16 June 2021 Start
16 June 2021 End
11 am to 12:30 pm (Eastern Time = New York / Toronto time) Time

Fear and Loathing in the Seleukid Kingdom

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This Wednesday, June 16, 11 am to 12:30 pm (Eastern Time = New York / Toronto time), Dr. Richard Wenghofer (Nipissing University, North Bay, ON) is going to give the second lecture in the Seleukid Lecture Series.

The title has slightly changed to “Fear and Loathing in the Seleukid Kingdom: Popular Resistance to Seleukid Royal Authority”.

The lecture will be followed by comments by Dr. Kyle Erickson (Trinity St David, Lampeter, Wales), before the floor will be opened to a broader discussion.

If you want to join, please register here: Registration link.


In two forthcoming studies on receptions of Seleukid claims to hegemony,[1] I argue that the Seleukid dynasty bore an essentially predatory or parasitic relationship to the polities under its dominion, and that both armed and passive resistance to Seleukid kings were far more common than has heretofore been supposed in current scholarship. In the present paper, I wish to expand upon my examination of resistance to Seleukid rule through a closer study of specific local reactions of non-elite elite populations to Seleukid claims to, and the exercise of, royal authority. It is my contention that the sources that we typically use to reconstruct local reactions to the Seleukid assertion of legitimate royal authority, sources such as civic decrees, coin issues et al., present us with a profoundly distorted view of the relations between king and subject. I will attempt, therefore, to look past the relationships between kings, cities, and dynasts, encapsulated in official propaganda, in order to reconstruct the view of Seleukid power from below by focusing on the reactions of the non-elite denizens and the common soldiery of Seleukid controlled territories to the exercise of royal authority in several local contexts. It is my contention that these lower classes, even in so-called royal cities, upon whose exploitation Seleukid power rested, were largely indifferent to Seleukid claims to royal legitimacy, and were often even eager to rid themselves of Seleukid kings.

[1] R. Wenghofer (2020). “Popular Resistance to Seleucid Claims to Hegemony.” Forthcoming in Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides& Stefan Pfeiffer (eds.), Culture and Ideology under the Seleucids, Berlin: De Gruyter, ca. 2021.; R. Wenghofer (2021). “The Diplomacy of Resistance to Seleukid Hegemony.” Forthcoming in Altay Coskun & Richard Wenghofer (eds.), Seleukid Ideology: Creation, Reception, and Response, ca. 2022.