The Hecatomnid Dynasty – Gender and Power in the Persian-Greek border region
The Persian authorities mainly appointed local rulers for regional administration, including the Hecatomnid dynasty in Caria in the 4th century BCE. Hekatomnos, the dynasty’s eponym, had five children – Maussollos, Artemisia, Idrieus, Ada and Pixodaros – who all successively ruled over this part of the Achaemenid Empire. Their reign coincided with an eventful period: faced with the increasingly powerful Macedonian empire, the last great Persian kings came under mounting pressure. The Hecatomnids’ political role is to be situated in this much larger, transregional set of conflicts.
The families around rulers are often underrepresented in the sources. However, these very family structures were necessary for the continuation of the monarchies. Therefore, the gender relationships that characterize the Hecatomnid family – the practice of sibling marriage – are to be analysed thoroughly. It is reasonable to assume that the Hecatomnids tried to and succeeded in distinguishing themselves from the common people and the rest of the upper class; perhaps they even wanted to equate themselves with gods. These considerations ultimately lead to the questions on which this thesis will focus: How did the sibling marriages within the dynasty influence its religious identity and political power? How did the Hecatomnids positionthemselves within the increasingly tense political situation between the Achaemenid and the Macedonian empire? Can further conclusions be drawn for the entire region around the Persian-Greek border?