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Affective Relations and Personal Bonds in Hellenistic Antiquity (Hardback)

Studies in honor of Elizabeth D. Carney

Ancient History > Ancient Greece & the Hellenistic World P&S History > Archaeology > Archaeological Method & Theory

Edited by Edward M Anson, Edited by Monica D'Agostini, Edited by Frances Pownall
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Pages: 296
Illustrations: b/w
ISBN: 9781789254983
Published: 15th October 2020
Casemate UK Academic



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The intense bonds among the king and his family, friends, lovers, and entourage are the most enticing and intriguing aspects of Alexander the Great’s life. The affective ties of the protagonists of Alexander’s Empire nurtured the interest of the ancient authors, as well as the audience, in the personal life of the most famous men and women of the time. These relations echoed through time in art and literature, to become paradigm of positive or negative, human behavior.


By rejecting the perception of the Macedonian monarchy as a positivist king-army based system, and by looking for other political and social structures Elizabeth Carney has played a crucial role in prompting the current re-appraisal of the Macedonian monarchy. Her volumes on Women and Monarchy in Ancient Macedonia (University of Oklahoma Press, 2000), Olympias: Mother of Alexander the Great (Routledge, 2006), Arsinoë of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life. (Oxford University Press, 2013) have been game-changers in the field and has offered the academic world a completely new perspective on the network of relationships surrounding the exercise of power. By examining Macedonian and Hellenistic dynastic behavior and relations, she has shown the political yet tragic, heroic thus human side, thus connecting Hellenistic political and social history.


Building on the methodological approach and theoretical framework engendered by Elizabeth Carney’s research, this book explores the complex web of personal relations, inside and outside the oikos (family), governing Alexander’s world, which sits at the core of the inquiry into the human side of the events shedding light light on the personal dimension of history. Inspired by Carney’s seminal work on Ancient Macedonia, the volume moves beyond the traditionally rationalist and positivist approaches towards Hellenistic antiquity, into a new area of humanistic scholarship, by considering the dynastic bloodlines as well as the affective relations. The volume offers a discussion of the intra and extra familial network ruling the Mediterranean world at the time of Philip and Alexander. Building on present scholarship on relations and values in Hellenistic Monarchies, the book contributes to a deeper historical understanding of the mutual dialogue between the socio-cultural and political approaches to Hellenistic history.

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