Preface [chapter]

2018 Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire  
PREFACE This book is conceived as a companion and completion of my first, The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire. Together, they should be understood as a single proj ect of categorical history, a study of the spatial and temporal structures and concepts by which the Seleucid empire and its subjects made sense of their world. It will become apparent that this book has further motivations: a preoccupation with the nature of my discipline and the
more » ... itions that make it possi ble (to ask what we do when we reckon with historical time, why we care about the past, and how we find meaning in it); a sense that the Seleucid empire's historical significance has, mostly for reasons of academic geography, fallen between the cracks; and a mission to bring back into classical ancient history the eastern worlds and religious texts that have long been marginalized. And while the battles of the past don't wound their historians, I have also been exercised by the blasts of apocalyptic vio lence currently erupting from the lands once under the Seleucid scepter. The volcanoes have not gone out. I am aware that this book falls somewhere between hybris and chutzpah: not only will I be arguing for the massive significance of an overlooked phenomenon, but in order to do so I will also be trespassing in a number of distinct and long-established disciplines. So throughout this proj ect I have relied on the generosity of many scholars and friends, to whom I have turned for advice, answers, and criticism. Emma Dench has been a true friend and generous mentor. Nino Luraghi remains a source of wisdom, kindness, and guidance. I am lucky to know Duncan MacRae. Aneurin Ellis-Evans and Johannes Haubold crossed the Atlantic to discuss drafts with me, and I have also benefited enormously from the feedback or assistance of Supratik Baralay,
doi:10.4159/9780674989634-001 fatcat:fnsfvvydhjgtbab4mc7lf7zxcu