Amazons: The Amazons (Greek: Ἀμαζόνεσ, Amazónes, singular Ἀμαζών, Amazōn) are a
nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity.
Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern
territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor, or
Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan
War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father
Ares, was the object of one of the labours of Hercules. Amazonian raiders were
often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art.
The Amazons have become associated with many historical people throughout the
Roman Empire period and Late Antiquity. In Roman historiography, there are
various accounts of Amazon raids in Asia Minor. From the Early Modern period,
their name has become a term for female warriors in general.
Dionysia: The Dionysia[p] was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god
Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of
dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important
festival after the Panathenaia. The Dionysia actually consisted of two related
festivals, the Rural Dionysia and the City Dionysia, which took place in different
parts of the year. They were also an essential part of the Dionysian Mysteries.
Gynaecocracy: A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central
roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property. It is also
sometimes called a gynocracy, a gynecocracy, or a gynocentric society.
Lenaea: The Lenaia (Ancient Greek: Λθναια) was an annual festival with a dramatic
competition. It was one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient
Greece. The Lenaia took place in Athens in the month of Gamelion, roughly
corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysos Lenaios.
"Lenaia" probably comes from "lenai", which is another name for the Maenads
(the female worshippers of Dionysos).
oligarchy/oligarchic: Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγοσ (olígos), meaning "a
few", and ἄρχω (archo), meaning "to rule or to command")*1+*2+*3+ is a form of
power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people.
These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education,
corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent
families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.[citation
Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public servitude
to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym
for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, but oligarchy is not
always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not
have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy.
Parodos: Parodos (also parode and parodus; Ancient Greek: πάροδοσ, "entrance," plural parodoi) is a term used in the theater of ancient Greece, referring either to a side-
entrance, or to the first song sung by the chorus after its entrance from the side
Prologos: A prologue (Greek πρόλογοσ prologos, from the word pro (before) and lógos,
word) is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background
details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other
miscellaneous information. The Greek prologos included the modern meaning of
prologue, but was of wider significance. Preface, like the Latin praefatio. In a book,
the prologue is a part of the front matter which is in the on the facts related in the
prologue. The importance, therefore, of the prologue in Greek drama was very
great; it sometimes almost took the place of a romance, to which, or to an episode
in which, the play itself succeeded.
The Four hundred: The Athenian coup of 411 BC was a revolutionary movement during the
Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta that overthrew the democratic
government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known
as The Four Hundred.
The movement was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians who
held positions of power in the Athenian army at Samos, in coordination with
Alcibiades who promised to deliver Persian support to Athens if the democracy
was overthrown. Negotiations with Alcibiades eventually broke down as he
proved incapable of delivering his promise. Nevertheless, the leaders of the
oligarchic movement went forward with their plans to overthrow Athenian
The oligarchs plotted two coups: one at Athens and one at Samos, where the
Athenian navy was based.
The coup at Athens went forward as planned, and "[o]n the fourteenth day of the
Attic month of Thargelion, June 9th, 411, ... the [conspirators] seized the reality of
power." The city came under the control of The Four Hundred oligarchic
Unlike in Athens, the plotters in Samos were thwarted by Samian democrats and
pro-democratic leaders in the Athenian fleet. The men of the fleet, upon learning
of the coup at home, deposed their generals and elected new ones in their place.
They announced that the city had revolted from them, not they from the city. The
new leaders of the fleet arranged the recall of Alcibiades to Samos, and declared
their intention to carry on the war against Sparta.
The Four Hundred government in Athens suffered from instability as conflict soon
arose between moderates and extremists among the oligarchs. The moderates,
led by Theramenes and Aristocrates, called for the replacement of The Four
Hundred with a broader oligarchy of "the 5,000", which would include all citizens of zeugitai status or higher. Under pressure, the extremist leaders opened peace
negotiations with Sparta and began constructing a fortification in the harbor of
Piraeus, which they might have considered to hand over to the Spartans. After the
leader of the extremists Phrynichus was assassinated, the moderates grew bolder
and arrested an extremist general in Piraeus. A confrontation ensued, which
ended with the hoplites in Piraeus tearing down the new fortification. Several days
later, the Four Hundred were officially replaced by the 5,000, who ruled for
several more months until after the Athenian victory at Cyzicus.
November 27, 2012
Antigonids: The Antigonid dynasty (Greek: Δυναςτεία των Αντιγονιδών) was a dynasty of Hellenistic
kings descended from Alexander the Great's general Antigonus I Monophthalmus ("the
Succeeding the Antipatrid dynasty in much of Macedonia, Antigonus ruled mostly over
Asia Minor and northern Syria. His attempts to take control of the whole of Alexander's
empire led to his defeat and death at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC. Antigonus's son
Demetrius I Poliorcetes survived the battle, and managed to seize control of Macedon
itself a few years later, but eventually lost his throne, dying as a prisoner of Seleucus I.
After a period of confusion, Demetrius's son Antigonus II Gonatas was able to establish
the family's control over the old Kingdom of Macedon, as well as over most of the Greek
city-states, by 276 BC.
Bucolic: A pastoral lifestyle (see pastoralism) is that of shepherds herding livestock around open
areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It
lends its name to a genre of literature, art and music that depicts such life in an idealized
manner, typically for urban audiences. A pastoral is a work of this genre.
An alternative word for pastoral as a genre, both in adjectival and noun form, is bucolic,
from the Greek βουκόλοσ, meaning a cowherd.
Diadoch: The Diadochi (plural of Latin Diadochus, from Greek: Διάδοχοι, Diadokhoi, "Successors")
were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the
control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC. The Wars of the Diadochi were
the turbulent opening of the Hellenistic period.
Panegyric: A panegyric is a formal public speech, or (in later use) written verse, delivered in high
praise of a person or thing, a generally highly studied and discriminating eulogy, not
expected to be critical. It is derived from the Greek πανηγυρικόσ meaning "a speech fit for
a general assembly" (panegyris). In Athens such speeches were delivered at national
festivals or games, with the object of rousing the citizens to emulate the glorious deeds of
their ancestors. Pastoral: Pastoral is a mode of literature in which the author employs various techniques to place
the complex life into a simple one. Paul Alpers distinguishes pastoral as a mode rather
than a genre, and he bases this distinction on the recurring attitude of power; that is to
say that pastoral literature holds a humble perspective toward nature. Thus, pastoral as a
mode occurs in many types of literature (poetry, drama, etc.) as well as genres (most
notably the pastoral elegy).
Ptolemaic: The Ptolemaic dynasty, (Ancient Greek: Πτολεμαῖοι, sometimes also known as the Lagids
or Lagides, Ancient Greek: Λαγίδαι, from the name of Ptolemy I's father, Lagus) was a
Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt
during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC. They
were the last dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Ptolemy, one of the six somatophylakes (bodyguards) who served as Alexander the
Great's generals and deputies, was appointed satrap of Egypt after Alexander's death in
323 BC. In 305 BC, he declared himself King Ptolemy I, later known as "Soter" (saviour).
The Egyptians soon accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the pharaohs of
independent Egypt. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest of 30 BC.
All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy. Ptolemaic queens, some of
whom were the sisters of their husbands, were usually called Cleopatra, Arsinoe or
Berenice. The most famous member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII, known
for her role in the Roman political battles between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and later
between Octavian and Mark Antony. Her apparent suicide at the conquest by Rome
marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.
Ptolemies: Ptolemy I
Corinthian pillar of the Ptolemaic period, Egypt.
The first part of Ptolemy I's reign was dominated by the Wars of the Diadochi between
the various successor states to the empire of Alexander. His first object was to hold his
position in Egypt securely, and secondly to increase his domain. Within a few years he had
gained control of Libya, Coele-Syria (including Judea), and Cyprus. When Antigonus, ruler
of Syria, tried to reunite Alexander's empire, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him. In
312 BC, allied with Seleucus, the ruler of Babylonia, he defeated Demetrius, the son of
Antigonus, in the battle of Gaza.
In 311 BC, a peace was concluded between the combatants, but in 309 BC war broke out
again, and Ptolemy occupied Corinth and other parts of Greece, although he lost Cyprus
after a sea-battle in 306 BC. Antigonus then tried to invade Egypt but Ptolemy held the
frontier against him. When the coalition was renewed against Antigonus in 302 BC,
Ptolemy joined it, but neither he nor his army were present when Antigonus was
defeated and killed at Ipsus. He had instead taken the opportunity to secure Coele-Syria
and Palestine, in breach of the agreement assigning it to Seleucus, thereby setting the
scene for the future Syrian Wars. Thereafter Ptolemy tried to stay out of land wars, but
he retook Cyprus in 295 BC.
Feeling the kingdom was now secure, Ptolemy shared rule with his son Ptolemy II by Queen Berenice in 285 BC. He then may have devoted his retirement to writing a history
of the campaigns of Alexander, which is unfortunately lost but was a principal source for
the later work of Arrian. Ptolemy I died in 283 BC at the age of 84. He left a stable and
well-governed kingdom to his son.
Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who succeeded his father as King of Egypt in 283 BC, was a
peaceable and cultured king, and no great warrior. He did not need to be, because his
father had left Egypt strong and prosperous. Three years of campaigning at the start of his
reign (called the First Syrian War) left Ptolemy the master of the eastern Mediterranean,
controlling the Aegean islands and the coastal districts of Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia and
Caria. However, some of these territories were lost near the end of his reign as a result of
the Second Syrian War.
Ptolemy's first wife, Arsinoe I, daughter of Lysimachus, was the mother of his legitimate
children. After her repudiation he followed Egyptian custom and married his sister,
Arsinoë II, beginning a practice which, while pleasing to the Egyptian population, was to
have serious consequences in later reigns. The material and literary splendour of the
Alexandrian court was at its height under Ptolemy II. Callimachus, keeper of the Library of
Alexandria, Theocritus and a host of other poets, glorified the Ptolemaic family. Ptolemy
himself was eager to increase the library and to patronise scientific research. He spent
lavishly on making Alexandria the economic, artistic and intellectual capital of the
Hellenistic Greek world. It is to the academies and libraries of Alexandria that we owe the
preservation of so much Greek literary heritage.
Statue of Ptolemy III in the guise of Hermes wearing the chlamys cloak. Ptolemaic Egypt.
Ptolemy III Euergetes ("the benefactor") succeeded his father in 246 BC. He abandoned
his predecessors' policy of keeping out of the wars of the other Greek kingdoms, and
plunged into the Third Syrian War with the Seleucids of Syria, when his sister, Queen
Berenice, and her son were murdered in a dynastic dispute. Ptolemy marched
triumphantly into the heart of the Seleucid realm, as far as Babylonia, while his fleets in
the Aegean made fresh conquests as far north as Thrace.
This victory marked the zenith of the Ptolemaic power. Seleucus II Callinicus kept his
throne, but Egyptian fleets controlled most of the coasts of Asia Minor and Greece. After
this triumph Ptolemy no longer engaged actively in war, al