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By Paul J. Kosmin

The Seleucid Empire (311-64 BCE) was once not like something the traditional Mediterranean and close to jap worlds had visible. Stretching from present-day Bulgaria to Tajikistan--the bulk of Alexander the Great's Asian conquests--the state encompassed a territory of outstanding ethnic, spiritual, and linguistic variety; but it didn't comprise Macedonia, the ancestral fatherland of the dynasty. The Land of the Elephant Kings investigates how the Seleucid kings, ruling over lands to which they'd no ancient declare, tried to remodel this territory right into a coherent and significant space.

Based on contemporary archaeological proof and old fundamental assets, Paul J. Kosmin's multidisciplinary technique treats the Seleucid Empire now not as a mosaic of areas yet as a land unified in imperial ideology and articulated via spatial practices. Kosmin uncovers how Seleucid geographers and ethnographers labored to naturalize the kingdom's borders with India and critical Asia in ways in which formed Roman and later medieval understandings of "the East." within the West, Seleucid rulers became their backs on Macedonia, moving their experience of native land to Syria. by way of mapping the Seleucid kings' travels and learning the towns they founded--an bold colonial coverage that has encouraged the close to East to this day--Kosmin exhibits how the empire's territorial id was once developed at the floor. within the empire's ultimate century, with enemies urgent tougher and crucial energy disintegrating, we see that the very modes in which Seleucid territory have been shaped decided the best way it fell apart.

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The subsequent morning, at sunrise (ἅμα τῷ φωτί), the king’s associates amassed at his tent (συναθροιζομένων τῶν φίλων εἰς τὴν σκηνήν), in line with the tested regimen (κατὰ τὸν ἐθισμόν), and have been astonished to determine at the floor the pretender they inspiration they have been nonetheless besieging; the king’s advisory council then met (καθίσαντος δὲ τοῦ συνεδρίου) to figure out the suitable punishment for Achaeus. obviously, the royal tent functioned either because the king’s nightly sound asleep quarters, with complete attendance of servants and guards, and the sunlight situation for the courtroom rituals of viewers and debate; most likely, the buddies arrived from their very own, lesser tents. this sort of spatial overlap of the monarch’s daily-life regimen and the court’s public ceremonial accurately echoes the multifunctionality of outfitted Hellenistic palaces. eighty of their assembly, Antiochus III and his advisors made up our minds, fi rst, to amputate Achaeus’ extremities (ears, nostril, tongue, lips, fingers) and, after that, to chop off his head and stitch it up in an ass’ pores and skin, and to impale (what used to be left of) his physique on a stake. eighty one The lopping of extremities, a minimum of, seems to have taken position inside of Antiochus’ tent, for Polybius reviews that the most physique of the Seleucid military discovered approximately and had fun over Achaeus’ catch and execution merely after the punishments were infl icted. eighty two a transparent spatial common sense emerges. just like the Achaemenid kings’ royal tent, which functioned because the symbolic middle of the itinerant court docket and through its catch marked a move of power,83 so Antiochus III asserted his monopoly of valid Seleucid kingship through humiliating and disfiguring in his royal tent the pretender who might oust him from it. eighty four The biblical ebook of Daniel bargains one other fascinating illustration of the Seleucid royal tent. Daniel eleven closes with an “end of time” imaginative and prescient, the place the Maccabaean writer leaves the actual old flooring of his vaticinium ex eventu (a description of previous occasions in prophetic mode) to falsely are expecting the demise of Antiochus IV ahead of Jerusalem. eighty five the writer forecasts 160 move that the meleḳ haṣṣafôn (“king of Ṣaphon/the north”—Antiochus IV Epiphanes), having conquered all of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, may go back to the Levant, the place “he shall pitch the tents of his palace (wǝyiṭṭa‘ ’ohāley ’appadǝnô) among the ocean and the attractive holy mountain; but he shall come to his finish without one to assist him. ”86 The noun ’appeden (with the pronominal suffi x), a hapax legomenon within the Bible and infamous crux for historic translators and commentators, 87 derives from the outdated Persian apadāna, that means “palace” or “throne hall”; a similar observe was once utilized to the Hellenistic palace at Seleucia-on-the-Tigris. 88 So, the Jewish apocalyptic metonymically represents the antagonistic presence of the Seleucid court docket and armed forces prior to Jerusalem as a palatial tent-complex. this kind of focalization foregrounds Antiochus IV’s mobility, characterizing him as a stressed monarchin-motion, a seminomadic blemish at the holy panorama, in addition to underscoring the palatial equivalence and ideological centrality of the king’s crusade tent in the army encampment.

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