This course compares ideologies and practices of monarchic rule across Greece and the Near East. We will investigate how monarchs established their rule, how they faced opposition, and which strategies they adopted to legitimize their power. We will ask what makes a monarch a “tyrant” rather than a “king” and why monarchy turned out to be disgraceful for the Greeks compared to their neighbors. We will read texts produced by royal courts as well as compositions which sketch the profile of the “ideal monarch”. We will also look at monuments which monarchs erected during their reigns and investigate their historical and political significance.