Presenter: John McTavish (Mid-candidature review seminar)

Babylon was the heart of Alexander the Great’s new Asian empire. Between 311 and 308 BCE Seleucus fought a campaign against Antigonus Monophthalmus and his son, Demetrius, for control of the satrapy in which this city lay. Possession of Babylon guaranteed access to the upper and eastern satrapies of Alexander’s rapidly disintegrating empire and immense economic, political and military benefits. It was thus a prize that neither Seleucus nor Antigonus felt that they could afford to lose. While Seleucus was successful in driving off the Antigonids, the campaign was horrific in its intensity. Babylonia was left ravaged by the attackers, with its people treated as pawns in a continent-spanning struggle. Despite this, Seleucus emerged with his position bolstered and his popularity renewed. This seminar investigates the relationship between Seleucus’s victory in the so-called Babylonian War and the legitimacy thereby won. It sheds light on the connection between Macedonian and Near-Eastern ideas of kingship and the notion of ‘spear-won land’, which was central to Alexander the Great’s ideology of kingship.


Michie Building (9),
St Lucia campus