The influence of Achaemenid Persia on fourth-century and early Hellenistic Greek tyranny
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This thesis is an examination of how Greek tyranny in the fourth century and the early Hellenistic age was influenced by Achaemenid Persia and the Ancient Near East. The introduction lays out the problems of interpreting the Ancient Near East through Greco-Roman sources, via Ephippus' description of Alexander the Great, as well as discussing two important examples of Persianisation that have been examined in detail in the past: Pausanias of Sparta and Alexander the Great. The relevant Classical Greek and Achaemenid sources concerning Persian kingship are then considered, in order to establish four categories by which to examine the tyrannical dynasties chosen as case studies: Appearance, Accessibility, Dynasty and Military Function. Using these four categories, the dynasties of the Dionysii of Syracuse, the Clearchids of Heraclea Pontica, the Hecatomnids of Caria and Agathocles of Syracuse, chosen for their geographical and temporal variance, are examined individually over the next four chapters. Appearance concerns the ruler's dress and body presentation, the use of status items such as crowns and sceptres, and the display of luxury. Accessibility concerns the use of architecture and fortifications, as well as court protocol and bodyguards, in order to control access to the ruler. Dynasty concerns family trees, marriages and the role of women, and the role of close family and subordinates in important administrative positions. Military Function concerns the role of the ruler in warfare as well as power symbols, titles and epithets. The analysis of the tyrannies taken altogether using the same categories forms the basis of the subsequent chapter, and allows for comparison with the Achaemenid Persian evidence in order to determine whether there is any significant correlation. This chapter also examines the potential methods of transmission. The thesis concludes that there are significant similarities in some aspects of tyrannical rule with that of Achaemenid kingship, and demonstrates that tyrants were engaging in the political and philosophical discourse of the era. The 'royal nature' as demonstrated by Xenophon proves to be something that tyrants aspire to, without becoming kings in name. The thesis also concludes that thinking of Greek tyrants in rigid characterisation is no longer acceptable, whether temporally as alter and junger tyranny, or geographically as Greek rulers of Greek cities with no contextual influence.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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