The Hellenistic Age, the era between the deaths of Alexander the Great and Cleopatra VII, was a period of significant transformation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The fragmentation of Alexander's empire gave birth to dynasties that shared a Graeco-Macedonian culture while assimilating with their subject populations. Macedonian kings dominated the eastern Mediterranean, their prayers recorded in Akkadian in Babylonia, their portraits sculpted in the manner of pharaohs in Egypt, their troops in the Piraeus; Greek communities flourished along the Nile, and Greek philosophy reached furthest Bactria. The Antigonids, the Seleucids, the Ptolemies — it is this world we examine when we study the Hellenistic Age.
Academic interest in this era is on the rise, and the MSc in the Hellenistic World draws on our wide range of expertise within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. The 15 members of the Classics subject area profess an exceptionally wide range of expertise in classical literature, ancient Philosophy, ancient history, and classical art and archaeology. Our particular strength is Hellenistic history and culture, but our extensive research interests also include: Hellenistic monarchy and historiography, Egypt, Persia, the Hellenistic city, art, poetry, gender, and the reception of the Hellenistic world.
Scholars and students alike are recognizing the wealth of information to be mined from diverse, disparate, sometimes frustrating, but always rewarding source materials of the period. Since its inception this programme has proved very successful in recruiting and training postgraduates at Masters level and steering them towards PhD programmes. Regular international conferences and workshops, meetings of eminent Hellenistic scholars and a wealth of distinguished publications have established the University of Edinburgh as a major player in the world of Hellenistic studies, and the future of this field looks bright.
This article was published on Feb 28, 2011