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.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

Event details

  • The seminars take place at 4pm, in the Michie Building (09), Room 536
  • Seminars are also on Zoom. Send an email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( for the link.
  • Upcoming seminars can be found here.
  • Please be aware that we are still operating under Covid-19 regulations during public events. Masks are no longer required at UQ locations - however, UQ strongly encourages mask wearing when physical distancing is not possible. UQ strongly encourages all campus attendees to be up to date with vaccinations. And finally, those who are feeling unwell, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 7 days or have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 7 days, are asked not to attend this seminar.
  • For those attending in person, if you would like to join us for drinks and/or dinner afterwards at UQ’s St. Lucy's from 5:15 pm, please RSVP by email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( by 9am on the day of the seminar.
  • Please also contact Duncan Keenan-Jones should you have questions about the event.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at