Cover: Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire, from Harvard University PressCover: Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire in PAPERBACK

Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$30.00 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674271227

Publication Date: 03/22/2022

Text

392 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

39 photos, 5 maps, 5 tables

Belknap Press

World

Also Available As

Jacket: Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire

HARDCOVER | $60.00

ISBN 9780674976931

Text

Add to Cart

Educators: Request an Exam Copy (Learn more)

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

“Tells the story of how the Seleucid Empire revolutionized chronology by picking a Year One and counting from there, rather than starting a new count, as other states did, each time a new monarch was crowned…Fascinating.”—Harper’s

“Without Paul Kosmin’s meticulous investigation of what Seleucus achieved in creating his calendar without end we would never have been able to comprehend the traces of it that appear in late antiquity…A magisterial contribution to this hitherto obscure but clearly important restructuring of time in the ancient Mediterranean world.”—G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books

“With erudition, theoretical sophistication, and meticulous discussion of the sources, Paul Kosmin sheds new light on the meaning of time, memory, and identity in a multicultural setting.”—Angelos Chaniotis, author of Age of Conquests

In the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s conquests, his successors, the Seleucid kings, ruled a vast territory stretching from Central Asia and Anatolia to the Persian Gulf. In 305 BCE, in a radical move to impose unity and regulate behavior, Seleucis I introduced a linear conception of time. Time would no longer restart with each new monarch. Instead, progressively numbered years—continuous and irreversible—became the de facto measure of historical duration. This new temporality, propagated throughout the empire and identical to the system we use today, changed how people did business, recorded events, and oriented themselves to the larger world.

Some rebellious subjects, eager to resurrect their pre-Hellenic past, rejected this new approach and created apocalyptic time frames, predicting the total end of history. In this magisterial work, Paul Kosmin shows how the Seleucid Empire’s invention of a new kind of time—and the rebellions against this worldview—had far reaching political and religious consequences, transforming the way we organize our thoughts about the past, present, and future.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Composite photograph showing (top) entrance to the Prudential Center in Boston and (bottom) an internal construction partition/wall printed with the words 'Opening Day 2023' and other decorative text

A New Chapter for Harvard Book Store

Starting in the summer of 2023, for the first time in almost thirty years, Harvard Book Store will have two locations: the flagship store in Harvard Square, and a large new store in the Prudential Center in Boston. For University Press Week we wanted to show some bookseller love, so we reached out to Rachel Cass, General Manager of the Harvard Book Store, to see what’s planned for their exciting new location