Presenter: John McTavish (Confirmation seminar)

This paper will examine the political and military ramifications of Seleukos Nikator’s invasion of India, in order to assess his motive for expanding his empire further east. Despite the pivotal role played by the elephants Seleukos acquired through his peace treaty with Chandragupta in blunting the Antigonid offensive at Ipsos in 301 BCE, the Seleukid-Mauryan War is generally thought to have been a strategic failure for Seleukos. The principal aim of this paper is to challenge this assumption, and this paper argues that his expedition was far from an outright failure. In a climate of profound social and political transformation, the actions of Seleukos should be judged as a reflection of the means the Diadokhoi used to inform and legitimize their rule. By attempting to expand rather than simply pulling together scraps of the rapidly disintegrating Macedonian Empire, Seleukos was promoting himself as a true Successor to the legacy of imperial conquest that had seen Macedonian dominance spread across the world. The strength of the peace settlement indicates that no protracted conflict took place, and is a testament to both Nikator’s conservative approach to strategy and the severity of the Antigonid threat looming in the west.

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