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2228R: [seleukids] Tagber: Seleucid Study Day IV: Seleucid Royal Women: Roles and Representations

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  • carmelo di nicuolo
    Apr 30, 2013
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      Dear Colleagues,

      I am particularly interested about the subject of this Study Day IV on Seleucid Royal Women. I would really appreciate, if you could keep me informed about the publication of the proceedings.

      With my Best Regards,
      Carmelo Di Nicuolo

      --- Mar 30/4/13, Carl Sandler Berkowitz <berkowitz@...> ha scritto:

      Da: Carl Sandler Berkowitz <berkowitz@...>
      Oggetto: [seleukids] Tagber: Seleucid Study Day IV: Seleucid Royal Women: Roles and Representations
      A: seleukids@yahoogroups.com
      Data: Martedì 30 Aprile 2013, 21:46


      Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:14 PM

      Subject: Tagber: Seleucid Study Day IV: Seleucid Royal Women: Roles and



      Classical Studies at McGill University, Montreal; Waterloo Institute for

      Hellenistic Studies (WIHS)

      20.02.2013-23.02.2013, Montreal / Quebec

      Bericht von:

      Altay Coskun, Classical Studies, University of Waterloo, Ontario; Alex

      McAuley, Classical Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

      E-Mail: <acoskun@...>; <alexander.mcauley@...>

      Compared to their contemporaries in Macedon and Egypt, Seleucid queens

      and princesses have hardly begun to fall under the gaze of scholarly

      scrutiny. As Greco-Macedonian women, they were born into the family at

      the head of an empire that spanned dozens of cultures, languages, and

      traditions encompassing territory that extended from western Asia Minor

      to the Indus River. How they impacted the cultures into which they

      married, and were themselves impacted by them, requires far more

      attention. Likewise lacking is a systematic scrutiny of female Seleucids

      in visual and textual media. Thus emerged the theme of the fourth

      meeting of the Seleucid Study Group. Previous meetings in Exeter,

      Waterloo and Bordeaux (2011-12) had fostered research on the early

      Seleucids with the marked attempt to acknowledge the vital importance of

      the Mesopotamian and Persian satrapies besides the better-known western


      The keynote by HANS BECK (Montreal) contextualized the kingdom between

      the contemporary Roman-Mediterranean and Han Chinese Empires, pointing

      out the potential for intercultural exchange through long-distance

      trade. The theme of noble women was further addressed in a

      cross-cultural perspective, which has profoundly altered our

      understanding of the roles of aristocratic women in both societies by

      disclosing their impact on social cohesion. ALTAY COSKUN (Waterloo) then

      illustrated the Seleucids' ability not only to respect local traditions

      in their heterogeneous territories, but also to develop ambivalent modes

      of royal representation that could be perceived as traditional by

      multiple audiences. Although Seleucid royal women functioned within this

      complex interplay of political and cultural communication, powerful

      queens have suffered serious distortions in ancient and modern

      historiography alike.

      Panel 1 on 'The Wives of the Founder Kings' was opened by ANN-CATHRIN

      HARDERS (Bielefeld) with an intriguing illustration of how the persona

      of the wife could be employed to create or modify the image of the male

      ruler - vividly exemplified by North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. Of

      specific interest was the 'invention' of the roles of wives as queens.

      Seleucus was the only Diadoch with a non-Macedonian queen at his side.

      His second wife Stratonice was a more traditional choice - yet Seleucus

      married her off to his own son and heir Antiochus to thus qualify his

      public role. The latter marriage was examined further by ERAN ALMAGOR

      (Beer Sheva, Israel): Stratonice embodied the relation between four

      important kings: her grandfather Antipater, her father Demetrius

      Poliorcetes, and her husbands Seleucus I and Antiochus I. The most

      remarkable event linked with her is Antiochus' infatuation with his

      stepmother, which induced Seleucus to give up Stratonice to his son,

      pronouncing them king and queen of Upper Asia. The many implications and

      the broad reception of this colourful episode were studied behind the

      background of Persian and Greek literary models.

      Panel 2 tried to deconstruct 'Evil Queens' in royal propaganda and

      Hellenistic-Roman historiography. COSKUN studied the various layers in

      the image of Laodice I, first wife of Antiochus II. After rejecting the

      traditional view that she had been repudiated due to Antiochus' second

      marriage with the Ptolemaic princess Berenice, it was shown that her son

      Seleucus II was already co-ruling king when Antiochus died in 246. With

      this, all allegations of her murdering her husband, Berenice, and her

      son were questioned. Next it was demonstrated that Ptolemaic court

      propaganda could not have had an interest in denigrating Laodice. It was

      rather Phylarchus who designed the entirely misleading view that

      Antiochus' bigamy provoked the blood-thirst of Laodice and therewith the

      outbreak of the Third Syrian War. Phylarchus thus created Laodice as the

      prototype of a Seleucid queen who perverted family relations to gain

      power. BRETT BARTLETT (Waterloo) followed with a study on Cleopatra

      Tryphaena, the sister-wife of Antiochus VIII Grypus. According to

      Justin, she personally ordered her own sister Cleopatra IV to be torn

      from a temple and killed. The next year, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, the

      husband of Cleopatra IV, sacrificed Tryphaena to the shades of his wife.

      Justin never shies away from serious distortions in his account to

      construe cruel deaths as fitting punishments.

      Panel 3 dwelt on 'Missing Queens' in our lacunose evidence. KYLE

      ERICKSON (via Skype from Lampeter, UK) started by introducing into the

      royal dossiers which explicitly institute priesthoods for Seleucid

      women, a pattern that contrasts with the absence of queens in the lists

      of priests for Seleucid kings. In conclusion, there did not seem to have

      been a single coherent model of central control over cults for the

      Seleucid monarchs even after the reign of Antiochus III. SHEILA AGER

      (represented by Stacy Reda) & CRAIG HARDIMAN (Waterloo) explored the

      absence of Seleucid female portraits prior to Laodice IV. In the few

      images of queens that do survive, Cleopatra Thea and Cleopatra Selene

      are surrounded with more Ptolemaic ties. Others, like Laodice, show a

      distinctive lack of the multiple royal or divine attributes. This might

      suggest a different role for Seleucid (royal) women when compared to

      other Hellenistic kingdoms, reflecting a closer relationship to

      traditional Near Eastern royal systems.

      Two 'Powerful Queens' were the object of panel 4. ALEX MCAULEY

      (Montreal) scrutinized the political background of Apama of Cyrene: a

      daughter of Antiochus I, she was married in an alliance that confirmed

      both Cyrene's defection to the Seleucid banner, and the claim to

      kingship of her husband Magas. In 250, she steered the course of her

      natal house against her nuptial one as she replaced Ptolemy III with the

      Antigonid Demetrius 'the Fair' as the fiancé of her daughter Berenice

      (II). The scandalous intrigue of her affair with her son-in-law

      recounted in Justin was called into question; more plausibly, Apama's

      power basis was identified amongst the numerous rival factions of

      Cyrene. ADRIAN DUMITRU (Bucharest) shed further light on Cleopatra

      Selene. As a daughter of Ptolemy VIII, she first became the wife of her

      brother Ptolemy IX, then married Antiochus VIII-X in sequence, before

      ruling over parts of Syria with her son Antiochus XIII. Starting as a

      pawn in the hands of her mother Cleopatra III, she found herself

      negotiating her claims over Egypt with the Roman Senate before perishing

      in her fight against Tigranes.

      Panel 5 revealed where to look for 'Exemplary Queens'. FEDERICOMARIA

      MUCCIOLI (via Skype from Bologna) studied the public representation of

      Seleucid Royal Women. A particular focus was on the language of virtue

      within the "Darstellung" and "Inszenierung" of the private and public

      lives of the royal couple especially as reflected in epigraphic

      epithets. Hereby, the influence of and on other kingdoms was considered.

      MONICA D'AGOSTINI (Bologna & Milan) focused on Laodice, wife of the

      rebel Achaeus. Polybius' account conveys more information on Laodice

      than on most other Seleucid women. Instead of the usual negative

      features typical of Hellenistic women, Laodice is styled as example of a

      loyal and brave companion. Particularly in the siege of Sardis, the

      portrait of the would-be royal couple recalls Homer's Hector and

      Andromache. The group discussed to what extent Polybius' episode could

      be taken as a source for the historical Laodice, for a role model of a

      Seleucid queen, or simply as a means to reinforce the emotional effect

      on the readers of Achaeus' tragedy.

      In panel 6, 'Dynastic Intermarriage and Persian Heritage' RICHARD

      WENGHOFER and DEL JOHN HOULE (Nipissing, Ontario) defended W.W. Tarn's

      claim of kinship between the Seleucids and the Diodotid and Euthydemid

      dynasties of Greco-Bactria and India. Literary and onomastic evidence

      along with numismatics seem to imply that these ties were secured mainly

      by marital alliances. It was further argued that those areas remained

      effectively 'Seleucid' until the reign of Eucratides I (ca. 170-145 BC)

      thanks to marriage alliances. The central role played by Seleucid

      princesses transformed these vassal states effectively into matrilineal

      monarchies. ROLF STROOTMAN (Utrecht) approached the impact of Seleucid

      and Achaemenid descent in eastern royal dynasties through the

      Ahnengalerie of Antiochus I of Commagene. After the Seleucid Empire had

      collapsed as a world power in the 140s, new claims to 'Great Kingship'

      were made by the Parthian Arsacids, the Mithradatids of Pontus, the

      Ptolemies, and most conspicuously by Antiochus I of Commagene, whose

      house had been bound to the imperial center by intermarriage and kinship

      ties. The same Antiochus famously displayed his royal ancestors in the

      sanctuary on Nemrut Dagi. STROOTMAN argued, that the idea of universal

      monarchy had always been pivotal to Seleucid rule and that successive

      claims to empire were based on matrilineal descent.

      For the sake of comparison, a few 'Other Queens' were considered in

      panel 7. RYAN WALSH (Waterloo) discussed Plutarch's descriptions of

      three Galatian women (mor. 257e-258a): Chiomara, wife of Ortiagon;

      Kamma, wife of Sinatos; Stratonice, wife of Deiotarus II. It was

      specified that illustration of philandria rather than of queenly virtues

      was at the heart of these stories. The discussion further pointed out

      that those women were justified in transgressing gender-defined

      boundaries because male relatives had fallen short of their moral

      obligations. JULIA WILKER (Philadelphia) shifted the focus to the women

      of the Hasmonean Dynasty who remain conspicuously absent from

      1-2Maccabees. Mainly based on Josephus, Wilker successfully reclaimed

      the roles of Hasmonean women as guarantors of dynastic succession,

      advisors to their husbands and sons, and political players in their own

      right. Their distinctive Jewish identity compelled them to distance

      themselves from the Seleucids in respect of the queen's public role, but

      also due to the religious barrier against marriage alliances.

      With 'Queens in Action', panel 8 attempted a more systematic approach.

      ROBERTA SCHIAVO (Pisa & Bordeaux) investigated dowries and gifts from

      the husband kings, especially estates. Epigraphic dossiers from both the

      western and eastern parts of the empire were scrutinized, complemented

      by evidence referring to other contemporary women. The perspective was

      further broadened by adducing Achaemenid and Roman referents. GILLIAN

      RAMSEY (Toronto) scrutinized the role of (early) Seleucid queens in

      diplomacy. Beginning with Apama's support of Demodamas of Miletus'

      Sogdian expedition, they participated in diplomatic activities which

      consolidated and extended Seleucid authority. In doing so, they utilized

      connections to their birth families and homes, gifts from their own

      personal wealth, cultic patronage and associations, as well as

      friendships with different parties. This paper aimed to categorize

      diplomatic patterns rooted in their filial and affinal relationships on

      the one hand, and in their individual agency on the other.

      In a remarkably concise way, this conference has not only enhanced and

      synthesised our knowledge of Seleucid Royal Women, but also addressed

      new paths to be pursued in Hellenistic and more broadly Classical

      Studies wherever concerned with dynastic rule and gender roles. Drawing

      on the concluding remarks of BETH CARNEY (Clemson, SC) and the ensuing

      general debate, we would like to identify the following vectors of

      further exploration:

      1) The experimental character of the creation of kingly roles and the

      negotiation of legitimacy under the Successors needs to be re-addressed

      with a specific attention to the design and modification of queenly


      2) The expectations related to dynastic intermarriage and the sometimes

      unintended effects need to be revisited systematically, starting with

      the marriage alliances forged by Antipater. This does not, however, mean

      that we must assume intermarriage always served the same function.

      3) The multiple roles of queens as daughters, wives, sisters, and

      mothers of kings (or queens) urge us to reconsider concepts of dynastic

      loyalty and identity.

      4) A comprehensive revision of the particular agency of aristocratic and

      royal women is required that appreciates their particular potential as

      mediators between family members, dynasties, but also subjects, soldiers

      and representatives of foreign nations.

      5) More work is to be done on the representation of Hellenistic royal

      women in literary sources, with due attention to motives known from

      epics and tragedies as well as to the schematizing effect of serving as

      either positive or (mainly) negative role models in Hellenistic-Roman


      Conference overview:

      Hans Beck (McGill, Montreal): Noble Women in China, Rome, and in-between

      Altay Coskun (WIHS, Waterloo): Themes and Methods of the Seleucid Study


      Ann-Cathrin Harders (Bielefeld): Making of a Queen - Seleucus I Nicator

      and His Wives

      Eran Almagor (Beer Sheva, Israel): Seleucid Love and Power: Stratonice


      Altay Coskun: Layers of Propaganda and the Representations of Laodice I

      in Hellenistic-Roman Historiography

      Brett Bartlett (Waterloo): The Fate of Cleopatra Tryphaena, or: Poetic

      Justice in Justin

      Kyle Erickson (Lampeter, UK): Where are the Wives? Royal Women in

      Seleucid Cult Documents

      Sheila Ager& Craig Hardiman (WIHS): Seleucid Female Portraits: Where Are


      Alex McAuley (McGill, Montreal): Princess & Tigress: Apama of Cyrene

      Adrian Dumitru (Bucharest): A Look at Cleopatra, the Moon and Her two


      Federicomaria Muccioli (Bologna): The Language of Virtues for Seleucid

      Queens. A Study on the Hellenistic Context

      Monica D'Agostini (Bologna & Milan): The Good Wife: Laodice of Achaeus

      Richard Wenghofer (Nipissing ON): Seleucid Blood in Bactrian and

      Indo-Greek Genealogy

      Rolf Strootman (Utrecht): Women's Roles in the Transmission of Kingship:

      The Seleucid Ahnengalerie of the 'Great King' Antiochus I of Commagene

      on Nemrut Dagi

      Ryan Walsh (Waterloo): Inversion of the Inversion: the Representation of

      Galatian Queens in Classical Literature

      Julia Wilker (Philadelphia): Women of the Hasmonean Dynasty - Jewish

      and/or Seleucid Features of a New Dynasty

      Roberta Schiavo (Pisa): Queens as Landowners

      Gillian Ramsey (Toronto): The Diplomacy of Seleucid Women

      Beth Carney (Clemson, SC): Feedback and Opening of General Discussion


      [1] Cf. <http://seleucid-genealogy.com/ssg.html> (22.04.2013).

      [2] For information on the publication of the proceedings and the next

      meetings of the Seleucid Study Group, please follow the group's website

      (n. 1).

      URL zur Zitation dieses Beitrages



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