, , , , ,

I. Introduction

The Diadochic Kingdoms

No area of Western history is quite as recondite as that of the Diadochic empires, the successor-kingdoms that sprang up in the wake of Alexander the Great’s meteoric campaigns (334 – 323 BC) to subdue Asia under militaristic Hellenism.  Educated people know that the unity of Alexander’s Imperium, ever tenuous and improvisatory, broke down immediately on his death, when his “companions” fell to bellicose squabbling over bleeding chunks of the whole.  Of Ptolemy’s Macedonian Egypt, most educated people also probably know something – largely because the realm’s newly built Greek metropolis, Alexandria, became culturally the most important polis of the Mediterranean world, and it retained its status even after Octavian conquered Cleopatra and brought her Macedonian rump-state into Rome’s emergent world-federation.  To make the transition from the historically known to the historically unknown requires, however, only that one switch focus from the Ptolemaic kingdom in the Nile Delta to its next-door neighbor, the Seleucid kingdom or state.  The equivocation is deliberate.  The prize that Seleucus grabbed in the wars of succession stretched in geographic space from Syria and Cilicia, and associated insular territories, eastward through portions of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor into the hinterlands of Parthia and Bactria.  Nominally a kingdom, the borders of the Seleucid realm, as distinct from those of the more stable Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt, were, like the Heraclitean river, in perpetual flux.  Over the centuries, moreover, the Seleucid kingdom steadily withdrew in the direction of the sunrise, sacrificing its vulnerable western regions for the defensibility of its eastern keeps, until in its last act, as the remnant Greco-Bactrian principality, it attempted to perpetuate itself against political mortality by an exodus-through-conquest from Central Asia across the Hindu Kush into Northern India…

Continue reading at: René Guénon and Eric Voegelin on the Degeneration of Right Order [Part I]