Euergetism is the modern scholarly term, derived from the ancient Greek euergetes (benefactor), to denote the phenomenon of elite gift-giving to cities (or to groups within them) in Greek and Roman societies. The term encompasses benefactions by Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors, but is mostly used to refer to the munificence of local civic elites. Recent scholarship stresses the transactional character of euergetism: benefactors donated or contributed to public buildings (including temples), festivals, and games, or they gave distributions of food or money or organized public banquets in exchange for publicly awarded honours: usually including an honorific inscription recording the benefaction and the accolades awarded to the donor in return, often accompanied by a statue of him or her. In Archaic and 5th-century bce Greece, cities mostly honoured foreign benefactors in this way, but from the 4th century bce onward, it became more and more normal for wealthy citizens to donate to their own city in exchange for public honours awarded by their fellow-citizens. Civic euergetism of this type became increasingly common in Greek cities during the Hellenistic period. Its greatest proliferation, however, was under Roman imperial rule during the 1st, 2nd and early 3rd centuries ce, when we have more inscriptions for benefactors in cities in both East and West than ever before.
Alexander the Great’s empire, which stretched from the Danube and the western shore of the Black Sea in the north to the Indus valley and Indian Ocean in the east, did not survive his death. Competition among his successors involved almost constant warfare, strategies to secure desirable commodities, and a nearly insatiable need for cash reserves. Whereas the founders of the new kingdoms were predominantly cavalrymen, the soldiers of succeeding generations were armed settlers and frontiersmen. The technology of warfare also underwent rapid changes at the start of the Hellenistic era, when siege machinery and artillery were introduced. Maintaining empires required different armies and resources, bringing wealth to countryside as well as city.The organizational template created by cities in the 4th century bce provided an efficient and flexible model of economic as well as social organization that enabled cities of all cultural and linguistic origins to become focal points of economic expansion under the kingdoms of .
Proxeny (proxenia) was an official honorific status granted by Greek states to members of external political communities and was closely related to the private institution of ritualized friendship (xenia). Recipients, who became proxenoi as a result, constituted a formal network of local friends for the granting state, capable of facilitating interactions for both official delegates and their citizens visiting on private business. Proxeny was consequently a central element of the Greek system of interstate institutions. It enabled state actors to establish connections with individuals at a wide range of other political communities within the densely fragmented city-state culture of the ancient Mediterranean.References to proxeny occur from the late 7th century bce until the end of the Hellenistic period, with some epigraphic outliers occurring until 2nd centuryce , but the composition of this record changes significantly over time. Proxenoi are frequently depicted in literary texts for the Classical period, typically in relation to the communities that granted them this status—providing services for visiting representatives ( .
Laodice was the daughter of Mithradates II of Pontos and Laodice, daughter of the Seleucid king Antiochus II. In c. 222 bce, she married Antiochus III and was proclaimed queen. As a Seleucid queen, she was present at the battle of Raphia in 217 bce between her husband and Ptolemy IV. By acting as a benefactor and engaging in humanitarian initiatives in Asia Minor, she contributed to the political relationship between the Seleucids and local institutions. Because of her patronage, she received honours from cities. In 193 bce, Laodice was the first Seleucid queen to have a ruler cult that mirrored that of her husband and his ancestors. The cult was established by Antiochus III and was to be managed by eponymous high priestesses. Laodice gave birth to two Seleucid kings, Seleucus IV and Antiochus IV, and a Seleucid queen also named Laodice. Her daughter Cleopatra married Ptolemy V. Although Antiochus III remarried in 192 bce, she remained the only Seleucid queen.