Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Review of Engels, Benefactors, Kings, Rulers

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: David Engels, Benefactors, Kings, Rulers: Studies on the Seleukid Empire between East and West. Studia Hellenistica, 57. Leuven; Paris; Bristol, CT: Peeters, 2017. Pp. xiii, 603. ISBN 9789042933279. €110,00 (pb). Reviewed by Reinhard Pirngruber, Austrian Academy of Sciences (reinhard.pirngruber@univie.ac.at).
The volume under review collects fourteen essays, nine of which have previously been published (partly in German) between 2010 and 2017 in different journals and conference volumes. 1 Engels’ ambitious aim is to locate the “morphological place” (p. 9) occupied by the Seleucid Empire in the longue durĂ©e of the history of the Ancient Near East, as successor to the Achaemenids and precursor of the Parthian Empire; his focus is on the “Seleukid Empire as a historical phenomenon per se” (p.11). The book is divided into four sections containing three chapters each, which are framed by a brief introduction (Chapter One) outlining the scope of the book and providing summaries of all essays, and as an epilogue (Chapter Fourteen) an attempt at comparison between the construction of the Seleucid Empire and 19th-century CE colonialism organized around quotes from R. Kipling’s story The Man who would be King.

I noted the publication of the book here. I like to keep track of work on the Seleucid Empire, because of its background importance for understanding Judaism of the Second Temple Era. Other relevant recent posts are here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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