School of History, Classics and Archaeology

James Mullen

James Mullen

Royal Ideology and the Hunt: cultural interaction between Europe and Asia in the reign of Alexander the Great

Project outline

‌My research re-examines the actions of Alexander the Great within a context of cultural interaction and exchange throughout the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. To date, studies of Alexander engaging with native peoples have primarily been under the banner of ‘Persianization’ without addressing the heterogeneous nature of the Achaemenid empire. This is an unexpected gap in the scholarship since the diverse nature of the Near East has long been recognised in the periods preceding and following Achaemenid rule. Harmonious rule over an empire of diverse peoples is accepted as a central motif in Achaemenid royal ideology and this diversity can readily be identified on the Apadana reliefs at Persepolis. Furthermore, the reconciliation of royal power with native expectations derived from a variety of traditions is also a feature of the Hellenistic period.

This study pays particular attention to the royal hunt, treating it as an institution of court society through which the royal ideology was projected and the king negotiated relationships within the elite. The royal hunts of Alexander are analysed alongside iconographic, mythical and documentary evidence of hunting in the Near East, Macedonia and Greece in order to identify any continuity in the key elements of royal ideology Alexander sought to project. This study not only considers the deliberate efforts of Alexander to reconcile Achaemenid Persian tradition, but also highlights the possible interpretations of non-Persian native groups within his newly conquered empire.

James Mullen

Funding awards

  • Junior Johnson Prize for outstanding achievement in degree result (2011)
  • First prize for best poster at Newcastle University Postgraduate Forum Conference (2014)

Conference papers

God, King and the Land: The Relationship between Neo-Assyrian Kings, their subjects and the God Aššur, paper delivered at Newcastle University Postgraduate Forum Conference (2016)

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Ancient History (first), Newcastle University
  • MA Ancient History (distinction), Newcastle University