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Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires

The Near East After the Achaemenids, c. 330 to 30 BCE

Rolf Strootman

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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.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Abbreviations
Introduction: Court and empire in the Hellenistic Near East
PART I: SETTING THE STAGE
1. The court as an instrument of power
2. The theater of royalty
3. The royal palace: A stage for royal rituals
PART II: THE COURT AS A SOCIO-POLITICAL SYSTEM
4. The royal household
5. Court society
6. Royal pages
7. Social dynamics
8. Hierarchy and conflict
PART III: CEREMONIAL AND RITUAL
9. Ceremonial and protocol
10. Death and resurrection: Inauguration ritual
11. The royal entry
12. Royal processions: Enacting the myth of empire
Conclusion
Bibliography
The Macedonian dynasties.

About the Author

Rolf Strootman graduated in ancient history and archaeology at the University of Leiden. In 2007 he received his PhD for a study of court culture in the Hellenistic period. He is currently a lecturer at the History Department of the University of Utrecht. His research and teaching focus on empire, monarchical ritual and cultural encounters in the Near East, Iran and Central Asia, and on modern western perceptions of the Middle East.

Reviews

Rolf Strootman tells the fascinating story of the Hellenistic Near East as seen through the eyes of those in power. Theoretically informed and brilliantly written, this is a masterly biography of a political institution.

- Michael Sommer, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg

Strootman emerges as a well-informed author who, moreover succeeds to make his audience (graduate students and scholars, but also – I believe – well informed reader) follow him in his search for the mechanisms of power in Hellenistic empires.

- Jan P. Stronk, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Classical Journal

In summary it is a highly informative work, an important contribution to the Hellenistic courts that brings the key issues together. (translated from German)

- Sabine Müller, Innsbruck, Historischen Zeitschrift Heft

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