of the Antigonid and Seleucid kingdoms may have been, it is clear that they were far from enjoying the affluence of the Ptolemaic. During the first Seleucid reigns indeed the revenues of Asia may have filled its treasuries (see Just. xvii. 2, 13), but Antiochus III. already at his accession found them depleted (Polyb. v. 50, 1), and from his reign financial embarrassment, coupled with extravagant expenditure, was here the usual condition of things. Perseus, the last of the Antigonid house, amassed a substantial treasure for the expenses of the supreme struggle with Rome (Polyb. xviii. 35, 4; Liv. xlv, 40), but it was by means of almost miserly economies.
Special officials were naturally attached to the service of the finances. Over the whole department in the Seleucid realm there presided a single chief (ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν προσόδων, App. Syr. 45). How far the financial administration was removed from the competence of the provincial governors, as it seems to have been in Alexander’s system, we cannot say. Seleucus at any rate, as satrap of Babylonia, controlled the finances of the province (Diod. xix. 55, 3), and so, in the Ptolemaic system, did the governor of Cyprus (Polyb. xxvii. 13). The fact that provincial officials ἐπὶ πῶν προσόδων (in Eriza, Bull. corr. hell. xv. 556) are found does not prove anything, since it leaves open the question of their being subordinate to the governor.
With the exception of Ptolemaic Egypt, the Macedonian kingdoms followed in their coinage that of Alexander. Money was for a long while largely struck with Alexander’s own image and superscription; the gold and silver 5. Coinage. coined in the names of Antigonid and Seleucid kings and by the minor principalities of Asia, kept to the Attic standard which Alexander had established. Only in Egypt Ptolemy I. adopted, at first the Rhodian, and afterwards the Phoenician, standard, and on this latter standard the Ptolemaic money was struck during the subsequent centuries. Money was also struck in their own name by the cities in the several dynasties’ spheres of power, but in most cases only bronze or small silver for local use. Corinth, however, was allowed to go on striking staters under Antigonus Gonatas; Ephesus, Cos and the greater cities of Phoenicia retained their right of coinage under Seleucid or Ptolemaic supremacy.
In language and manners the courts of Alexander’s successors were Greek. Even the Macedonian dialect, which it was considered proper for the kings to use on occasion, was often forgotten (Plut. Ant. 27). The Oriental features which 6. The Court. Alexander had introduced were not copied. There was no proskynesis (or certainly not in the case of Greeks and Macedonians), and the king did not wear an Oriental dress. The symbol of royalty, it is true, the diadem, was suggested by the head-band of the old Persian kings (Just. xii. 3, 8); but, whereas, that had been an imposing erection, the Hellenistic diadem was a simple riband. The king’s state dress was the same in principle as that worn by the Macedonian or Thessalian horsemen, as the uniform of his own cavalry officers. Its features were the broad-brimmed hat (kausia), the cloak (chlamys) and the high-laced boots (krepīdes) (Plut. Ant. 54; Frontinus, iii. 2, 11). These, in the case of the king, would be of richer material, colour and adornment. The diadem could be worn round the kausia; the chlamys offered scope for gorgeous embroidery; and the boots might be crimson felt (see the description of Demetrius’ chlamys and boots, Plut. Dem. 41). There were other traces in the Hellenistic courts of the old Macedonian tradition besides in dress. One was the honour given to prowess in the chase (Polyb. xxii. 3, 8; Diod. xxxiv. 34). Another was the fashion for the king to hold wassail with his courtiers, in which he unbent to an extent scandalous to the Greeks, dancing or indulging in routs and practical jokes.
The prominent part taken by the women of the royal house was a Macedonian characteristic. The history of these kingdoms furnishes a long list of queens and princesses who were ambitious and masterful politicians, of which the great Cleopatra is the last and the most famous. The kings after Alexander, with the exception of Demetrius Poliorcetes and Pyrrhus, are not found to have more than one legitimate wife at a time, although they show unstinted freedom in divorce and the number of their mistresses. The custom of marriages between brothers and sisters, agreeable to old Persian as to old Egyptian ethics, was instituted in Egypt by the second Ptolemy when he married his full sister Arsinoë Philadelphus. It was henceforth common, though not invariable, among the Ptolemies. At the Seleucid court there seems to be an instance of it in 195, when the heir-apparent, Antiochus, married his sister Laodice. The style of “sister” was given in both courts to the queen, even when she was not the king’s sister in reality (Strack, Dynastie, Nos. 38, 40, 43; Archiv. f. Papyr, i. 205). The “Friends” of the king are often mentioned. It is usual for him to confer with a council (συνέδριον) of his “Friends” before important decisions, administrative, military or judicial (e.g. Polyb. v. 16, 5; 22, 8). They form a definite body about the king’s person (φίλων σύνταγμα, Polyb. xxxi. 3, 7); cf. οἱ φίλοι in contrast with αἱ δυνάμεις, id. v. 50, 9), admission into which depends upon his favour alone, and is accorded, not only to his subjects, but to aliens, such as the Greek refugee politicians (e.g. Hegesianax, Athen. iv. 155b; Hannibal and the Aetolian Thoas take part in the councils of Antiochus III. A similar body, with a title corresponding to φίλοι, is found in ancient Egypt (Erman, Ancient Egypt, Eng. trans., p. 72) and in Persia (Spiegel. Eran. Alt. iii. 626); but some such support is so obviously required by the necessities of a despot’s position that we need not suppose it derived from any particular precedent. The Friends (at any rate under the later Seleucid and Ptolemaïc reigns) were distinguished by a special dress and badge of gold analogous to the stars and crosses of modern orders. The dress was of crimson (πορφύρα); this and the badges were the king’s gift, and except by royal grant neither crimson nor gold might, apparently, be worn at court (1 Macc. 10, 20; 62; 89; 11, 58; Athen. v. 211b). The order of Friends was organized in a hierarchy of ranks, which were multiplied as time went on. In Egypt we find them classified as συγγενεῖς, ὁμότιμοι τοῖς συγγενέσιν, ἀρχισωματοφύλακες, πρῶτοι φίλοι, φίλοι (in the narrower sense), διάδοχοι. For the Seleucid kingdom συγγενεῖς, πρῶτοι φίλοι and φίλοι are mentioned. These classes do not appear in Egypt before the 2nd century; Strack conjectures that they were created in imitation of the Seleucid court. We have no direct evidence as to the institutions of the Seleucid court in the 3rd century. Certain σωματοφύλακες of Antiochus I. are mentioned, but we do not know whether the name was not then used in its natural sense (Strack, Rhein. Mus. LV., 1900, p. 161 seq.; Wilamowitz, Archiv f. Pap. I., p. 225; Beloch, Gr. Gesch. iii (i), p. 391). As to Macedonia, whatever may have been the constitution of the court, it is implied that it offered in its externals a sober plainness in comparison with the vain display and ceremonious frivolities of Antioch and Alexandria (Polyb. xvi, 22, 5; Plut. Cleom. 31; Arat, 15). The position of a Friend did not carry with it necessarily any functions; it was in itself purely honorary. The ministers and high officials were, on the other hand, regularly invested with one or other of the ranks specified. The chief of these ministers is denoted ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν πραγμάτων, and he corresponds to the vizier of the later East. All departments of government are under his supervision, and he regularly holds the highest rank of a kinsman. When the king is a minor, he acts as guardian or regent (ἐπίτροπος). Over different departments of state we find a state secretary (ἐπιστολογράφος or ὑπομνηματογράφος: Seleucid, Polyb. xxxi, 3, 16; Ptolemaic, Strack, Inschriften 103) and a minister of finance (ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν προσόδων in the Seleucid kingdom; App. Syr. 45; διοικήτης in Egypt, Lumbroso, Econ. Pol. p. 339). Under each of these great heads of departments was a host of lower officials, those, for instance, who held to the province a relation analogous to that of the head of the department of the realm. Such a provincial authority is described as ἐπὶ τῶν προσόδων in the inscription of Eriza (Bull. corr. hell.
- Antiochus Epiphanes was an extreme case. For the Antigonid court see Diog. Laërt. vii. 13; Plut. Arat. 17; for the Seleucid, Athen. iv. 155b; v. 211a; for the Ptolemaic, Diog. L. vii. 177; Athen. vi. 246c; Plut. Cleom. 33; Just. xxx. 1.