PSCO Presentation: 27 February, 2014

Selections from Antiquities 12–16 (Alexander the Great to the Death of Herod)

Paul Kosmin (Harvard)


Our fourth meeting of this year’s PSCO will be Thursday, February 27 at 7:00–9:00 pm in the Second Floor Lounge of Cohen Hall. Our theme this year is “Rethinking Josephus’ Antiquities”. Paul Kosmin will guide our discussion of books 12–16. The Department of Classical Studies is co-sponsoring this session. We hope that those attending will plan to read books 12–16 in advance and bring their own ideas, questions, etc., about it as well.


Prof. Kosmin is Assistant Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. His dissertation (Seleucid Space: The Ideology and Practice of Territory in the Seleucid Empire) examined the relationship between the kings of the Seleucid dynasty and the landscape, from Bactria to Thrace, over which they ruled. More generally, he is interested in Hellenistic kingship and imperialism, ancient ethnography, interactions between the Greek and Near Eastern worlds, and Greek epigraphy. Current projects include a study of Ptolemaic ethnography and an investigation of the role of magical rituals in city-state politics.

Audio Recording

Here is an audio recording of this session.

Example of Wall with Inscriptions of Decrees and Imperial Letters

Aphrodisias: theatre's northern parodos

source: Inscriptions of Aphrodisias

Suggested Readings

In preparation for our discussion, he has asked us to please read the following excerpts:

  • The Acta — Ant. 14.186–267; 305–323; 16.160–178
  • The Death of Antiochus IV — Ant. 12.354–359; 2 Maccabees 1.10–17, 9.1–17; Polybius 31.9
  • The Desolation and Restoration of the Temple — 1 Macc. 1; 4; Ant. 12.237–256; 7.305–326

If possible, also skim through the whole of 1 Macc. and Ant. 12.241–13.214. As usual, the text for the Antiquities can be found online at, although note that only the Whiston translation is available there.

Meeting and Dining

All are welcome! As usual, those wishing to dine together before the seminar will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Second-Floor Lounge of Cohen Hall and then go next door to the food court in Houston Hall. Or just meet us in the Houston Hall downstairs food-court between 6:00pm and 6:45pm.

As usual, the PSCO seminar will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. We meet in the Second-Floor Lounge of Cohen Hall.