Summary of the ’Ancient Kings and Ancient Queens’ AMME Seminar

In the penultimate AMME seminar of fall 2023, the topic of discussion was 'Ancient Kings and Ancient Queens'. Dr. Jasmin Lukkari introduced how the Seleucid kings were described in Roman historiography, and Assist. Prof. Dr. Gillian Ramsey focused on Hellenistic queenship and the tropes that have revolved around it.

Dr. Jasmin Lukkari’s research revolves around Greek and Roman historiography especially during the Republican and Augustan era. In her presentation, she showed how the Seleucid kings Antiochus III the Great and Antiochus IV Epiphanes were characterized in Roman historiography and especially in the works of Polybius and Livy. Dr. Lukkari presented how these two writers tried to provide not just a historical narrative of the kings, but also moral and educational narratives that fit the Roman worldview of their respective times.  

An example of this narrative is seen in Livy’s work, in which he describes Antiochus III, who had waged a war against Rome, as being a ‘weak oriental despot’ whereas Antiochus IV was a shining example of Augustan propaganda and of a truly Romanized person.  

In her presentation, Assist. Prof. Dr. Gillian Ramsey revisited the violent tropes that have been attached to the Hellenistic queens, and how these tropes still affect the current historiography. Ramsey’s aim is to examine the contemporary iconography and later historical commentaries of the Seleucid queens to better understand the problems that modern categorization and definition of Hellenistic queens entails.  

As always, we would like to thank both speakers as well as all members of the audience. The next AMME seminar will be held on Thursday 14 December, when we will convene on the theme of 'Communities of the Past and Present'.