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Showing posts from 2019

Episode T11 - Euergetes

Synopsis: Ongoing strife in Anatolia and Egypt allows Antiochus VII to campaign east against the Parthians.  His early successes inspire hopes of a resurgent Seleucid Empire, hopes shattered by his unexpected death.

“In Asia, Attalos III as soon as he came to the throne began to manage affairs in a way quite different from all the former kings; for they, by their clemency and kindness to their subjects, reigned prosperously and happily themselves and were a blessing to the kingdom; but this prince being of a cruel and bloody disposition oppressed his subjects with many slaughters and grievous calamities.” - Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Book 35

“Ptolemy Physcon, when he saw that his sister Cleopatra (II) was so great an enemy to him, and could not revenge himself otherwise upon her, contrived a most abominable piece of villainy for that purpose.  For, imitating the cruelty of Medeia, he murdered her son, begotten by himself, in Cyprus; the son was called Memphites, and was s…

Episode S2 - The Bactrian Kingdom

“In this battle, Antiochus’ horse was wounded and killed, and the king himself was struck through the mouth and lost some of his teeth.On the whole, he acquired on that occasion the greatest reputation for valor.Because of this battle, Euthydemus was caught off guard and retreated with his forces into the Bactrian city of Zariaspa.” – Polybius, The Histories, 10.49

Synopsis: After the death of Alexander the Great, Bactria came under Seleucid rule before gaining its independence under the Diodotid and Euthydemid kings.In the second part of my interview with historian and author Tristan Hughes, we discuss how the Bactrian Kingdom was born, preserved itself against multiple attempts at Seleucid reconquest, and finally met its end.
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_S2_The_Bactrian_Kingdom.mp3
Tristan Hughes @BattlesAncients on Twitter
Battles of the Ancients website www.turningpointsoftheancientworld.com

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…

Episode T6 - Philometor

Synopsis: With Syria beset by regional enemies, three kings face off at the Battle of the Oenoparos River.The lone survivor, King Demetrius II, inaugurates his reign with the violent destruction of Antioch.

“And the king of Egypt gathered together a great host, like the sand that lieth upon the sea shore, and many ships, and went about through deceit to get Alexander’s kingdom, and join it to his own…Wherefore he took his daughter from him, and gave her to Demetrius, and forsook Alexander, so that their hatred was openly known. Then Ptolemy entered into Antioch, where he set two crowns upon his head, the crown of Asia, and of Egypt.” – 1 Maccabees, Chapter 11

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T6_Philometor.mp3

Episode T5 - Balas

Synopsis: Demetrius struggles to preserve his throne but ends up falling in battle.Alexander Balas begins his reign by marrying Ptolemy’s daughter, Cleopatra Thea.While the sons of Demetrius remain a threat, the couple are also forced to confront the growing menace of Parthia.

“Then gathered king Alexander great forces, and camped over against Demetrius.And after the two kings had joined battle, Demetrius’ host fled: but Alexander followed after him, and prevailed against them.And he continued the battle very sore until the sun went down: and that day was Demetrius slain.” – 1 Maccabees

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T5_Balas.mp3

Episode T4 - Soter

Synopsis: Demetrius seizes the Syrian throne and stems immediate threats from Media and Judaea.But deposed officials and regional rulers conspire to engineer his downfall.

“When it became known that the Romans were ill disposed towards Demetrius, not only the other kings but even some of the satraps subject to him regarded his kingship with scant respect. Of these satraps the most outstanding was a certain Timarchus…By launching many accusations against Demetrius (he) persuaded the senate to enact (a decree making him king).Emboldened by this decree he raised an army of considerable size in Media; he also entered into alliance against Demetrius with Artaxias, the king of Armenia.” – Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book XXXI

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T4_Soter.mp3

Episode T3 - Thea

Synopsis: Lysias attempts to exercise control through the young King Antiochus V, but a deadly incident with a Roman delegation gives hope to the captive Demetrius.Ptolemy Physcon challenges his brother Ptolemy VI for control of Egypt and Cyprus.

“They then went on board, and the pilot weighed anchor and started just as the day was breaking, having absolutely no idea of the real state of the case, but believing that he was conveying some soldiers from Menyllus to Ptolemy…It was not until the fourth day after his start that, Demetrius being looked for in vain, the truth was suspected.On the fifth the Senate was hastily summoned to consider the matter, when Demetrius had already cleared the Straits of Messina.The Senate gave up all idea of pursuit.” – Polybius, The Histories, Book XXXI

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T3_Thea.mp3

Episode T2 - Megas

Synopsis: Antiochus the Great restores Seleucid fortunes, but his son Antiochus IV sews the seeds of the Empire’s destruction.

“On (Antiochus IV), after reading the dispatch, saying that he desired to consult with his friends on the situation, Popilius did a thing which was looked upon as exceedingly overbearing and insolent. Happening to have a vine stick in his hand, he drew a circle round Antiochus with it, and ordered him to give his answer to the letter before he stepped out of that circumference.” – Polybius, the Histories, Book XXIX

http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_T2_Megas.mp3