Alcaeus and Antimenidas: Reassessing the Evidence for Greek Mercenaries in the Neo-Babylonian Army

Alexander Fantalkin, Ephraim Lytle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The alleged testimony of Alcaeus about the mercenary service of his brother Antimenidas in the Neo-Babylonian army has long served as the inspiration for a range of theories concerning the possible employment of Greek mercenaries in Near Eastern armies and their assumed role in the transfer of eastern influences to Greece during the Archaic period. A careful reassessment of Alcaeus' fragments and Strabo's testimony as well as the historical and archaeological evidence at hand suggests that there is little reason to believe that Antimenidas served Nebuchadnezzar II as a mercenary, and the evidence is certainly insufficient to conclude that Greek mercenaries were routinely employed in the Neo-Babylonian army.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-117
Number of pages28
JournalKlio
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Alcaeus
  • Ancient Near East
  • Antimenidas
  • Archaic Greece
  • Archaic Lyric poetry
  • Greek Mercenaries
  • Levant
  • Neo-Assyrian Army
  • Neo-Babylonian Army
  • Strabo
  • Symposia

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