Inaugural lecture explores succession planning, how not to do it: Alexander the Great and his successors


11.10.2021

Professor Kyle Erickson will deliver the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s inaugural professorial lecture on Wednesday, 20 October at 4pm.

Poster Professorial Lecture

The event is the first in a series of monthly lectures to be delivered by the University’s academic staff who have received professorial titles.

Professor Erickson will take as his starting point the results of the unclear lines of succession following the death of Alexander the Great and will explore the how the “successors” and their empires understood the lessons of Alexander’s failures. In particular, he will explore what are the inherent dangers in moments of transition between leaders?

Professor Erickson is a classics scholar and UWTSD’s Director of UWTSD’s Academic Experience. He said: “I’m delighted to be delivering the University’s inaugural lecture.  I will be considering how some of Alexander’s actions, or inactions, fostered the crisis in the transition between leaders. Upon Alexander’s death in 323 BC without a suitable heir, a crisis of succession that lasted nearly three times the length of his brief reign arose as his generals battled for control of his empire.  

“I’ll expIore some of the lessons Alexander’s generals learned from his failure and will highlight some of the difficulties in passing power from one generation to the next and how the Hellenistic kings responded to the long shadow cast by Alexander in establishing their own legitimacy in the forty years of warfare following his death.”

Professor Erickson, who is originally from Los Angeles in California, joined the academic staff in Lampeter in 2010.  He graduated in History, Greek and Latin from UCLA before moving to the UK undertake his Master’s degree and PhD at Exeter University.  His doctoral studies focussed on the legitimacy, religion and iconography in the Seleucid empire in Ancient History under the supervision of Daniel Ogden and Stephen Mitchell.  His work was later published by Routledge under the title The early Seleucids, their gods and their coins. He has published largely on the Seleucids and their coinage, but also on Alexander’s legacy in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

He added: “My primary research is in the political and cultural interactions between the Greek world and the Near East. I am interested in connections between divinity, legitimacy and power.

“Within this area, my research has focused largely on Alexander and his successor, in particular the Seleucid dynasty which ruled the area from what is now Turkey to India from 305 BC to 64 BC.  My work has particularly concentrated on the use of coinage as a vehicle for dynastic propaganda within a multicultural empire. I have also explored the importance of dynastic mythmaking and claims to divinity in strategies of royal legitimacy”. 

Professor Erickson moved to Lampeter to take up a lecturing post in Classics and has served as Head of the Department of Classics, Assistant Dean for Humanities at the University before being appointed to his current role.

A keen advocate of Lampeter, he is an active member of the community through the Lampeter Roundtable which organises many charitable events including the annual fireworks display.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor said “Congratulations to Professor Erickson on receiving a professorship. I’m delighted that he will be launching our professorial lecture series at our Lampeter campus.  We are looking forward to celebrating our bicentenary year in 2022 which marks the laying of the foundation stone for St David’s College Lampeter.  This signifies the beginning of higher education in Wales and Lampeter’s place as an international centre for the study of the Humanities”.

The Inaugural lecture will be held on Wednesday, 20 October 4pm, Old Hall, UWTSD Lampeter and online via Microsoft Teams.

This is a free event but the number of attendees to the on-campus event is restricted due to Covid control measures therefore guests are asked to book in advance by emailing: Digwyddiadau-Events@uwtsd.ac.uk.

Professor Erickson moved to Lampeter to take up a lecturing post in Classics and has served as Head of the Department of Classics, Assistant Dean for Humanities at the University before being appointed to his current role.

A keen advocate of Lampeter, he is an active member of the community through the Lampeter Roundtable which organises many charitable events including the annual fireworks display.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor said “Congratulations to Professor Erickson on receiving a professorship. I’m delighted that he will be launching our professorial lecture series at our Lampeter campus.  We are looking forward to celebrating our bicentenary year in 2022 which marks the laying of the foundation stone for St David’s College Lampeter.  This signifies the beginning of higher education in Wales and Lampeter’s place as an international centre for the study of the Humanities”.

The Inaugural lecture will be held on Wednesday, 20 October 4pm, Old Hall, UWTSD Lampeter and online via Microsoft Teams.

This is a free event but the number of attendees to the on-campus event is restricted due to Covid control measures therefore guests are asked to book in advance by emailing: Digwyddiadau-Events@uwtsd.ac.uk.