The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire

The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire

by Paul J. Kosmin


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A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

The Seleucid Empire (311-64 BCE) was unlike anything the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds had seen. Stretching from present-day Bulgaria to Tajikistan—the bulk of Alexander the Great's Asian conquests—the kingdom encompassed a territory of remarkable ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity; yet it did not include Macedonia, the ancestral homeland of the dynasty. The Land of the Elephant Kings investigates how the Seleucid kings, ruling over lands to which they had no historic claim, attempted to transform this territory into a coherent and meaningful space.

“This engaging book appeals to the specialist and non-specialist alike. Kosmin has successfully brought together a number of disparate fields in a new and creative way that will cause a reevaluation of how the Seleucids have traditionally been studied.”
—Jeffrey D. Lerner, American Historical Review

“It is a useful and bright introduction to Seleucid ideology, history, and position in the ancient world.”
—Jan P. Stronk, American Journal of Archaeology

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674986886
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/20/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 846,313
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Paul J. Kosmin is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is coeditor of Spear-Won Land: Sardis from the King’s Peace to the Peace of Apamea. Kosmin has been a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow and a PAW Fellow at Princeton University, as well as an Oliver Smithies Lecturer at Oxford University.

Table of Contents

List of Maps ix

List of Illustrations xi

List of Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 1

I Border

1 India-Diplomacy and Ethnography at the Mauryan Frontier 31

2 Central Asia-Nomads, Ocean, and the Desire for Line 59

II Homeland

3 Macedonia-From Center to Periphery 79

4 Syria-Diasporic Imperialism 93

Interlude-The Kingdom of Asia 121

III Movement

5 Arrivals and Departures 129

6 The Circulatory System 142

IV Colony

7 King Makes City 183

8 City Makes King 222

Conclusion 253

Appendix: On the Date of Megasthenes' Indica 261

Notes 273

Glossary 361

References 369

Acknowledgments 407

Index 409

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