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What makes Alexander Great? His story has captured the imagination of authors, artists, philosophers, and politicians across more than two millennia. He has provided a point of convergence for religious and spiritual thinkers, he has been co-opted as a champion for gender and sexual openness, he represents a paradigm for would-be charismatic dictators (and their opponents), he gives us scientific imperialism and justification for conquistadorial dreaming, and he exemplifies the risks of cultural appropriation. To understand why Alexander resonates so widely across so many different fields of study, interest groups, and media, is an exercise in reception. This Alexander who has captured the imagination is triumphantly equivocal and it is in the plurality of traditions through which this complexity is expressed that his enduring “greatness” lies. The imaginary quality of Alexander is unsurprising because more profoundly than for any comparable individual from classical antiquity, his history is a product of reception from the start: every encounter with Alexander the Great is part of a conversation that depends substantially on accounts and narrative evidence from long after his death, and at the least at one remove from the historians who first and contemporaneously chronicled his life and achievements.



J. F. Healey

Aretas, the name of several kings of the *Nabataeans (Nabataean Aramaic form ḥrtt).

reigned in the early 2nd cent. bce (c.168).

(c.120–96 bce, possibly = the Arab king Herotimus in Justin’s Epitome of Pompeius Trogus) tried to help *Gaza (an important conduit for Nabataean trade) against the attack of Alexander Jannaeus (see hasmoneans), who was defeated by his successor, Obodas I (c.96–85) probably c.93.

‘Philhellen’ (c.84-60/59 bce) also defeated Jannaeus and for some fifteen years occupied *Damascus. He gave refuge to Hyrcanus II in 67 (see hasmoneans) and in 66 besieged Jerusalem, until he was compelled to leave by M. *Aemilius Scaurus (2), who in 62 advanced to Petra but in return for 300 talents of silver recognized Aretas as king of the Nabataeans.


William Nassau Weech, Brian Herbert Warmington, and R. J. A. Wilson

Carthage (Qrtḥdšt ( = ‘New Town’); Καρχήδων; Carthago), a *Phoenician colony and later a major Roman city on the coast of NE Tunisia.According to tradition (Timaeus, FGrH 566 fr. 60) Carthage was founded from *Tyre in 814/3 bce, but no archaeological evidence has yet been found earlier than the second half of the 8th cent. bce. The site provided anchorage and supplies for ships trading in the western Mediterranean for *gold, *silver, and *tin, and soon outstripped other Phoenician colonies because of its position, its fertile hinterland, and its better harbour.Trade was more important to Carthage throughout its history than perhaps to any other ancient state. Initially most of it was conducted by barter with tribes in Africa and Spain, where metals were obtained in return for wine, cloth, and pottery; but early contact with the Greek world is shown by the presence of Attic *amphorae in the earliest levels at Carthage.


Chaeremon of *Alexandria (1), where he held a priesthood: Greek writer on Egypt. He taught the young *Nero. His writings treated Egyptian history, religion, customs, astrology, and hieroglyphic writings. A Stoic viewpoint is visible.


Dorothy J. Thompson

Cleopatra VII (69–30 bce), the final and best known of the Ptolemies, was daughter of *Ptolemy (1) XII (Auletes). On the latter's death in 51 she became queen, alone at first and subsequently with her younger brothers, first *Ptolemy (1) XIII (who opposed Caesar) and then (47–45) with *Ptolemy (1) XIV. A joint reign with *Ptolemy (1) XV Caesar (Caesarion, reputedly Caesar's son) is recorded from 45 bce. Her later children by Mark Antony were the twins Alexander and Cleopatra (born 40 bce after Antony's winter in *Alexandria (1)), and Ptolemy Philadelphus (born 36). In 37/6 she marked Antony's gift to her of Chalcis in Syria by instituting a double numeration of her regnal years (year 16 = 1). She died by her own hand (and the bite of a royal asp) soon after Octavian (see augustus) took Alexandria on 3 August 30.



William Allison Laidlaw and Susan Mary Sherwin-White

A fertile island of the Sporades, situated in the SE Aegean, on the north–south trading route along the coast of Turkey and onwards to Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt. After Mycenaean occupation, the island was colonized, in the ‘Dark Ages,’ by *Dorians, perhaps from *Epidaurus, whose arrival may be identified with the establishment of the settlement attested by the cemeteries at the Seraglio (c.1050–c.750 bce). It was a member of the Dorian Hexapolis. The Doric dialect continued to be used into late antiquity (e.g. POxy. 2771: ce 323).In the late Archaic period the island was subject initially to Persia and to the Lygdamid (see artemisia(1)) dynasty of *Halicarnassus, which faced Cos across the straits between the island and Turkey, and then to Athens. Cos is not attested as a member of the *Second Athenian Confederacy (founded 378 bce) and perhaps did not join.


John Weisweiler

The just distribution of social goods was fiercely debated in the ancient Mediterranean and the ideologies of egalitarianism and inegalitarianism developed in Rome and Athens shaped Euro-American political thought from the Enlightenment onward. By contrast, the study of actual income and wealth distributions in ancient societies is a more recent development. Only in the early 21st century have scholars begun to make systematic attempts to quantify levels of inequality in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Since we lack the documentary sources on which the study of inequality in contemporary economies is based, most of these reconstructions rely on a combination of modelling and the interpretation of isolated figures found in literary texts. This fragmentary evidence suggests that in the best-attested regions of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East inequality was considerable. In particular, the formation of large territorial states—most notably the empires of Babylon, Persia, and Rome—facilitated the concentration of wealth into fewer hands. But it is unclear whether inequality increased over time. At least, there is no unambiguous evidence that wealth and income were more unequally distributed in late antiquity than in earlier periods of Roman history.


John Frederick Drinkwater

Iulius Philippus, Marcus, Roman emperor 244–9 ce. An Arabian from Shahbā (SE of *Damascus), he became praetorian prefect of *Gordian III and, early in 244, succeeded him as emperor. After making peace with Persia, he immediately went to Rome. His reign saw the thousandth anniversary of the city (247–8), and the beginning of the 3rd-cent. ‘crisis’ proper, characterized by invasion over the Danube (see danuvius) and Roman civil war. Philippus repelled the Carpi (245/7), but left Pacatian's rebellion and a major Gothic incursion (see goths) to *Decius (248/9). Decius' troops proclaimed him emperor in summer 249, and in the autumn he defeated and killed Philippus at Verona.

Stories that Philippus engineered the death of Gordian III, and was a Christian (see christianity), are unconvincing. More significant is his typical—as a gifted provincial administrator—late-Severan ascent through the equestrian hierarchy to become a careful and conscientious ruler, only to discover that military skills now counted for more than bureaucratic ones.


B. C. McGing

Persian name borne most famously by six of the eight Hellenistic kings of *Pontus in Asia Minor. Later sources reported a noble ancestry for the royal line—*Cyrus(1), *Darius(1), and *Alexander(3) the Great were among those claimed as ancestors—and the Persian family of dynasts who held sway in north-west Asia Minor in the 5th and 4th cents. bce, from whom the Pontic kings descended, may well have been directly related to the Achaemenid house.The family history is obscure, but it was probably Mithradates III of Cius, who, having been forced to flee to *Paphlagonia, took advantage of the major powers' lack of interest in northern Asia Minor to carve out a principality in the area, and proclaim himself the first king of Pontus, Mithradates I Ctistes or ‘*founder’ (302–266 bce). His consolidation of Pontic independence included in .


Jason M. Schlude

Founded and ruled by the Arsacid royal family, the Parthian empire (c. 250 bce–227 ce) was the native Iranian empire that filled the power vacuum in the Middle East in the midst of Seleucid decline. Arsacid interaction with the Roman empire began in the mid-90s bce, eventually established the Euphrates river as a shared border, and was peaceful in nature till 54 bce. In that year, the first of four cycles of Parthian-Roman wars began. Since the Romans carried out the initial large-scale mobilization of troops that introduced most of these wars, it is appropriate to associate these four cycles with the various Romans who coordinated the Roman military efforts: (a) Crassus to Antony (54–30 bce); (b) Nero (57–63 ce); (c) Trajan (114–117 ce); and (d) Lucius Verus to Macrinus (161–217 ce). The fundamental causes for these conflicts were Roman imperialism, which was well ingrained by the 1st century bce, and Parthian imperialism, which accelerated in the 2nd century bce, probably accompanied by the Arsacids’ attempts to present themselves as successors to the Achaemenid dynasty.


Dorothy J. Thompson, Albert Brian Bosworth, Theodore John Cadoux, and Ernst Badian

The name of all the Macedonian kings of Egypt.(‘Saviour’) (c. 367–282 bce) son of Lagus and Arsinoë, served *Alexander (3) the Great of Macedon as an experienced general and childhood friend. At Susa in 324 he married Artacama (also called Apame), daughter of *Artabazus, whom he later divorced. He later married the Macedonian Eurydice (6 children) and subsequently *Berenice (1) I, mother of the dynastic line. After Alexander's death (323) he hijacked the conqueror's embalmed corpse and, taking it to Memphis in Egypt, established himself as satrap in place of *Cleomenes (3). In the following year he took Cyrene and in 321 repulsed the invasion of *Perdiccas (3). In the complex struggles of Alexander's successors he was not at first particularly successful. In 295 however he recovered Cyprus, lost in 306 to *Demetrius (4) Poliorcetes, and from 291 he increasingly controlled the Aegean League of Islanders (.


Ronald Syme and Ernst Badian

Publius Quinctilius Varus, of a patrician family that had been of no importance for centuries. He owed his career to the favour of *Augustus. He was consul 13 bce with the future emperor *Tiberius; like him, Varus was at the time the husband of a daughter of M. *Vipsanius Agrippa. Later he married Claudia Pulchra, the grand-niece of Augustus, and was able to acquire some political influence (his two sisters made good marriages, cf. Syme, AA, Table XXVI). Varus became proconsul of Africa (7–6 bce; see africa, roman), and then legate (see legati) of *Syria. When *Judaea revolted after the death of *Herod(1) the Great he marched rapidly southwards and dealt firmly with the insurgents (Joseph.BJ 2. 39 ff., etc. ). Varus is next heard of as legate of the Rhine army in ce 9. When marching back with three legions from the summer-camp near the Weser, he was treacherously attacked in difficult country by *Arminius, whom he had trusted.


Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, Henri Seyrig, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz

The Roman province comprised besides the cities, a few of which were free, the client kingdoms of *Commagene and *Arabia, the ethnarchy of the Jews (*Judaea), the tetrarchy of the Ituraeans (*Ituraea), and many minor tetrarchies in the north. Antony (M. *Antonius (2)) gave to Cleopatra the Ituraean tetrarchy, the coast up to the Eleutherus (except *Tyre and *Sidon), *Damascus and Coele Syria, and parts of the Jewish and *Nabataean kingdoms.Syria (which probably included *Cilicia Pedias from c.44 bce to ce 72) was under the Principate an important military command; its legate (see legati), a consular, had down to ce 70 normally four *legions at his disposal. The client kingdoms were gradually annexed. Commagene was finally incorporated in the province in ce 72, Ituraea partly in 24 bce, partly (*Iulius Agrippa (2) II's kingdom) c.


Eric William Gray, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and Josef Wiesehöfer

Tigranocerta, city in *Armenia, in Arzanene; it was founded by *Tigranes (1) II (App. Mith.67) after 80 bce as a city in the Hellenistic style which he was building to be the centre of his new empire. Its precise position is still disputed (Silvan/Martyropolis? Tall Arman? near Arzan?), but its general location intended it to maintain communications between Armenia and Tigranes' southern possessions. He swelled its citizen body by netting the cities of conquered *Cappadocia, *Adiabene, and *Gordyene (Plut.Luc. 25 f.; Strabo 12. 2. 27). Its fortifications were incomplete when L. *Licinius Lucullus(2) defeated Tigranes in 69 and easily secured its capitulation. The captured exiles were sent home, but Tigranocerta was still an important fortified city in ce 50, for example, when the Roman general Cn. *Domitius Corbulo occupied it. In the wars of the *Sasanid king Sapor II, against Rome and Armenia in the 4th cent.