Hellenistic Queens

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Hellenistic Queens Essay About three hundred years before the Christian era women from Macedonia in the Hellenistic era showed an ability to lead.

As in the case of men, these opportunities were greatest for women of wealth.

The great queens such as Arsinoe II and Cleopatra VII of Egypt are most prominent in the ancient sources, but even some Greek cities allowed women to hold minor public offices in return for their willingness to use their wealth for civic purposes.

Education also created opportunities for some women, including both upper-class intellectuals such as the Cynic philosopher Hipparchia and women from more modest backgrounds such as the professional musician Polygnota of Thebes, whose career is documented in a series of inscriptions from Delphi.

These women had great prestige and influence and in some cases great political power, although they did not achieve their positions by inheritance or by conquest but by marriage.

In the first chapter Grace Harriet Macurdy wrote on Queens in Macedonia.

Eurydice was the daughter of the mysterious King of Elimiotis.

Eurydice was the proto type of all the wicked queens of Macedonian blood in Macedonia, in Seleucid Syria, and later Ptolemaic Egypt.

The queens before Eurydice evidently had no independent power.

Eurydice was the first queen of Macedonia who learned to read and write as a queen-widow she possessed large estates and great prestige, which likely contributed to the greatness of her son Philip.Olympias, the wife of Philip of Macedon and mother of Alexander the Great, was held in high respect.

Olympias in her early-married life was a good and religious woman, but after Philip and Olympias had lived together for over fifty years Philip fell in love with a young Macedonian lady.

She was placed in a good strategic position by Philip's death.

Her daughter was queen of the Molossi and her son was king of Macedonia, and with that she had a high position in both kingdoms.

In the mean time Olympias plotted the deaths of her husband's mistress and her bastard children.

Olympias gain control of the country Epirus for a period of time, where she lived in a castle which numerous henchmen to do her bidding.

Alexander the great remarked with reference to his mother Olympias, when she took charge of affairs in Epirus,¡¨ The Macedonians will never endure to have a woman for their king.¡¨ From the time of her husband's murder until 331 BC, a time of five years, Olympias remained mistress of the Macedonian court.

She had a very strong influence over her son, but she failed to get the political power on which her heart was set on. In Chapter 2 the author briefly identified the first Seleucid queen.

When Alexander himself took a Persian princess.

Apame was the only one of the ladies married a thither wedding ¡Vfeast to become the ancestress of a line of Hellenistic kings.

Apame married Magas of Cyrene and was the mother of Berenice II of Egypt and Stratonice.

Little is known of her life except that it is clear from inscriptions that she was zealous in the observance of religious rites.

Laodice was the first woman of the Seleucid dynasty to show the masterful and managing Donian woman of the ruling houses.

History has recorded no good of Laodice.

She orchestrated many murders to keep her children in line for the throne.

She was an energetic woman who owed her power to the facts that she was the mother of heirs to the throne who were minors at the time of their father's death, and that she was strong in defending their rights.In the closing chapters the Ptolemaic queens take full circle.

Arsinoe was born in Macedonia, the northern Greek province that had expanded under Alexander the Great to dominate much of the Mediterranean world.

Because no single leader was influential enough to take Alexander's place, upon his death the kingdom was divided among his generals.

Arsinoe's father, Ptolemy, received one of the prize pieces: Egypt and Libya.

He and his family settled in Alexandria, the great new city set on a ridge in the Nile Delta.

Here Arsinoe probably received a finishing-school education.

At sixteen, Arsinoe was married to Lysimachus, a 45-year-old military leader from the Greek province of Thrace.

Thrace had often rebelled against Macedonian domination, and after Alexander's death it tried again.

Arsinoe's father no doubt arranged this marriage to make Thrace an ally.

For fifteen years Arsinoe lived the relatively stable life of an upper-class military wife.

But in 285 B.C.

her father abdicated his throne to her brother.

Shortly thereafter her mother died, followed by her father in 283 and her husband in 281.

Arsinoe's three sons' lives were in danger as potential threats to Ptolemy II.

Arsinoe asked the Macedonian king, her half-brother, for asylum.

According to custom, she married this brother to assure herself and son's safety and royal position.

Apparently she helped to have her stepson killed so he could not preempt her children's presumption to the Macedonian throne.

But the king subsequently had two of her sons put to death.

Soon after this he himself died.

Arsinoe and her surviving son, Ptolemaeus, returned to Egypt.

In Alexandria, Arsinoe married her full brother, Ptolemy II, whose power had presumably grown secure during her absence.

Because of her popularity with the people, Arsinoe's presence enhanced his stature.

But in addition Arsinoe was an able advisor and administrator.

It was probably she who continued to attract to Alexandria the circle of brilliant scholars, writers and artists who expanded the library her father had founded.

Only through Arsinoe's skill in foreign policy did Ptolemy II win his campaign against the other great Macedonian satellite, Syria.

For her contribution, he had her deified.

In 271, only 45 and at the height of her powers, Arsinoe died.

Ptolemy II continued to cite her name in connection with royal decrees, and some of his people continued to worship her as a goddess.

If three of the most famous and extraordinary princesses of Macedonian blood should be selected, the obvious choices would be Olympias of Macedonia, Arsinoe, and Cleopatra the Seventh.

Of the three Arsinoe was the greatest politically.

Berenice II, daughter of Arsinoe II and Ptolemy II, wife of Ptolemy III, sole heir to Cyrene, vast income from shipping and trade; governed in Egypt while husband was on military expeditions; sponsored race horses at Panhellenic games; was an accomplished equestrian; was honored with portraiture on coins; praised by poet Callimachus, killed by one son for trying to advance career of other son, honored as goddess after death with priestess awarded precedence over other priest.

The Author proved the substantial affect of the Queens on the Hellenistic time period.

Women were granted citizenship and political rights for diplomatic, economic, cultural services throughout the Greek-speaking world.

They owned more than half the property at Sparta, served as purchasers, sellers, leasers and lessees, borrowers and lenders, and taxpayers of property.

Royal women including mother, wives, sisters, and daughters played an important role in public affairs received envoys, obtained commissions for husbands or sons, built temples, founded cities, engaged mercenary soldiers, commanded armies, held fortresses, acted as co-rulers with males or as regents for sons, entered Pan Hellenic equestrian competitions, and were made goddesses with important priestesses after death.