19- Epirus

Epirus- a small kingdom around what is now Albania- has been mentioned a few times on the show, but has always been on the political fringes. As such, It’s been covered in nowhere near as much detail. So, join me on the third of our divergence episodes as we delve into the chaotic and complex history of Epirus. To those of you who have enjoyed hearing about the wars, infighting and shifting alliances of the Diadochoi, you’ve come to the right place…

Sources for this episode: 1-13) Wikipedia articles for: Aeacidae, Neoptolemus, Molossus (son of Neoptolemus), Molossians, Alcetas I, Neoptolemus I, Alexander I, Olympias, Alcetas II, Neoptolemus II, Pyrrhus I, Deidamia I of Epirus, Antigonus II (online) [Accessed 23/02/2021]. 14) 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Neoptolemus. 15) The Editors, Encyclopaedia Britannica (2020), Pyrrhus (online) [Accessed 21/02/2021].

Quick note from me: I mention at one point that Neoptolemus’ death is natural, but what I should have said is that my sources haven’t indicated how he died. Also, I think I pronounced Aeacus wrong; I believe it should be said more like ‘a-AA-kuss’ or similar. The same then probably goes for Aeacides…

Also, In case I didn’t make it clear, Olympias was the daughter of Neoptolemus I.

A 1902 map showing the ancient region of Epirus. By Heinrich Kiepert – Heinrich Kiepert: Atlas antiquus. 12. Aufl. Berlin 1902, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3476554

Echoes of Alexander 2- A Shadow over India

India would be one of the last bastions of the Hellenistic kingdoms, which would survive for forty years after the collapse of Ptolemaic Egypt. However, the shadow Alexander the Great cast over the subcontinent would extend further than mere territory. From religion to cosmology, the influence left by the Yavanas would be profound…

Sources for this episode: 1) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Alexander the Great (online) [Accessed 25/03/2021]. 2) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Bodhisattva (online) [Accessed 25/03/2021]. 3) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Menander I (online) [Accessed 25/03/2021]. 4) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Milinda Panha (online) [Accessed 25/03/2021].

A statue of the Buddha in the fused Greco-Buddhist style, from around the 1st to 2nd centuries CE. Apparently, this style may have been influenced by Greek portrayals of Apollo. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89740. Image cropped from the original.

18- The Sands of Time

As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, the moment when Seleucus re-entered Babylon marked the start of the Seleucid era- otherwise known as the ‘Anno Graecorum’ or ‘Year of the Greeks’. But when exactly did this start getting used? Why were there two different ways of measuring it? And how long did its use last for?

Sources for this episode: 1) Anson, E. M. (2006), The Chronology of the Third Diadoch War. Phoenix 60(3/4): 226, 235. 2) Strootman, R. (2013), The Encyclopaedia of Ancient History (1st edition), p.473- 475. Hobokon, New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 3) Strootman, R., Encyclopaedia Iranica (2015), Seleucid Era (online) [Accessed 20/01/2021]. 4) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (online) [Accessed 19/02/2021]. 5) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Seleucid era (online) [Accessed 03/02/2021]. 6) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Seleucus I Nicator (online) [Accessed 10/01/2021].

A 1665 painting showing Alexander the Great entering into Babylon. Similarly, it was the entry of Seleucus I into Babylon that started the Seleucid era. By Copy after Epigonos, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1226315

17- Founder of Cities

Even among the successors, Seleucus has a reputation as a prolific city-builder; in all, he founded approximately 31 cities, including sites such as modern day Antioch and Laodicea, both situated in the Levant. While some of these places started out as attempts to swell the ranks of his armies, they would end up becoming heartlands of his empire…

Sources for this episode: 1) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Seleucis of Syria (online) [Accessed 31/01/2021]. 2) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Seleucus I Nicator (online) [Accessed 10/01/2021]. 3-10) Wikipedia articles for ‘Antioch’, ‘Seleucia Pieria’, ‘Laodice in Syria’, ‘Apamea, Syria’, ‘Seleucid empire’, ‘Seleucid army’ and ‘Greeks in Syria’ (author and date unknown, online) [accessed 11/02/2021]. 11) Siebert, J., Encyclopaedia Britannica (2019), Seleucus I Nicator (online) [Accessed 11/02/2021]. 12) The Editors, Encyclopaedia Britannica (2019), Antioch (online) [Accessed 11/02/2021]. 13) The Editors, Encyclopaedia Britannica (2019) Seleucid empire (online) [Accessed 11/02/2021].

An excerpt from a 4th century map showing Alexandria (not the one in Egypt), Antioch and Seleucia. By Unknown author – http://atlantides.org/downloads/prm-2011-03/TPPlace3503.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57441132
A section from the same map showing Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Babylon. By Unknown author – http://atlantides.org/downloads/prm-2011-03/TPPlace3503.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57437214

16- Seleucus I ‘the Gifted’

As promised, this episode is going to be a recap of our narrative so far, stretching from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 until the death of Seleucus in 281. Along the way, I give you my two cents on the man, as well as the new, shiny, 21st-century epithet. It’s time to review the life of the man known to contemporaries as Seleucus Nicator- Seleucus the Victor. Then, as promised, we’ll be into special episode territory for a while to allow you all some time to breathe before we jump back in with Antiochus I on May 8th.

Sources for this episode are the same as before, with the addition of: 1) Lendering, J., Livius (2002, modified 2020), Diadochi 1: The Babylon Settlement (online) [Accessed 06/01/2021]. 2) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown), Eumenes (online) [Accessed 07/02/2021, used for his date of death] 3) Author unknown, Wikipedia (date unknown, Philip III of Macedon (online) [Accessed 07/02/2021].

Quick aside- I’ve recently found out that the conference of Triparadeisus is placed at either 321 or 320 BCE depending on the source. Grainger, Kosmin and Lendering seem to agree on 320, while Bevan and the Wikipedia article on the matter say 321. I’ve left it in because the date is disputed, but just know that there is another option.

A statue of Seleucus I from Roman times, copied from a Greek statue. By Allan Gluck – Allan Gluck, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85414285 No changes have been made.
A silver coin of Seleucus I. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=163576