Iranian Office-Holders in the Macedonian Empire (Argeads and Seleucids)

Recorded: July 6, 2023
Event: Achaemenid Workshop 2
Citation: Strootman, Rolf. "Iranian Office-Holders in the Macedonian Empire (Argeads and Seleucids)." Pourdavoud Institute: Achaemenid Workshop 2 (July 6, 2023).

by Rolf Strootman (University of Utrecht)

Alexander III famously co-opted Persian nobles for the management of his empire, and initiated a policy of intermarriage with the leading families of the former Achaemenid Empire. Alexander’s ‘Iranian policy’ is considered a failure in conventional scholarship. But his principal successors in western Asia, first the early Antigonids and then the Seleukids, successfully continued this policy. Iran and Iranians in fact were of pivotal importance especially to Seleukid rule and military power during the third century BCE. Seleukid decline in the course of the second century BCE allowed local Iranian dynasties to reassert themselves in the peripheries of the Seleukid world. Challenging the modernist interpretation of the so-called ‘Persian Revival’ of the later Hellenistic Period as a form of national resistance to foreign rule, my paper aims to trace the development of Iranian elites between the fall of the Achaemenids and rise of the Arsakids, and their political and cultural significance in the period of Macedonian domination.

About the Speaker

Rolf Strootman teaches Ancient History and World History at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research focuses on empire and cultural interactions in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Central Asia during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. He is the author of Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires (2014) and The Birdcage of the Muses: Patronage of the Arts and Sciences at the Ptolemaic Imperial Court (2016), as well as a number of edited volumes, including Persianism in Antiquity (2016; co-edited with M. J. Versluys) and Empires of the Sea: Maritime Power Networks in World History (2019; with F. van den Eijnde and R. van Wijk). He is currently preparing two volumes of the Seleukid Empire.