Good day thanks to be here on Alessandro III di Macedonia- blog about Alexander the Great and Hellenism, I’m Elena and today I’m sharing an interesting new publication out in a few days:
Olympias of Epirus
by Borja Antela-Bernárdez
Prologue by Elizabeth D. Carney
Publisher: Servei de Publicacions de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemus king of Molossia, wife of Philip II king of Macedonia, and mother of Alexander III (the Great), king of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian empire, was the most powerful woman of her era, a model (as well as a kind of cautionary tale) for all future Hellenistic royal women.
Borja Antela-Bernárdez, in this collection of articles, takes an imaginative, less conventional political approach to the career of Olympias. The author examines the tradition about her in scholarship, demonstrating that it remained not only sexist and hetero normative, but also retained assumptions about royal marriage grounded in modern monogamous unions, despite Philip II’s undeniable polygamy. He also pays attention to the ways in which Olympias’ religious role in various cults has been misunderstood or oversimplified by ancient and modern writers, suggesting that many of these misunderstood features originate in Olympias’ Aeacid origins and identity, and concludes reviewing the role of her religious practices and of female power in Macedonia, through her religious authority in Macedonia.
Olympias of Epirus lived and died in a world of intrigues, politics, war, struggles of power and violent successions, playing the ‘game of thrones’. She paid the price of being discredited through centuries, portrayed in an uncritical, ‘femme fatal’ fashion. Our times deserve to review this woman’s history and to revoke the damnatio memoriae against her with the careful attention and re-reading of our ancient sources.Borja Antela-Bernárdez is Full Lecturer of Ancient History at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. As a scholar, he is the author of many books and research papers, mainly on Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic world, but also on historiography (Hellenismus, 2018), Reception of antiquity (Stranger Things, 2021 – co-edited with M. Mendoza), and even lived pedagogy (Historia viva, 2019), among many others. He has also carried out an important task of dissemination, with books such as Péricles no hi és (2009) or A pesca na Gallaecia romana (2010). He is co-director and Chief Editor of the journal Karanos. Bulletin of Ancient Macedonian Studies. Now at his forties, he likes music, wine and being surrounded by people and good chats. He also believes that a better can be possible and works hard to improve it.
This is a to-read book and I’ve recently discovered that Spanish academic books have a double advantage: they are of excellent quality because signed by important names and they are also inexpensive, or they cost like normal books so they represented a new territory for me to explore!
This book is the updated, enlarged, English-language reissue of the Spanish book Apología de Olimpia del Épiro. Tres ensayos críticos published by Ediciones Clásicas (ISBN: 9788478828722).
Escribo aquí una Apología de Olimpia del Épiro, para hacer justicia. Sobre ella pesaron muchos de los juicios que pesan aun sobre las mujeres, sobre lo femenino, sobre mi gente. Justicia restaurativa, podría llamarlo. Tal vez, incluso, justicia poética, pues el tiempo, como me enseñaron mi madre y mi abuela, concede la razón en el juicio, y antes o después gana siempre quien lo merece, irremediable e inexorablemente. Justicia universal, segu- ramente. O quizás sencillamente humana, que resulta más asumible, menos pretenciosa. Aunque en este caso, la justicia ha tardado más de dos milenios, y si he de ser sincero, dudo que muchos decidan cambiar su opinión pese a los argumentos que recojo y ofrezco.
Thanks for reading and have a great week-end,