Short Conference Description
This collaborative project seeks to revisit a watershed period of World History that saw Rome, one of the longest lasting empires of all time, rise to become the sole superpower in the Mediterranean, while, at the same time, the Seleukid kingdom - one of the largest in the ancient world - was slowly but steadily disintegrating. The Seleukids had established themselves as the strongest of all of the 'Successor Kings' after the death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE), and their territory extended as far as Thrace in the West and Bactria in the East for about a century (312/281 - 190). The kingdom's demise started after it suffered military defeat at the hands of the Romans (191/190), but this did not trigger its collapse; the dynasty dragged on for more than another century, without further Roman military intervention. Thus, Roman military prowess cannot sufficiently explain the shift of power in the 2nd century BCE; why, then, was the Seleukid Dynasty able to persist for so long? Both the importance and complexity of this development requires a truly interdisciplinary approach by an international team of experts for its elucidation. The Seleukid Study Group offers an ideal context for this kind of research, since it not only brings together leading Seleukid historians with differing geographical, thematic or linguistic experience, but also includes renowned scholars of Roman foreign policy. Initiated at Waterloo, Ontario in 2010, this caucus has quickly established research on the Seleukid Empire as a vibrant new trend in Canadian Classical Studies. With host institutions alternating between Canada and Europe, the extent of both national and international participation has been growing ever since: 12 countries will be involved in 2015.
AUGUST 21-23, 2015