Royalty in the ancient world

The latest issue of Ancient History has been sent off to the printer’s. Issue 10 deals with the theme ‘royalty in the ancient world’. This was quite a difficult theme to distil down into approximately 40 pages of articles, but I like to think we’ve succeeded. In selecting the articles, I wanted to show different forms of monarchy, and also touch on related subjects, such as tyranny in the ancient Greek world.

Royalty in the ancient world

The different articles themselves focus mainly on the Graeco-Roman world. My historical introduction touches also on Egyptian and Mesopotamian forms of kingship. The map on page 8, by Maxime Plasse, serves as a reference for the rest of the issue and features important places mentioned in the articles. The cover features a dramatic reconstruction by Radu Oltean of an Assyrian lion hunt, with some elucidating text by Arianna Sacco.

This issue’s ‘Source’ article, by Eugenia Russell, deals with how ancient Greek writers extolled the virtues of kingship, especially when compared to such supposedly ‘broken’ forms of government as democracy (see also issue 9 on Classical Athens). With Guy Middleton, we travel back to the Aegean Bronze Age. Middleton discusses Mycenaean kingship, including the hypothesis that all of the Mycenaean world, at least towards the end of the thirteenth century, was ruled by a single Great King in the manner of Near-Eastern kingdoms, such as the Hittite Empire.

Matthew Lloyd’s article deals with the phenomenon of princely burials in the Mediterranean between ca. 1000 and 500 BC, and includes a great picture by Marek Szyszko depicting a Cypriote burial. Andrew Calimach presents a third-century Corinthian myth. It condemns tyrants as predators, depicting them as rapists of boys, and likening them to savage dogs.

The article by Joshua Hall shifts our attention to Italy as he discusses the seven canonical kings of Rome, from the legendary founder Romulus to Tarquinius Superbus, who was expelled in 509 BC. A curious aspect of Roman kings is that they did not inherit the throne; they were elected. We move further ahead in time with Michael Taylor’s article on Hellenistic kings, with particular emphasis on Philip II. This article also features the centrefold by Seán Ó’Brógáin.

Giuseppe Restaino’s contribution deals with Nero’s fabled ‘Golden House’. This Domus Aurea is also reconstructed in all its splendour by Rocío Espin. Rebecca Batley has written an article on a famous empress, namely Vibia Sabina, the wife of Emperor Hadrian. Finally, I’ve written two pages with recommendations on books in case you want to explore this issue’s theme further.

The non-theme-related articles

The non-theme-related articles deal with a broad variety of subjects. Marc G. DeSantis discusses the connections between the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and the ancient world. This issue’s ‘Myth’ article has been written by Tang Long and deals with Nu Wa, the Chinese goddess of life. Holger Michiels’s article deals with ancient technology, and in particular ancient anchors – which are a lot more modern than you might perhaps guess.

As always, this issue features another instalment of ‘Hollywood Romans’. This time, Graham Sumner discusses the movie King of Kings (1961), starring Jeffrey Hunter (who would later play Captain Christopher Pike in the first Star Trek pilot episode, ‘The Cage’). This issue’s instalment of ‘Graphic History’, again illustrated by Fausto Bica and written by yours truly, focuses on Periander, the tyrant of Corinth.

Closing remarks

I hope the foregoing has made you excited about this newest issue of Ancient History! If so, you can pre-order it in our web shop. Of course, you can also subscribe to the magazine to never miss another issue. Be sure to let me know what you think about this issue in particular and the magazine in general; I’m always keen to read feedback.

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