Open Seminar: Metaphors for Political Power from the Sumerian to the Seleucids

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Greek History and Culture Seminars

In the Garden of Gods: Metaphors for Political Power from the Sumerian to the Seleucedes

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides, senior lecturer in Classical Studies at Monash, will present a lecture entitled “In the Garden of Gods: Metaphors for Political Power from the Sumerian to the Seleucedes”, at the Ithacan Philanthropic Society, on Thursday 6 April 2017 at 7:00pm, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

“My presentation, drawing on chapter four of my recent book In the Garden of the Gods, discusses the appropriation of eastern cults by Seleucus I Nicator and his son Antiochus in their struggle to establish their dynasty,” says Ms Anagnostou-Laoutides. “I examine the roles of Zeus and Apollo, the foremost divine protectors of the Seleucids, against near eastern royal traditions. I argue that the founding members of the dynasty had an intimate knowledge of Babylonian traditions that celebrated Šamaš, the Sun god, as protector of royal legitimacy and Marduk as warrantor of military supremacy and that they employed these traditions meticulously to promote their claim to kingship.”

By encouraging the identification of Marduk and Nabû with Zeus and Apollo respectively, Seleucus and Antiochus mirrored the father-son relationship of the gods.

She will also examines the importance of royal gardens under the Seleucids in connection with “sacred marriage” and akītu (New Year) ceremonies which the Hellenistic kings embraced enthusiastically.    

Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides holds degrees in Classical Studies from Aristotle University, the University of Leeds and the University of Kent at Canterbury as well as in Ancient History from Macquarie University. She has published extensively on various aspects of ancient mythology and religion and their appropriation in ancient political agendas. Her most recent book is In the Garden of the Gods: Models of Kingship from the Sumerians to the Seleucids (London and New York: Routledge, 2017). Recently she was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship on a project that examines Platonic inebriation and its reception in late antiquity and the Middle Ages.  


When: Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 7.00pm

Where: Ithacan Philanthropic Society (Level 2, 329 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne)

FREE Admission

More info: or +61 3 9662 2722


More information: 9662 2722

Level 3, 168 Lonsdale St., Melbourne, Vic. 3000

Phone: +61 3 9662 2722, Email:, 

A Surprise City in Thessaly

Trenches Greece Vlochos siteTrenches Greece Vlochos potsherd(SIA/EFAK/YPPOA)

Top: Site of Vlochos, Greece; Above: Potsherd Archaeologists have identified the unexpected remains of a large, 2,500-year-old Greek settlement in western Thessaly.
The existence of the hilltop site, near the modern village of Vlochos, had been known for more than two centuries, but had never been systematically investigated. 

Although large defensive walls were visible in some places, experts had long believed that the ancient settlement was fairly insignificant. This opinion changed when a Greek-Swedish team recently discovered the existence of a complex urban center. 

The team was stunned when the results of their geophysical survey indicated that the ancient site is spread across 100 acres and boasts an organized, orthogonal, or gridded street plan. 

Scholars believe that the town flourished in the fourth and third centuries B.C. before being abandoned. 

“The work at Vlochos gives a rare insight into the development and outline of a typical Thessalian city,” says University of Gothenburg archaeologist Robin Rönnlund.

“It shows that even midsize settlements of this region were quite sophisticated in their spatial outline.”

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