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Hellenistic Queens Essay

Uploaded by Panda05 on Dec 22, 2004

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...

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Uploaded by:   Panda05

Date:   12/22/2004

Category:   History

Length:   5 pages (1,216 words)

Views:   6452

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