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Episode S1 - Alexander in Bactria

“I am engaged in a land of a leonine and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a wall of steel confronting my soldiers.  You have brought only one Alexander into the world, but every mother in this land has brought an Alexander into the world.” – Alexander the Great, in a letter written to his mother Olympias from Bactria

Synopsis: Five years of campaigning brought Alexander the Great to the doorstep of Bactria, but he’d spend much of the next three years - arguably the most difficult of his life - trying to control the region.  In this first episode of an occasional series called “The Ancient World – Spotlight” I’m joined by historian and author Tristan Hughes to discuss the uprising of the Sogdian warlord Spitamenes, quite possibly Alexander’s greatest foe, and the later revolts of Hellenic troops upon news of Alexander’s death.

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_S1_Alexander_in_Bactria.mp3
Tristan Hughes @BattlesAncients on Twitter
Battles of the Ancients website ww…

Episode T10 - Sidetes

Synopsis: Cleopatra Thea marries Demetrius II’s brother, Antiochus VII, becoming the simultaneous queen of two Seleucid kings. While Antiochus crushes Tryphon’s revolt and recovers former Seleucid territories, Demetrius is defeated by Mithridates and imprisoned in distant Hyrcania.
“But as Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius (II) who was called Soter, was not admitted by any of the cities on account of Tryphon, Cleopatra sent to him, and invited him to marry her, and to take the kingdom. The reasons why she made this invitation were these: That her friends persuaded her to it, and that she was afraid for herself, in case some of the people of Seleucia (Pieria) should deliver up the city to Tryphon. As Antiochus was now come to Seleucia, and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Tryphon; and having beaten him in battle, he ejected him out of Upper Syria into Phoenicia, and pursued him thither, and besieged him in Dora which was a fortress hard to be taken, whither he had …

Episode T9 - Tryphon

Synopsis: The Seleucid rebel Diodotus Tryphon uses Thea and Alexander Balas’ young son, Antiochus VI, to capture most of Syria.Though paralyzed at home, Demetrius II embarks on a bold plan to challenge the conquests of Mithridates.

“Now there was a certain commander…whose name was Diodotus, who was also called Tryphon, who took notice of the ill-will the soldiers bore toward Demetrius, and went to (Iamblichus) the Arabian, who brought up Antiochus, the son of Alexander…and persuaded him to give him Antiochus, because he would make him king.” – Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter 5

“And so cities in all districts rebelled against (Demetrius’) rule; and to remove the stigma of indolence he decided to attack the Parthians.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 36.1.7

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T9_Tryphon.mp3

Map of Syria c. 200 BC (courtesy of www.timemaps.com)

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Syria-200bc.png

Episode T8 - The City

Synopsis: The rediscovery of Ai Khanoum testified to the wealth and power of the Bactrian Kingdom.Mithridates’ conquest of Babylonia is countered by an unlikely coalition.

“The cities of Bactria were Bactra, which they also call Zariaspa and through which flows a river of the same name that empties into the Oxus, plus the city of Darapsa, and others more. Among these was a city called Eucratideia, named after its ruler… (The Greeks) also controlled Sogdiana, which lies above and to the east of Bactria between the Oxus River – demarcating Bactrians from Sogdians – and the Jaxartes River, likewise separating the Sogdians from the nomads.” – Strabo, Geography, 11.11.2
“These wise sayings of earlier men, the words of well-known men, are enshrined in the holy Pytho.There Clearchus copied them faithfully, and set them up here in the sanctuary of Kineas, blazing from afar.
As a child, be well-behaved.
As a youth, be self-controlled.
As an adult, be just.
As an elder, be wise.
As one dying, be witho…

Episode T7 - Blazing From Afar

Synopsis: On the eastern frontiers of the Seleucid Empire, Parthia, Bactria and the Indo-Greeks struggle for regional supremacy.The stalemate in Syria and murder of Eucratides advance the fortunes of Mithridates.

“At about the same time that Mithridates was beginning his rule in Parthia, Eucratides was beginning his in Bactria, both of them great men.But the fortunes of the Parthians prevailed, carrying them to the zenith of their power under this king.” – Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, 41.6

"The Yavanas (Greeks) will command, the Kings will disappear. But ultimately the Yavanas, intoxicated with fighting, will not stay in Madhadesa (the Middle Country); there will be undoubtedly a civil war among them, arising in their own country (Bactria), there will be a terrible and ferocious war." – Gargi-Samhita, Yuga Purana, Chapter 7 http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T7_Blazing_From_Afar.mp3

I'm Very Excited

For a bunch of great reasons!First and foremost, I’ve just finished drafting Episode T10, which means I have four new episodes ready to produce.Finishing Episode T10 also gave me another piece of happy news, which is that I now believe I can reasonably estimate how long “The Ancient World – Thea” will run.At the moment, it’s looking like four additional episodes (i.e., through Episode T14) will complete the story of Cleopatra Thea and also give some additional space for a quick synopsis taking us up through either Pompey’s conquest or possibly even a bit farther (no spoilers!) But since I have a horrible track record estimating these things I’m giving myself some extra latitude, so we’ll say that “The Ancient World – Thea” will wrap somewhere between Episodes T14 and T16.
Either way, I’ve decided for the moment to stop drafting new episodes and move into production mode, which means you’ll be seeing Episode T7 appear over the next few weeks.I’m not giving a hard date quite yet (it depe…

Spring Break

Now that we’re 6 episodes in, I wanted to give you an update on the new series and my plans for 2019.I’m planning to break “The Ancient World – Thea” into 6-episode “seasons” with breaks in between.Which is another way of saying that I’m going back on break for a while. You can expect the second season sometime this Summer and a third season before the end of the year.I don’t really have a feeling yet for how long this series’ll run – it might wrap in the third season or might take a fourth.I’m notoriously bad at predicting that kind of thing.

During the break I’m planning to dig into a few side-projects. So, for example, if anyone out there has experience in ancient-history-themed childrens’ books hit me up on social media.Otherwise if you’d like to help out the show here’s my humble ask: Find one friend who’s into history and tell them about The Ancient World.Maybe even point them toward the first 6 episodes of “Thea” as a low-commitment introduction. If each of you could turn just o…