The King Is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism, 334-31 B. C

The King Is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism, 334-31 B. C

The King Is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism, 334-31 B. C

The King Is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism, 334-31 B. C

Excerpt

The victory of Alexander the Great at Gaugamela in 331 B.C. washis third and final defeat of the Persian armies of Dareios III. Dareiosfled eastward across the plains of his dying empire and presently wasmurdered by his own desperate generals. His successor, the satrap Bessos, reigning as Artaxerxes IV, was relentlessly hunted down andexecuted by Alexander, who thus brought to an end native Persiankingship. A period of drastic political and social upheaval began forthe Orient when the Makedonian conqueror, looking to the consolidation of his conquests, settled Greek and Makedonian veterans in theNear East. Hellenic occupation meant the suppression of native ruleand traditional kingship. Under Alexander's successors, Antigonos theOne-Eyed, Seleukos, Ptolemy, and Lysimachos, the development ofpermanent Hellenic occupation of the region was carried to a furtherstage.

My aim in these studies is to search for evidence of Oriental opposition to Hellenic imperialism, to discover its causes and the ways itwas advocated and justified, to show what forms it took, and to findout what effects it had, both immediate and more far-reaching. Theresistance, as I hope to show, was justified almost universally in religious terms, especially from the point of view of the Oriental theologyabout kingship. Kings were believed to be vicegerents of the greathigh gods, of Ahura Mazdāh, of Yahweh, or of Marduk, or even to begods themselves, as in Egypt. The law these kings enforced was divinelaw; therefore, Makedonian and Greek imperialism was an attack onthe all-ruling gods of the East. It is for this reason that I shall speakof the "religious resistance" to Hellenism.

The Eastern regions examined are: Persis, the other parts of Iran,Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, Jewish Palestine, the settlements ofJews elsewhere in the ancient world, and Egypt. (India is omitted because evidence of Hellenic occupation there is extremely meagre.)Each of these regions or peoples had its own unique culture, differentin greater or lesser degree from all the other civilizations in the NearEast. I shall, however, occasionally refer to the inhabitants of thesecountries as "Orientals"--a generalization intended to differentiatethem sharply from their foreign masters.

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