Ancient history
Seleucid Global? Time and Empire in the Hellenistic Near East: An Interview with Paul J. Kosmin
Interviews | December 9, 2019

Seleucid Global? Time and Empire in the Hellenistic Near East: An Interview with Paul J. Kosmin

Kosmin's work is part of a recent historiographical move to reevaluate the familiar narrative of the Seleucid Empire as a sprawling, dysfunctional, Oriental empire. His most recent book, Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire, explores the time of this empire, which he argues was radically new and can be characterized as linear, empty, and homogeneous. This new technology of time drew the empire's subjects into one commensurable temporal framework. Such commensurable time, in turn, provoked various rediscoveries of indigenous pasts within a new scheme of Seleucid time and historicality. This generated a sense of temporal incommensurability between Seleucid and indigenous times and between past, present, and future—and it played into and gave shape to an atmosphere of pan-imperial revolt.

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