Seleukos I and the Origin of the Seleukid Dynastic Ideology

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Krzysztof Nawotka


The origin of the idea of a particular protection of Apollo which was a basic tenet of the early-Seleukid ideology can be traced to the reign of Seleukos I. It was not derived from Seleukos' personal piety whose preference was for Zeus. Anchoring his rule in Babylon and in the whole empire in the spurious testament of Alexander the Great was another tenet of the early Seleukid ideology. After 300 B.C. Apollo’s portrait and attributes appear on Seleukos’ coins, while an epigraphic dossier from Didyma controlled by Miletus, attests to Seleukid largess for Apollo’s temple. Inscriptions from Didyma show Milesian Demodamas instrumental in honouring the members of the house of Seleukos by the people of Miletus on account of their services to Milesian soldiers, ambassadors and to the shrine of Apollo of Didyma. Demodamas was a Seleukid general known to have erected altars to Apollo of Didyma while campaigning beyond the Jaxartes. It was Demodamas who successfully promoted cult of Apollo at the court of Seleukos I giving origin to the idea of Apollo's protection of the house of Seleukos as the constituent part of the Seleukid ideology and to the legend of Apollo of Didyma fathering Seleukos.

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