History Department - Courses


Teaching Staff: Kralli Ioanna
Course Code: ΙΑΕ608
Course Type: Seminar
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Semester: 8

Short Description:

The polygamy of the kings. The role of royal women in power struggle and the image of the immoral and murderous queen (starting with Olympias); their role in the court and in the government of the kingdom; their role in foreign policy through dynastic marriages. The benefactions for Greek poleis and the awarding of honours by the latter; their share in dynastic cult. The hetairai in the courts.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

After successfully completing the seminar the students are expected to be able to analyze the information provided by the sources, develop questions, and as a whole assess the role of women in the history of the Hellenistic kingdoms and interstate relations, without being misled by the prejudice of ancient literary sources.


Week #1: The military-political framework and the dynasties – The sources and the image of the virago.

Week #2: The polygamy of most kings and its consequences for their wives τους – the title “queen’. An overview of dynastic marriages.

Week #3: The involvement of Olympias and Alexander’s sisters in the wars of the Diadochoi.

Week # 4: The women of the Antigonid dynasty. 

Week #5+6: The diplomatic role of the Seleucid women – the social-financial impact on the Greek poleis and the honours by the latter. Dynastic ruler-cult.

Week #7+8: Overview of Seleucid-Ptolemaic relations – The role of the women in the wars between the two dynasties in the 3rd BC.

Weeks #9+10: The women `of the Ptolemaic dynasty – Incestuous marriages – Dynastic marriages between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies in the 2nd BC.

Weeks #11+12: Kleopatra VII and Rome.

Week #13: Instructions on essay writing.

Suggested Bibliography:

Bielman, A., Femmes en public dans le monde hellénistique, Ive-Ier s. av. J.-C., Paris 2002.
Carney, E., Women and Monarchy, Norman (OK) 2000.
Gehrke, H.-J., Geschichte des Hellenismus, Munich 1990.
Macurdy, G., Hellenistic Queens. A Study of Women-Power in Ancient Macedonia, Seleucid Syria and Ptolemaic Egypt, Baltimore 1932.
Ogden, D., Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death. The Hellenistic Dynasties, London / Swansea 1999.
Rostovtzeff, M., A History of the Ancient World, vol. II: Rome, trans. E. Bickerman, Oxford 1960.
Sartre, M., L’Anatolie hellénistique, de l’Égée au Caucase, Paris 20032.
Shipley, G., The Greek World after Alexander, 323-30 B.C., London / New York 2000.

Teaching Methods:

3 hour weekly seminar based on the study of ancient literary sources and inscriptions.  The syllabus includes passages from Diodorus, Pausanias, Appian, Arrian, Polyainos, Justin and the following Plutarchean Lives: Alexander, Demetrios. Εvery three-four weeks the students have to prepare questionnaires related to the sources and the subjects examined each time (2-3 questionnaires, consisting of 7-10 questions each). The aim is for the students to acquire a basic knowledge of the sources and thus proceed to analysis in class.

Evaluation Methods:

Assessment of the students is based on their answers to the afore-mentioned questionnaires (30%), on a long essay (c.2000 words; 35%) and on a written examination (35%).  In the case of failure in either the long essay or in the written examination, students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment in September.  


Academic Calendar 2019-2020
Posted: 18-04-2019 18:05 | Updated: 26-08-2019 15:56