The Hellenistic world (from the Greek word Hellas for Greece) is the known people after the conquests of Alexander the great and corresponds about with the Hellenistic period of old Greece, from 323 BCE (Alexander"s death) to the annexation of greek by Rome in 146 BCE. Although Rome"s dominance ended Greek independence and also autonomy it did nothing come significantly change nor did it in any method halt the Hellenization the the people of the day; in fact, it encouraged it.

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Alexander the an excellent (r. 336-323 BCE) that Macedon led his military on a series of projects which successfully dominated the then-known world from Macedon, through Greece, down to Egypt, throughout Persia, to India. Alexander"s tutor to be the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BCE) who impressed upon him the worth of Greek society and philosophy. Together Alexander campaigned, he spread out Greek thought and society in his wake, for this reason "hellenizing" (to make `Greek" in culture and civilization) those that conquered.


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Perga / Perge

After Alexander"s death his realm was divided among his 4 generals (known in Latin together the Diadochi, the name whereby they space still referenced, indigenous the Greek, Diadokhoi, meaning "successors"):

To better or lesser extents, all of these areas were Hellenized together Greek culture and religious beliefs affected those of the native people.


After Alexander"s fatality his empire was divided among his four generals - the Diadochi or Successors.

Greek society & Philip II of Macedon

Alexander that Macedon was the son of Philip II (r. 359-336 BCE) who well-known that his neighbors considered Macedon a backward an ar of small importance and also decided to readjust that check out dramatically. Philip II had been a hostage for 3 years in Greek Thebes wherein he was exposed come Greek culture, army tactics and also formations, and philosophy.

Although that made the biggest use the the military information, the decreed a finish overhaul the his country"s educational methods and also goals to create a significant center of finding out at his resources of Pella. He invite the an excellent Greek thinker Aristotle to tutor his son and his son"s peers. As the call of the college at Pella grew, Philip II motivated the nobles of greece to send their sons to Pella which no only improved the nation"s reputation yet gave Philip II an useful hostages which prevented the Greeks from attacking him.


Greece right now was not a unified nation but a loose confederation of city-states every of which had actually its own patron deity, social structure, coinage, and also government. This city-states would sometimes ally and sometimes battle on every other yet their only common bond was your language and, come a greater or lesser extent, their religious belief structure. They commemorated different festivals at various times of the year and made battle in various ways.

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If they can agree top top one thing, however, the was your dislike the foreigners, whom they referred to as `barbarians", definition anyone who might not speak Greek. Greek society at this time incorporated every aspect of people from literature to philosophy, science, architecture, the arts, mathematics, astronomy, law, medicine, war, and so on. The Greeks were justifiably proud of their intellectual success and had tendency to look down on non-Greeks.


The region of Macedon spoke a language of Greek but its civilization were still taken into consideration barbarians by the Greeks because they did not feel that had any type of culture. Macedon was assumed to be great for raw materials but little else until Philip II established the institution at Pella and, also then, the reputation of the school came native the Greek scholars Philip employed, not from any Macedonian.

At the very same time Phillip to be encouraging education and learning and society in his capital, however, he was reorganizing his army and also enlarging it however the Greeks did no seem come notice. Castle became conscious of his military strength in 356 BCE throughout the so-called 3rd Social battle in which he defeated the Phocians who had seized the sacred site that Delphi. At the fight of Crocus field in 352 BCE he totally defeated the Phocians and also then engaged in a series of campaigns in between 355-348 BCE during which he caught a variety of Greek cities, renaming the city that Crenides Philippi in respect of himself.

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The Athenian orator Demosthenes (c.384-322 BCE) ceded a variety of speeches denouncing Philip II however these walk nothing to halt Macedon"s farming power. The Greek city-states ongoing to war v each other while Philip II was calmly acquisition their urban for his own and also enlarging his treasury. In ~ the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, Philip II and also his 18-year old kid Alexander beat the combined forces of Athens and Thebes and also this victory allowed him to kind the Pan-Hellenic Congress, with himself as its head, which developed peace and effectively brought Greece under Macedonian control. Philip walk not enjoy his good victory for long, however, together he was assassinated in 336 BCE and Alexander took the throne.


The campaigns of Alexander the Great

Alexander inherited not just a large standing military but a healthy treasury, infrastructure, and an entire country which was currently subject come his will. The did not have to make bargains or concessions with any type of other country in order come initiate his policies. The had enough power and also wealth come do whatever he pleased and he chose to fulfil his father"s desire to conquer Persia and topple what to be then the greatest realm in the world.


Alexander decisively beat Darius at the fight of Gaugamela & was now supreme leader of the regions previously belonging come the Persian Empire.

He overcome from Greece right into Asia young in 334 BCE v an army of 32,000 infantry and 5,100 cavalry and sacked the city of Baalbek and also took Ephesus. In 333 at the fight of Issos he beat Darius the great of Syria however could not catch him. He went on to take it Syria indigenous the Persians in 332 BCE and also Egypt in 331 BCE. Throughout all these campaigns, Alexander spread the society of greece while permitting the civilization of the various regions to proceed worshipping the god of their selection and conducting themselves together they pleased – as lengthy as they led to him no trouble and also kept his supply lines open up – while simultaneously investigating and recording the society and other elements of each land. Scholar Ian Worthington comments:

Homer to be Alexander"s bible and he took Aristotle"s edition through him come Asia...During his projects Alexander was constantly intent on finding out whatever he could around the areas through which he passed. That took through him one entourage of researchers to record and analyse this information, from botany, biology, zoology and meteorology, to topography. His desire to learn, and also to have information recorded as scientifically together possible, probably stemmed indigenous Aristotle"s teachings and also enthusiasm. (34-35)

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In 331 BCE Alexander decisively defeated Darius in ~ the battle of Gaugamela and also was currently supreme ruler of the regions formerly belonging come the Persian Empire. He adopted the tile ShahanShah (King the Kings) and also introduced Persian personalizeds into his military while, at the same time, share Greek culture with the human being of Persia. He carried this culture with him come India in his 327 BCE invasion which was halted only since his men threatened mutiny if that did not turn back. He was allegedly contemplating an additional move to broaden his empire when he died, ~ ten days of fever, in June the 323 BCE. As he did not name a successor, his 4 generals separated his empire in between them.


The Diadochi & Hellenization

These generals, Lysimachus, Cassander, Ptoelmy, and Seleucus, initially spent your time warring with each various other for much more territory yet even together they ravaged the land v battles, their very presence in the an ar encouraged the diffusion of Hellenization which had been created by Alexander.

Easily the most successful of these four, in this regard together in others, to be Ptolemy ns (r.323-282 BCE). If the various other three continued their wars versus each various other (and versus even an ext of Alexander"s policemans or household members), Ptolemy ns made an honest attempt at furthering Alexander"s vision of a multicultural world. His efforts at Alexandria created an practically seamless mix of Egyptian and also Greek cultures as epitomized in his an individual god Serapis.

Serapis was a mix of Egyptian and Greek gods (Osiris, Apis, and also Zeus) and also his worship was created as a state faith by Ptolemy I. Although other gods ongoing to it is in venerated, Ptolemy I encouraged the cult the Serapis by structure the great temple that the Serapeum in Alexandria and also the good Library to accompany it. The library drew scholars from approximately the world and elevated Alexandria come a facility of discovering which rivaled even Athens. Under Ptolemy I, building and construction of the Lighthouse in ~ Alexandria (one the the 7 Wonders that the ancient World) began and the city, as well as the entire an ar under his control, flourished.

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As the wars of the Diadochi cleared up down and finished, Hellenic influence continued to spread out throughout your regions and Greek dedications, statues, architecture and inscriptions have been discovered in abundance in every locale. The an excellent Library at Alexandria steadily grew to end up being the many important facility for discovering in the old world, illustration scholars from anywhere who then went back to their indigenous towns and cities inspired by Hellenic beliefs and scientific methods. Greek theatre prospered throughout the lands conquered by Alexander and also held through his generals and also the amphitheaters built during the Hellenistic period show markedly Greek attributes no matter the nationality that the architect nor the country of construction, one example being, Ai-Khanoum top top the sheet of Bactria, contemporary day Afghanistan.

Greek language presented Greek literature right into the previous Persian Empire, thereby affecting the philosophical thought and also writing that the region and the same organized true for the area recognized as Palestine where Greek literature uncovered its means into the religious thought and also scripture of Judaism and, later, Christianity. Hellenization, in fact, inspired one the the most renowned Jewish holidays, Chanukah, which celebrates the liberation the the holy place of Jerusalem from the Syrian Greeks under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BCE) who, according to the classic story, tried to pressure Hellenic god on the Jewish people and instigated the Maccabean rebellion of c. 168 BCE.

Recent scholarship suggests, however, that the revolt was in reality a civil war between Jewish factions: Hellenic Jews who taken on Greek values and also traditionalists who stood up to them. In this variation of the story, Antiochus IV Epiphanes becomes connected in this civil war on the behalf of the Hellenistic Jews and his joining is required as protest to the timeless story in which the is shown as imposing his will on the Jewish people of Palestine. One of two people way, Hellenism play a vital role in the rebellion of the Maccabees that would later uncovered the Hasmonean empire which, with its wars with the surrounding Kingdom the Nabatea, would tempt the attention of Rome and also lead to the eventual occupation of the region.

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Hellenistic thought is evident in the narratives which make up the books of the bible as the Hebrew bibles were revised and also canonized throughout the second Temple duration (c.515 BCE-70 CE), the latter part of which was throughout the Hellenic period of the region. The gospels and also epistles the the Christian new Testament were composed in Greek and draw on Greek philosophy and religion as, for example, in the an initial chapter of the Gospel of john in which words becomes flesh, a Platonic concept.

The spread out of Greek influence and also language is additionally shown v coinage. Portraits became an ext realistic, and also the obverse that the coin was often used to screen a propaganda image, commemorating an occasion or displaying the picture of a favored god. The use of Greek-style portraits and Greek language continued into the Parthian duration (247 BCE-224 CE), even as Greek as a language remained in decline.

With the climb of the Republic of Rome and also then the roman inn Empire, Greek language, attitudes, philosophy, understanding, and also overall society spread even further. The Romans obtained much that their world from the Greeks and as they conquered various regions which had previously been organized by Alexander"s generals, they encouraged Hellenic thought and culture.

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The Romans were much from tolerant the the beliefs of other nations unless lock corresponded closely with your own. Follow to Hellenic thought, therefore, was a popular alternate to persecution because that the citizens of this regions. Greek thought, language, and culture spread north to Europe through trade and, further, through Roman conquest of areas such as modern-day France, Spain, and Britain, Hellenizing the entire human being of antiquity and influencing virtually every culture which has added to the development of learning and also understanding in the people today.


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A freelance writer and also former part-time Professor of approach at Marist College, new York, Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and also Germany and traveled v Egypt. He has taught history, writing, literature, and also philosophy at the college level.