David K. Coblentz
Examines special topics in history.
In barely a decade, Alexander the Great crushed the armies of Achaemenid Persia, annexed most of the Great King's far-flung empire, was hailed as a son of Zeus-Amon by the oracle at Siwah, burned the sacred city of Persepolis, sailed down the Indus, received divine honors from many Greek cities, and then died without warning and without adult offspring at the peak of his political power. Alexander left behind what was perhaps the most experienced and talented cadre of marshals who ever stalked the Hellenic world. Many of these Macedonian aristocrats, in possession of vast territories, centuries of stockpiled tribute to a dozen Persian kings, and tens of thousands of veteran soldiers, had the means and the will to join the surviving members of the royal family in the struggle for power after Alexander’s death. In doing so, they ripped apart the world known to them as they fought for decades to control Greece and the Near East.
This seminar invites students to explore how and why one piece of Alexander’s vast empire, Macedonia, was first devastated and then put back together after he died, ultimately becoming a stable and powerful state, dominating Greece, and resisting even Roman expansion. Particular attention will be paid to different strategies employed by ancient Mediterranean polities for stability and warfare.
Student learning goals
Understand the role post-Alexander Macedonia played in ancient history
Be able to think about political power in ancient monarchies, oligarchies, and democracies
Discuss Roman and Macedonian imperialism
Be familiar with some aspects of Roman and Macedonian military history
General method of instruction
Classes will be a mixture of lecture and discussion - using beginning with an overview/summary of the material and then proceeding to discussion.
Some knowledge of ancient Mediterranean history will be useful but is not absolutely necessary. Students without any prior exposure to ancient history are advised to contact me before class begins.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be evaluated based on class participation and three five page essays. Class participants will be allowed to revise one essay of their choosing.