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Near Eastern Royalty and Rome, 100-30 Bc

Near Eastern Royalty and Rome, 100-30 Bc

Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 523
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    Near Eastern Royalty and Rome, 100-30 Bc
    Book Description:

    During the first century BC, the Near and Middle Easy saw a great transition from the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires, by way of the brief Pontic and Armenian Empires, to the triumphant Parthian and Roman Empires. Richard D. Sullivan offers a guide to the central role of royalty during this period. He provides, through narrative and citations, a context for the frequent references to Eastern kings and queens by Caesar, Cicero, Strabo, Josephus, Tacitus, Appian, Dio, and others. He also discusses related inscriptions, coins, and papyri.

    Sullivan focuses on the personnel of the many dynasties which rules the Near and Middle East, from Thrace through Asia Minor and the Levant to Egypt, then eastward to Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Parthia. He studies such famous figures as Mithradates Eupator, Cleopatra, and Herod the Great as well as others now obscure. To ?locate? them properly, he provides a narrative history of each dynasty and draws them together in a coherent account of Eastern royal governance and its accommodations with Rome and Parthia.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7759-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Richard D. Sullivan
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. MAPS
    (pp. xxii-xxx)
    (pp. 1-6)

    After a period of relative neglect, the history of the Greek, Iranian, Arab, and Jewish worlds during late Hellenistic and early Imperial times has been the subject of a number of studies (see Selected Bibliography). The work of Altheim and Stiehl, Bowersock, Braund, Cimma, Colledge, Gagé, Gruen, Hoben, Olshausen, Pani, Schürer (revised by Vermes and Millar), Sherwin-White, Smallwood, and others has begun to fill the vacancy caused by the gradual outdating ofCAH,Magie, Rostovtzeff, and other authorities in the field. The contributions of numismatic, epigraphical, papyrological, archaeological, and historical studies in recent decades have put much of the field...


    • 1 The Historical and Geographical Position of the Late Hellenistic Dynasties
      (pp. 9-24)

      Thousands of years before the period examined in this book, the lands discussed here had already been settled by civilized peoples, as their distant descendants were fully aware. The invention of writing probably occurred here during the fourth millennium, in Mesopotamia, and soon after, in Egypt. The cities that arose were among the earliest anywhere. The ancient empires of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians set a high standard for their successors, which the Assyrians and then the Persians tried to meet. In Asia Minor and Upper Mesopotamia, the Indo-European Hittites appeared after 2000 BC, as did other groups now imperfectly...

    • 2 Asia Minor and the Mithradatic Wars
      (pp. 25-58)

      In a full generation of warfare against Mithradates Eupator, Rome began sustained intervention in the affairs of Asia and the Levant. The period from 100 to 70 BC demonstrates three main processes at work.First,the dynastic system – expansionist in nature but pursuing rational evolution through such devices as intermarriage and nationalistic requirements for ‘legitimate’ rule – had governed the East for centuries and continued to do so.Second,portions of the region lay under challenge from without as the decline of the Seleucids drew Rome into Asia Minor to oppose Mithradates and Tigranes. The succession of Parthia to Seleucid lands...

    • 3 The Levant
      (pp. 59-80)

      The term ‘Levant’ here includes Commagene, Emesa, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, the territory of the Nabataeans, and Judaea. Egypt is treated in Chapter 4.

      Commagene, which Strabo calls ‘small, but extremely fertile,’ was known for its fruit, geese, and overall prosperity, to which its position along the Euphrates contributed. Great trade routes passed through or near the country, mainly from Asia Minor or Syria across the river into Mesopotamia, but also from the Levant northward, towards Melitene. The generally rugged nature of the area, traversed by a range of the Taurus Mountains, did not deter the population from full use of...

    • 4 Egypt
      (pp. 81-95)

      Egypt, aptly termed ‘the gift of the Nile’ by Hecataeus, consisted of three main zones: the Nile Valley from the first cataract northward to Memphis; the Delta, from Memphis to the Mediterranean; and the flanking portions of the Arabian, Western, and Libyan deserts. Out of a total land area for Egypt of nearly 400,000 square miles, the Delta occupied only 8500 and the Nile Valley about 4800. These relatively tiny portions, which were cultivable, enjoyed the nearly impassable protection of those which were not.

      Of its total length of some 4000 miles, the Nile flows through Egypt for little more...

    • 5 Dynasties beyond the Euphrates, 100-69 BC
      (pp. 96-120)

      The vast expanse of mountains, plains, steppes, and salt deserts (the Dasht-i Kavir and the Dasht-i Lut on the Iranian plateau) that lay beyond the Euphrates sustained a population of Iranians and Semites who created some of antiquity’s greatest empires – the Assyrian, Babylonian, Median, Persian, Parthian, and Sassanian. Important trade routes spanned the region from south to north and from west to east; the most important, the Khurasan route, stretched from Ctesiphon (near Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Babylon) right through to China. Over the millennia, interpenetration of peoples on the plains of Mesopotamia produced one of the most intensive racial mixtures in...

    (pp. 122-142)

    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 143-144)

      By 70 BC, Asia Minor had changed more rapidly in one generation than it had previously altered in centuries. Not since Alexander had the region witnessed such rapid political evolution, as Romans took up the position partly prepared for them by their conquest of Antiochus III at Magnesia and the subsequent peace of 188 BC. Since 100 BC, Mithradates Eupator had swept across Asia Minor and into Greece, to be driven back by Romans with their Greek allies. Tigranes the Great had assumed the title ‘King of Kings’ and all that went with it, forging an Armenian Empire that stretched...

    • 6 Asia Minor in the Generation before Actium
      (pp. 145-192)

      By 70 BC, much of Thrace had long since moved towards one of its salient characteristics for the next century: close involvement with Rome. The accession of the Odrysian-Astaean Sadalas I can be fixed at 87 or thereabouts, but the date of his death remains obscure; conversely, the date at which his successor, Cotys IV, died is known to be about 44, but that of his accession lies beyond our records.¹ Similarly, the regnal years of the Sapaean Cotys VI cannot be determined with confidence, though his reign had probably ended about 48. This obscurity masks an important stage in...

    • 7 The Levant
      (pp. 193-228)

      The conquest of Tigranes by Lucullus in 69 BC released Commagene from its status as a reluctant sub-kingdom, one of the many that had warranted assumption by Tigranes of the title King of Kings. The king over whom he claimed lordship in Commagene had been Mithradates I Kallinikos, with his Seleucid wife, Laodice, the daughter of Antiochus Grypus and sister of five Seleucid kings (§ 6). The last of these were attempting to rule Syria (§ 21). Commagene lay for the moment in an unquiet situation. Neighbouring Cappadocia still experienced disruption until 67, and not until 63 could Mithradates Eupator...

    • 8 Egypt
      (pp. 229-279)

      By 70 BC, with Roman armies in the East pursuing Mithradates Eupator and Tigranes, a strong Egyptian ruler might have resisted the gathering eclipse of his kingdom and tried to reassert Egyptian claims in the Levant. Instead, Ptolemy Auletes lay slack, if we are to credit ancient perceptions, and earned his epithetAuletes(‘Flute-Player’). This tradition of his idleness and his prowess with the flute, vying with others in contests on the instrument, could have easily been developed by a party hostile to him at court. The picture of him accompanying on the flute the subsidence of the Ptolemaic Empire...

    • 9 Dynasties beyond the Euphrates
      (pp. 280-318)

      When Tigranes left Syria – after first ending the lively career of Cleopatra Selene – and returned to face Lucullus in Armenia, he proceeded unwittingly to change the political distributions of much of the Near East. Before the battle near Tigranocerta in 69, Tigranes ranked as ‘King of Kings’ in name and substance. After it, he retained only his own kingdom and found enemies on all sides, including his own son, though he later recovered some territory and the grand title. Probably no single battle in the East so advanced Roman fortunes as this one, since it removed the major threat of...


    • 10 The Eastern Dynastic Network
      (pp. 321-328)

      The great historical process studied herein by no means terminated at Actium in 31 BC. Kings occupied the East, including ‘the greater part’(ex parte magna)of the provinces there claimed by Rome. As in Rome itself, probably few in the East realized the true import of that battle at the time, and many kings ruled on with no apparent reference to it. Other battles in the Roman civil wars (Pharsalus; Philippi) had come and gone, each with a different influence on arrangements in the East, including changes among the Roman generals sent there. After Lucullus, Pompey gave way to...

    • 11 Epilogue
      (pp. 329-334)

      Some outstanding individuals brought about this great transformation of the East. This study can conclude by recapitulating their contributions.

      Most of the kings languish now in obscurity, as for instance do Cotys III and Sadalas I of Thrace, who probably initiated the slow unification of royal houses there and prepared the country for a most difficult century. This study has dealt with many like them, but the record also includes remarkable kings about whose work a relatively large amount is known.

      Outstanding amongthosekings ranks Mithradates VI Eupator. Not only did he bring Pontus to its greatest territorial extent...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 335-472)
    (pp. 473-494)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 495-523)
    (pp. None)