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What Is an Oligarch?

The use of the word ‘Oligarch’ has been increasingly rampant across international news outlets since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just weeks ago. But what does it actually mean?


Jeffrey A. Winters, an American political scientist at Northwestern University who specialises in the study of oligarchy, notes that the common thread for oligarchs across history is that wealth defines them, empowers them and inherently exposes them to threats.


While Dan makes his voyage home, Matt Lewis, from the ‘Gone Medieval’ podcast, steps in for this timely episode. To try and make sense of this ancient, yet contemporary phenomenon, Jeffrey joins Matt for a discussion of what oligarchy is, historic and contemporary cases and the relationship between oligarchy and democracy.


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6/29/2022

The Death of Alexander the Great Explained

Alexander the Great’s untimely death at Babylon in 323 BC triggered an unprecedented crisis across his continent-spanning empire.Within a couple of days, the very chamber in which he died witnessed a gore-soaked showdown between his previously united commanders and soldiers. Within a fortnight, Babylon saw the first siege of the post-Alexander age.In this special explainer episode to mark the anniversary of Alexander’s death, Tristan brings to life the imperial implosion that was the immediate aftermath of the Macedonian king's death - a subject he knows one or two things about, seeing as he’s written a book on it!Tristan’s book The Perdiccas Years, 323-320 BC (Alexander's Successors at War) is available on Amazon here.This episode was produced by Elena Guthrie and mixed by Aidan Lonergan. It contains translations of contemporary speeches by JC Yardsley & music from Epidemic Sound.If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks atHistory Hit- subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to theAndroidorApplestore.Further Reading - Primary Sources Arrian Events After Alexander 1.1–1.9A.Curtius 10.5–10.10.Diodorus Siculus 18.1–18.6.Justin 13.1–13.4.Plutarch Life of Eumenes 3.Secondary Sources Anson, E. (1992), ‘Craterus and the Prostasia’, Classical Philology 87 (1), 38–43.Anson, E. (2015), Eumenes of Cardia, Leiden, 58–77.Bosworth, A. B. (2002), The Legacy of Alexander: Politics, Warfare, and Propaganda under the Successors, New York, 29–63.Errington, R. M. (1970), ‘From Babylon to Triparadeisos: 323–320 bc’, The Journal of Hellenic Studies 90, 49–59.Meeus, A. (2008), ‘The Power Struggle of the Diadochoi in Babylon, 323bc’, Ancient Society 38, 39–82.Meeus, A. (2009), ‘Some Institutional Problems concerning the Succession to Alexander the Great: “Prostasia” and Chiliarchy’, Historia 58 (3), 287–310.Mitchell, L. (2007), ‘Born to Rule? Succession in the Argead Royal House’, in W. Heckel., L. Tritle and P. Wheatley (eds.), Alexander’s Empire: Formulation to Decay, California, 61–74.Worthington, I. (2016), Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt, New York, 71–86