qumis alone should provoke a reassessment of Seleucid objectives and so of Seleucid history. We are grateful to Getzel Cohen for a recent coherent study of the process of the colonisation movement in these Eastern parts. Recent events in Afghanistan and Iran should encourage historians of the central Asian land mass to study pressures which in the past affected these countries from the north, and in particular to pay attention to the cultural dimension of such contacts. There has been a tendency to omit the Seleucid enterprise from thorough study, and to give Livy the benefit of the doubt in his comment that ‘no power was despised so much by the Romans’. Such omissions and this attitude could be seen as a current emphasis on Hellenism as a Western and not an Eastern phenomenon, thus leaving – quite wrongly in my view – Bactrian and Indian history in the Hellenistic Age to be seen simply as the purview of Indian Historians and Indian History.

This work is an account of Seleucid history from 280 to roughly 100 B.C., with a summary account of the end of Seleucid Rule down to its extinction under Pompey for the sake of completeness. It tries to take in most modern work on the subject in the fields of archaeology, numismatics and literary comment on what scant sources we have. Being an account of Seleucid history it is valid to term the process it records ‘The oriental context for the end of Greek Rule in the Hellenistic Age.’ I do recognise the blurred edges of the Graeco-Macedonian partnership, if it can be called that, and this is discussed, as is the Macedonian-Iranian partnership of Seleucus and Apama.

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