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Title: Palaces and elite residences in the Hellenistic East, late fourth to early first century BC : formation and purpose
Author: Kopsacheili, Maria
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis investigates the morphology and the purpose of palaces in major and minor kingdoms of the Hellenistic World. Elements of architecture, spatial organisation and decoration are analysed in the attempt to clarify issues of chronology and in order to identify function. The analysis places the material into its social and ideological context by taking into consideration the role of kingship ideologies in the formation of space used by royal courts. Comparison with residences of the elite demonstrates the reception of palaces not only as architectural models, but also as mechanisms of power manifestation. Macedonia is the starting point of the discussion as the homeland of the first Hellenistic kings. In the light of evidence recovered in the last twenty years and not comparatively studied before, the chapter brings together various chronological phases of the buildings. Questions of definition and on sources of inspiration are clarified further in the following chapters. The third chapter uses textual evidence and finds from the royal district of Alexandria to understand the meaning of palace architecture for the Ptolemies, while the seat of a local official in Transjordania reveals mechanisms of emulation. In chapter four the case of Pergamene palaces and their relationship with residences in the city demonstrates that formation of these royal seats corresponded to ideals of Attalid kingship. Seats of officials in the Seleukid Empire and palaces in Bactria and Kommagene, the subject of the fifth chapter, provide an insight into the position of palace architecture in processes of hybridisation in material culture. The last chapter is a synthesis of patterns of form and function and unifies the conclusions for each separate region. It emerges that shifts in power relations and the structure of the royal court, especially towards the end of the third century BC, were a crucial factor in shaping palace forms. The concluding chapter also provides a view from the West: examples from the late Roman Republic indicate that the role of Hellenistic palaces as models for power display went beyond the limits of royal courts.
Supervisor: Smith, R. R. R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Architecture ; Visual art and representation ; Archeology ; Greek archeology ; History of the ancient world ; History of Architecture ; Hellenistic architecture ; Hellenistic kingship ; palaces ; spatial function ; Antigonids ; Hellenistic Middle East