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Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic EmpiresThe Near East After the Achaemenids, c. 330 to 30 BCE$
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Rolf Strootman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748691265

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748691265.001.0001

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Royal Pages

Royal Pages

Chapter:
(p.136) 6 Royal Pages
Source:
Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires
Author(s):

Rolf Strootman

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748691265.003.0007

Chapter 6 brings together evidence pertaining to royal pages (basilikoi paides) at the dynastic households. Unfortunately, most of what we know about them is connected with the Argead court in the time of Philip and Alexander, though it is clear that the institution persisted at the Antigonid, Seleukid and Ptolemaic courts. From what we do know (e.g. from evidence on the court of Antiochos III preserved in Polybios) it can be deduced that a major benefit of the pages system was the creation of a body of loyal suntrophoi—men who had grown up together with the reigning king and were attached to him through personal ties. Whether the pages served as hostages of sorts guaranteeing their aristocratic fathers’ loyalty and subservience, or rather amounted to an institutionalized aristocrat foothold in the dynastic house, remains an open question. Probably both scenarios were feasible depending on the strength or weakness of the monarchy at a given date.

Keywords:   Courtiers, Royal pages

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