Beyond Alexandria. Literature and Empire in the Seleucid World

Marijn S. Visscher

ISBN: 9780190059088

Beyond Alexandria aims to provide a better understanding of Seleucid literature, covering the period from Seleucus I to Antiochus III. Despite the historical importance of the Seleucid Empire during the long third century BCE, little attention has been devoted to its literature. The works of authors affiliated with the Seleucid court have tended to be overshadowed by works coming out of Alexandria, emerging from the court of the Ptolemies, the main rivals of the Seleucids. This book makes two key points, both of which challenge the idea that “Alexandrian” literature is coterminous with Hellenistic literature as a whole. First, the book sets out to demonstrate that a distinctly strand of writing emerged from the Seleucid court, characterized by shared perspectives and thematic concerns. Second,Beyond Alexandriaexplores how Seleucid literature was significant on the wider Hellenistic stage. Specifically, it shows that the works of Seleucid authors influenced and provided counterpoints to writers based in Alexandria, including key figures such as Eratosthenes and Callimachus. For this reason, the literature of the Seleucids is not only interesting in its own right; it also provides an important entry point for furthering our understanding of Hellenistic literature in general.

Table of Contents

Overview map
Seleucid literature
Chapter 1: Mapping the Realm
Mapping the Realm: Mental Maps and the Spectre of World Empire
On the Hellenistic Stage: Knowledge and Appropriation in Geography
Chapter 2: Babylon, City of Kings
The Kings and the City
The Voice of the Local Priests: Manetho and the Ptolemies
Chapter 3: Seleucid Crisis and the Ptolemaic Response
Cultural Polemic: the Lock of Berenice and Barbarian Asia
Meta-poetics and Inter-state Rivalry
Chapter 4: Poets and Politics at the Court of Antiochus III
Simonides: the Galatian Threat and the Struggle for Asia Minor
Euphorion of Chalcis and the Literary Court
Looking West: Hegesianax and the War with Rome

Auteur/autrice : Christophe Cusset

Ancien élève de l'ENS Fontenay/ Saint-Cloud. Agrégé de Lettres classiques. Docteur ès Lettres (Université Lyon II). Professeur de littérature grecque à l'ENS de Lyon.

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