It’s time to begin another year of Topics on Tap!
Topics on Tap is an informal lecture series in the History Department that is open to undergraduates, graduates, and faculty members. The format is a talk of 45 minutes in length, followed by a question and discussion period.
It’s a casual setting and everyone is welcome to come out, hear about the exciting research being done in the department, and share in some free beer and good cheer!
Our first session is this Friday, September 30th at 5pm in Thomson House, Room 406.
Our speaker will be Alexander McAuley, a PhD Candidate in Ancient History and Classical Studies. After completing his BA in Ancient History and Canadian History at McGill, Alex completed his Masters in Classics at the University of Edinburgh and has now returned to McGill for his doctorate. His lecture will involve “The Creation of Identity in Early Antioch.”
The inherent artificiality of the foundation of Antioch-on-the-Orontes by Seleucus I necessitated the creation of a cohesive civic identity that was accomplished by the nuanced interaction of the King with the city’s as-yet disparate populace. This process gave rise to one of the most deeply-entrenched senses of civic solidarity in antiquity that would endure into the Roman Imperial period and beyond, yet emerged almost immediately after the city’s foundation. In this paper, Alex aims to analyze the creation of the city’s early identity by considering its robust mythical tradition in the context of its historical development. The myths themselves, though doubtless an embroidered artefact, nonetheless contain some kernel of historicity to be gleaned from their analysis, and he will argue that the tradition as a whole reveals the hands of both the king and the city’s population in their early formulation. The city’s early cultic geography will be considered in relation to its mythical tradition to reveal which myths were given monumental recognition by royal benefaction and why. Following this detailed analysis of the city’s earliest years, a brief survey of its longer-term development will illustrate the manner in which the emergent demos interacted with Seleucid monarchs with a striking degree of solidarity and coherence.
As Alex argues, considering who was the formative agent behind which aspects of the city’s identity will elucidate the balance of power within the city, and hopefully shed some light on the relationship between Hellenistic founder and Hellenistic foundation.