Hellenistic civilization
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Classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ...
, the Hellenistic period covers the time in Mediterranean history after
Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece,The "Classical Age" is "the modern designation of the period from about 500 B.C. to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C." (Thomas R. Martin ...
, between the
death of Alexander the Great The death of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient ...
in 323 BC and the emergence of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
, as signified by the
Battle of Actium The Battle of Actium was a naval battle fought between a maritime fleet of Octavian led by Marcus Agrippa and the combined fleets of both Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Ant ...
in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
word ''Hellas'' (, ''Hellás'') was gradually recognized as the name for Greece, from which the word ''Hellenistic'' was derived. "Hellenistic" is distinguished from "Hellenic" in that the latter refers to Greece itself, while the former encompasses all ancient territories under Greek influence, in particular the East after the conquests of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
. After the Macedonian invasion of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
in 330 BC and its disintegration shortly after, the Hellenistic kingdoms were established throughout
south-west Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...
(
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
,
Kingdom of Pergamon The Kingdom of Pergamon or Attalid kingdom was a Ancient Greece, Greek state during the Hellenistic period that ruled much of the Western part of Anatolia, Asia Minor from its capital city of Pergamon. It was ruled by the Attalid dynasty (; g ...
), north-east Africa ( Ptolemaic Kingdom) and
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...
(
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom or simply Greco-Bactria, was a Hellenistic-era Greek state, and along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known histori ...
,
Indo-Greek Kingdom The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya), was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic-era Ancient Greece, Greek kingdom covering various parts of Afghanistan and the northwestern r ...
).Ulrich Wilcken, ''Griechische Geschichte im Rahmen der Altertumsgeschichte''. This resulted in an influx of Greek
colonists A settler is a person who has human migration, migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. A settler who migrates to an area previously uninhabited or sparsely inhabited may be described as a ...
and the export of
Greek culture The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Minoan civilization, Minoan and later in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, while influencing the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine ...
and language to these new realms, spanning as far as modern-day India. These new kingdoms were also influenced by the indigenous cultures, adopting local practices where beneficial, necessary, or convenient. Hellenistic culture thus represents a fusion of the ancient Greek world with that of Western Asian, Northeastern African, and Southwestern Asian. This mixture gave rise to a common
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft'') is a space found directly below the pitched roof of a house or other building; an attic may also be called a ''sky parlor'' or a garret. Because attics fill the space between the ceiling of the t ...
-based Greek dialect, known as
Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the Alexandrian dialect, Biblical Greek or New Testament Greek, was the common supra-reg ...
, which became the ''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
'' throughout the ancient world. During the Hellenistic period, Greek cultural influence and power reached its peak in the Mediterranean and beyond. Prosperity and progress in the
arts The arts are a very wide range of human practices of creativity, creative expression, storytelling and culture, cultural participation. They encompass multiple diverse and plural modes of thinking, doing and being, in an extremely broad ran ...
,
literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to ...
,
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...
,
architecture Architecture is the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. It is both the process and the product of sketching, conceiving, planning, designing, and construction, constructin ...
,
music Music is generally defined as the The arts, art of arranging sound to create some combination of Musical form, form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise Musical expression, expressive content. Exact definition of music, definitions of mu ...
,
mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in modern mathematics ...
,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Some ...
, and
science Science is a systematic endeavor that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science may be as old as the human species, and some of the earli ...
characterize the era. The Hellenistic period saw the rise of
New Comedy Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the Theatre of ancient Greece, theatre of classical Greece (the others being tragedy and the satyr play). Classical Athens, Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into ...
, Alexandrian poetry, translation efforts such as the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Greek language, Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. It includes several ...
, and the philosophies of
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century Common Era, BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asser ...
,
Epicureanism Epicureanism is a system of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed ...
, and
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism founded by Pyrrho in the fourth century BCE. It is best known through the surviving works of Sextus Empiricus, writing in the late second century or early third century CE. History Pyrrho of E ...
. In science, the works of the mathematician
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Wikt:Εὐκλείδης, Εὐκλείδης; BC) was an ancient Greek mathematician active as a geometer and logician. Considered the "father of geometry", he is chiefly known for the ''Euclid's Elements, Elements'' trea ...
and the
polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific pro ...
Archimedes Archimedes of Syracuse (;; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work, typically to solve mathematical problems. Mathematicians are concerned with numbers, data, ...
are exemplary. The religious sphere expanded to include new gods such as the Greco-Egyptian
Serapis Serapis or Sarapis is a Greeks in Egypt, Graeco-Egyptian deity. The cult of Serapis was promoted during the third century BC on the orders of Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy I Soter of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egy ...
, eastern deities such as
Attis Attis (; grc-gre, Ἄττις, also , , ) was the consort of Cybele, in Phrygians, Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the ''Galli'', as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis castration, castrating himself. Attis ...
and
Cybele Cybele ( ; Phrygian language, Phrygian: ''Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya'' "Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother", perhaps "Mountain Mother"; Lydian language, Lydian ''Kuvava''; el, Κυβέλη ''Kybele'', ''Kybebe'', ''Kybelis'') is an Anatolian mother godde ...
, and a syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism in
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
and Northwest
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
. Scholars and historians are divided as to which event signals the end of the Hellenistic era. Proposals include the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
in 146 BC following the
Achaean War The Achaean War of 146 BC was fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek Achaean League, an alliance of Achaean and other Peloponnesian states in ancient Greece. It was the final stage of Rome's conquest of mainland Greece, taking place j ...
, the final defeat of the Ptolemaic Kingdom at the
Battle of Actium The Battle of Actium was a naval battle fought between a maritime fleet of Octavian led by Marcus Agrippa and the combined fleets of both Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Ant ...
in 31 BC, and the move by Roman emperor
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor from AD 306 to 337, and the first of which to Constantine the Great and Christianity, convert to Christiani ...
of the capital of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
to
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopo ...
in AD 330.
Angelos Chaniotis Angelos Chaniotis ( el, Άγγελος Χανιώτης; born November 8, 1959) is a Greek historian and Classics scholar, known for original and wide-ranging research in the cultural, religious, legal and economic history of the Hellenistic pe ...
ends the Hellenistic period with the death of
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Trâiānus Hadriānus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman ''municipium'' founded by Italic peoples, Italic settlers ...
in 138 AD, who integrated the Greeks fully into the Roman Empire, though a range from c. 321 BC to 256 AD may also be given.


Etymology

The word originated from ancient Greek (''Hellēnistḗs'', "one who uses the Greek language"), from (''Hellás'', "Greece"); as if "Hellenist" + "ic". The idea of a Hellenistic period is a 19th-century concept, and did not exist in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
. Although words related in form or meaning, e.g. ''Hellenist'' ( grc, Ἑλληνιστής, ''Hellēnistēs''), have been attested since ancient times,. it was
Johann Gustav Droysen Johann Gustav Bernhard Droysen (; ; 6 July 180819 June 1884) was a German historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodica ...
in the mid-19th century, who in his classic work ''Geschichte des Hellenismus'' (''History of Hellenism''), coined the term ''Hellenistic'' to refer to and define the period when Greek culture spread in the non-Greek world after Alexander's conquest. Following Droysen, ''Hellenistic'' and related terms, e.g. ''Hellenism'', have been widely used in various contexts; a notable such use is in ''
Culture and Anarchy ''Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism'' is a series of periodical essays by Matthew Arnold Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of s ...
'' by
Matthew Arnold Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the celebrated headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold (acad ...
, where Hellenism is used in contrast with Hebraism. The major issue with the term Hellenistic lies in its convenience, as the spread of Greek culture was not the generalized phenomenon that the term implies. Some areas of the conquered world were more affected by Greek influences than others. The term Hellenistic also implies that the Greek populations were of majority in the areas in which they settled, but in many cases, the Greek settlers were actually the minority among the native populations. The Greek population and the native population did not always mix; the Greeks moved and brought their own culture, but interaction did not always occur.


Sources

While a few fragments exist, there are no complete surviving historical works that date to the hundred years following Alexander's death. The works of the major Hellenistic
historians A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the stu ...
Hieronymus of Cardia Hieronymus of Cardia ( el, Ἱερώνυμος ὁ Καρδιανός, 354?–250 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek general and historian from Cardia (Thrace), Cardia in Thrace, and a contemporary of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC). After the deat ...
(who worked under Alexander, Antigonus I and other successors),
Duris of Samos Duris of Samos (or Douris) ( grc-gre, Δοῦρις ὁ Σάμιος; BCafter 281BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a br ...
and
Phylarchus Phylarchus ( el, Φύλαρχoς, ''Phylarkhos''; fl. 3rd century BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo ...
, which were used by surviving
sources Source may refer to: Research * Historical document * Historical source * Source (intelligence) or sub source, typically a confidential provider of non open-source intelligence * Source (journalism), a person, publication, publishing institute o ...
, are all lost.F.W. Walbank et al. THE CAMBRIDGE ANCIENT HISTORY, SECOND EDITION, VOLUME VII, PART I: The Hellenistic World, p. 1. The earliest and most credible surviving source for the Hellenistic period is
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period. He is noted for his work , which covered the period of 264–146 BC and the Punic Wars in detail. Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed ...
of
Megalopolis A megalopolis () or a supercity, also called a megaregion, is a group of metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region that consists of a densely populated urban area, urban agglomeration and its surrounding territories ...
(c. 200–118), a statesman of the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Koinon ton Akhaion'' "League of Achaeans") was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greece, Greek polis, city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Ac ...
until 168 BC when he was forced to go to Rome as a hostage. His '' Histories'' eventually grew to a length of forty books, covering the years 220 to 167 BC. The most important source after Polybius is
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, wikt:Διόδωρος, Διόδωρος ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history ''Bibliotheca historica' ...
who wrote his ''
Bibliotheca historica ''Bibliotheca historica'' ( grc, Βιβλιοθήκη Ἱστορική, ) is a work of universal history by Diodorus Siculus. It consisted of forty books, which were divided into three sections. The first six books are geographical in theme, a ...
'' between 60 and 30 BC and reproduced some important earlier sources such as Hieronymus, but his account of the Hellenistic period breaks off after the
battle of Ipsus The Battle of Ipsus ( grc, Ἱψός) was fought between some of the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great) in 301 BC near the town of Ipsus in Phrygia. Antigonus I Monophthalmus, the Macedonian ruler of large parts of Asia, and his ...
(301 BC). Another important source,
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
's () ''
Parallel Lives Plutarch's ''Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans'', commonly called ''Parallel Lives'' or ''Plutarch's Lives'', is a series of 48 biographies of famous men, arranged in pairs to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings, probably writt ...
'' although more preoccupied with issues of personal character and morality, outlines the history of important Hellenistic figures.
Appian Appian of Alexandria (; grc-gre, Ἀππιανὸς Ἀλεξανδρεύς ''Appianòs Alexandreús''; la, Appianus Alexandrinus; ) was a Ancient Greeks, Greek historian with Ancient Rome, Roman citizenship who flourished during the reigns of ...
of Alexandria (late 1st century AD–before 165) wrote a history of the
Roman empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
that includes information of some Hellenistic kingdoms. Other sources include Justin's (2nd century AD)
epitome An epitome (; gr, ἐπιτομή, from ἐπιτέμνειν ''epitemnein'' meaning "to cut short") is a summary or miniature form, or an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a synonym for embodiment. Epitomacy represents "t ...
of
Pompeius Trogus Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus also anglicized as was a Gallo-Roman historian from the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Narbonese Gaul who lived during the reign of the emperor Augustus. He was nearly contemporary with Livy. Life Pompeius Trogus's g ...
' ''Historiae Philipicae'' and a summary of
Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman period. '' The Anabasis of Alexander'' by Arrian is considered the be ...
's ''Events after Alexander'', by Photios I of Constantinople. Lesser supplementary sources include Curtius Rufus,
Pausanias Pausanias ( el, wikt:Παυσανίας, Παυσανίας) may refer to: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias the Regent, Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pausanias of ...
, Pliny, and the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
encyclopedia An encyclopedia (American English) or encyclopædia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either general or special to a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into article ( ...
the
Suda The ''Suda'' or ''Souda'' (; grc-x-medieval, Σοῦδα, Soûda; la, Suidae Lexicon) is a large 10th-century Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman ...
. In the field of philosophy,
Diogenes Laërtius Diogenes Laërtius ( ; grc-gre, Διογένης Λαέρτιος, ; ) was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving ''Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers'' is a principal sou ...
' ''
Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers Diogenes Laërtius ( ; grc-gre, Διογένης Λαέρτιος, ; ) was a biographer of the Greek philosopher A philosopher is a person who practices or investigates philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of g ...
'' is the main source; works such as
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
's ''
De Natura Deorum ''De Natura Deorum'' (''On the Nature of the Gods'') is a philosophical dialogue by Ancient Rome, Roman Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic philosopher Cicero written in 45 BC. It is laid out in three books that discuss the theology, theologica ...
'' also provide some further detail of philosophical schools in the Hellenistic period.


Background

Ancient Greece had traditionally been a fractious collection of fiercely independent city-states. After the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek war fought between Classical Athens, Athens and Sparta and their respective allies for the hegemony of the Ancient Greece, Greek world. The war remained undecided for ...
(431–404 BC), Greece had fallen under a
Spartan hegemony The polis ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, :wikt:πόλις, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city" in Greek. In Ancient Greece, it originally referred to an administrative and religious city center, as distinct from the rest ...
, in which
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
was pre-eminent but not all-powerful. Spartan hegemony was succeeded by a
Theban hegemony The Ancient Thebes (Boeotia), Theban hegemony lasted from the Theban victory over the Spartans at Battle of Leuctra, Leuctra in 371 BC to their defeat of a coalition of Peloponnese, Peloponnesian armies at Battle of Mantinea (362 BC), Mantinea i ...
after the
Battle of Leuctra The Battle of Leuctra ( grc-gre, Λεῦκτρα, ) was a battle fought on 6 July 371 BC between the Boeotians led by the Thebes (Greece), Thebans, and the History of Sparta, Spartans along with their allies amidst the post-Corinthian War conflict ...
(371 BC), but after the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC), all of Greece was so weakened that no one state could claim pre-eminence. It was against this backdrop that the ascendancy of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
began, under king Philip II. Macedon was located at the periphery of the Greek world, and although its royal family claimed Greek descent, the Macedonians themselves were looked down upon as semi-barbaric by the rest of the Greeks. However, Macedon controlled a large area and had a relatively strong centralized government, in comparison to most Greek states. Philip II was a strong and expansionist king who took every opportunity to expand Macedonian territory. In 352 BC he annexed
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...
and Magnesia. In 338 BC, Philip defeated a combined Theban and Athenian army at the Battle of Chaeronea after a decade of desultory conflict. In the aftermath, Philip formed the
League of Corinth The League of Corinth, also referred to as the Hellenic League (from Greek language, Greek Ἑλληνικός ''Hellenikos'', "pertaining to Greece and Greeks"), was a confederation of Greece, Greek states created by Philip II of Macedon, Phili ...
, effectively bringing the majority of Greece under his direct sway. He was elected ''Hegemon'' of the league, and a campaign against the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
of Persia was planned. However in 336 BC, while this campaign was in its early stages, he was assassinated. Succeeding his father, Alexander took over the Persian war himself. During a decade of campaigning, Alexander conquered the whole Persian Empire, overthrowing the Persian king Darius III. The conquered lands included
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
,
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
, the
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
,
Media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications delivered over mass el ...
,
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
, and parts of modern-day
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
,
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
, and the
steppes In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grasslands, ...
of central Asia. The years of constant campaigning had taken their toll however, and Alexander died in 323 BC. After his death, the huge territories Alexander had conquered became subject to a strong Greek influence (
Hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek Greek culture, culture, Religion in Greece, religion, Greek language, language and Ethnic identity, identity by non-Greeks. In the Ancient Greece, ancient ...
) for the next two or three centuries, until the rise of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
in the west, and of
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in northeastern Greater Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes ...
in the east. As the Greek and Levantine cultures mingled, the development of a hybrid Hellenistic culture began, and persisted even when isolated from the main centres of Greek culture (for instance, in the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom or simply Greco-Bactria, was a Hellenistic-era Greek state, and along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known histori ...
). It can be argued that some of the changes across the
Macedonian Empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
after Alexander's conquests and during the rule of the
Diadochi The Diadochi (; singular: Diadochus; from grc-gre, Διάδοχοι, Diádochoi, Successors, ) were the rival generals, families, and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire after his death in 323 BC. The War ...
would have occurred without the influence of Greek rule. As mentioned by Peter Green, numerous factors of conquest have been merged under the term ''Hellenistic period''. Specific areas conquered by Alexander's invading army, including Egypt and areas of
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
"fell" willingly to conquest and viewed Alexander as more of a liberator than a conqueror. In addition, much of the area conquered would continue to be ruled by the
Diadochi The Diadochi (; singular: Diadochus; from grc-gre, Διάδοχοι, Diádochoi, Successors, ) were the rival generals, families, and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire after his death in 323 BC. The War ...
, Alexander's generals and successors. Initially the whole empire was divided among them; however, some territories were lost relatively quickly, or only remained nominally under Macedonian rule. After 200 years, only much reduced and rather degenerate states remained, until the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt by Rome.


The Diadochi

When Alexander the Great died (10 June 323 BC), he left behind a sprawling empire which was composed of many essentially autonomous territories called
satrap A satrap () was a governor of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to t ...
s. Without a chosen successor there were immediate disputes among his generals as to who should be king of Macedon. These generals became known as the Diadochi ( grc-gre, Διάδοχοι, ''Diadokhoi'', meaning "Successors").
Meleager In Greek mythology, Meleager (, grc-gre, Μελέαγρος, Meléagros) was a Greek hero, hero venerated in his ''temenos'' at Calydon in Aetolia. He was already famed as the host of the Calydonian Boar, Calydonian boar hunt in the epic trad ...
and the infantry supported the candidacy of Alexander's half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus, while
Perdiccas Perdiccas ( el, Περδίκκας, ''Perdikkas''; 355 BC – 321/320 BC) was a general of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/1 ...
, the leading cavalry commander, supported waiting until the birth of Alexander's child by
Roxana Roxana (c. 340 BC – 310 BC, grc, Ῥωξάνη; Iranian languages#Old Iranian, Old Iranian: ''*Raṷxšnā-'' "shining, radiant, brilliant"; sometimes Roxanne, Roxanna, Rukhsana, Roxandra and Roxane) was a Sogdian or a Bactrian princess whom ...
. After the infantry stormed the palace of
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
, a compromise was arranged – Arrhidaeus (as Philip III) should become king and should rule jointly with Roxana's child, assuming that it was a boy (as it was, becoming Alexander IV). Perdiccas himself would become regent (''epimeletes'') of the empire, and Meleager his lieutenant. Soon, however, Perdiccas had Meleager and the other infantry leaders murdered and assumed full control. The generals who had supported Perdiccas were rewarded in the partition of Babylon by becoming
satrap A satrap () was a governor of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to t ...
s of the various parts of the empire, but Perdiccas' position was shaky, because, as
Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman period. '' The Anabasis of Alexander'' by Arrian is considered the be ...
writes, "everyone was suspicious of him, and he of them". The first of the
Diadochi wars The Wars of the Diadochi ( grc, Πόλεμοι τῶν Διαδόχων, '), or Wars of Alexander's Successors, were a series of conflicts that were fought between the generals of Alexander the Great, known as the Diadochi, over who would rule h ...
broke out when
Perdiccas Perdiccas ( el, Περδίκκας, ''Perdikkas''; 355 BC – 321/320 BC) was a general of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/1 ...
planned to marry Alexander's sister
Cleopatra Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}, "Cleopatra the father-beloved"; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler. ...
and began to question
Antigonus I Monophthalmus Antigonus I Monophthalmus ( grc-gre, Ἀντίγονος Μονόφθαλμος , 'the One-Eyed'; 382 – 301 BC), son of Philip (son of Machatas), Philip from Elimiotis, Elimeia, was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian Greek nobleman, general, sat ...
' leadership in
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
. Antigonus fled for Greece, and then, together with
Antipater Antipater (; grc, , translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under the subsequent kingships of Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great Alexander III of M ...
and Craterus (the satrap of
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian: ''klkyʾy'' (''Klikiyā''); Parthian language, Parthian: ''kylkyʾ'' (''Kilikiyā''); tr, Kilikya). is a geographical region in southern Anatolia in Turkey, extending inland from th ...
who had been in Greece fighting the
Lamian war The Lamian War, or the Hellenic War (323–322 BC) was fought by a coalition of cities including Athens and the Aetolian League against Macedon and its ally Boeotia. The war broke out after the death of the King of Macedon, Alexander the Great, ...
) invaded
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
. The rebels were supported by
Lysimachus Lysimachus (; Greek language, Greek: Λυσίμαχος, ''Lysimachos''; c. 360 BC – 281 BC) was a Thessaly, Thessalian officer and Diadochi, successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Anatolia, Asia Minor and Mace ...
, the satrap of
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
and Ptolemy, the satrap of Egypt. Although
Eumenes Eumenes (; grc-gre, Εὐμένης; c. 362316 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek general and satrap. He participated in the Wars of Alexander the Great, serving as both Alexander the Great, Alexander's personal secretary and as a battlefield comman ...
, satrap of
Cappadocia Cappadocia or Capadocia (; tr, Kapadokya), is a historical region in Central Anatolia Region, Central Anatolia, Turkey. It largely is in the provinces Nevşehir Province, Nevşehir, Kayseri Province, Kayseri, Aksaray Province, Aksaray, Kırşe ...
, defeated the rebels in Asia Minor, Perdiccas himself was murdered by his own generals
Peithon Peithon or Pithon (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the ...
, Seleucus, and Antigenes (possibly with Ptolemy's aid) during his invasion of Egypt ( to 19 June, 320 BC). Ptolemy came to terms with Perdiccas's murderers, making Peithon and Arrhidaeus regents in his place, but soon these came to a new agreement with Antipater at the Treaty of Triparadisus. Antipater was made regent of the Empire, and the two kings were moved to Macedon. Antigonus remained in charge of Asia Minor, Ptolemy retained Egypt, Lysimachus retained Thrace and Seleucus I controlled
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
. The second Diadochi war began following the death of
Antipater Antipater (; grc, , translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under the subsequent kingships of Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great Alexander III of M ...
in 319 BC. Passing over his own son,
Cassander Cassander ( el, Κάσσανδρος ; c. 355 BC – 297 BC) was king of the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC ...
, Antipater had declared
Polyperchon Polyperchon (sometimes written Polysperchon; el, Πολυπέρχων; b. between 390–380 BCafter 382 BC according to Billows, R., 'Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State' (1990), p. 172, n. 20 – d. after 304 BC,Heckel ...
his successor as
Regent A regent (from Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin: 'for the time being') because the monarch is a minor, absent, incapacitated or unable to discharge the powers and duties of the monarchy, ...
. Cassander rose in revolt against Polyperchon (who was joined by Eumenes) and was supported by Antigonus, Lysimachus and Ptolemy. In 317 BC,
Cassander Cassander ( el, Κάσσανδρος ; c. 355 BC – 297 BC) was king of the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC ...
invaded Macedonia, attaining control of Macedon, sentencing
Olympias Olympias ( grc-gre, Ὀλυμπιάς; c. 375–316 BC) was a Ancient Greeks, Greek princess of the Molossians, and the eldest daughter of king Neoptolemus I of Epirus, the sister of Alexander I of Epirus, the fourth wife of Philip of Macedon, P ...
to death and capturing the boy king Alexander IV, and his mother. In Asia,
Eumenes Eumenes (; grc-gre, Εὐμένης; c. 362316 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek general and satrap. He participated in the Wars of Alexander the Great, serving as both Alexander the Great, Alexander's personal secretary and as a battlefield comman ...
was betrayed by his own men after years of campaign and was given up to Antigonus who had him executed. The third war of the Diadochi broke out because of the growing power and ambition of Antigonus. He began removing and appointing satraps as if he were king and also raided the royal treasuries in
Ecbatana Ecbatana ( peo, 𐏃𐎥𐎶𐎫𐎠𐎴 ''Hagmatāna'' or ''Haŋmatāna'', literally "the place of gathering" according to Darius the Great, Darius I's inscription at Bisotun; Persian language, Persian: هگمتانه; Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭧 ...
,
Persepolis , native_name_lang = , alternate_name = , image = Gate of All Nations, Persepolis.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = Ruins of the Gate of All Nations, Persepolis. , map = , map_type ...
and
Susa Susa ( ; Middle elx, 𒀸𒋗𒊺𒂗, translit=Šušen; Middle and Neo- elx, 𒋢𒋢𒌦, translit=Šušun; Neo-Elamite language, Elamite and Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid elx, 𒀸𒋗𒐼𒀭, translit=Šušán; Achaemenid Empire, Achaem ...
, making off with 25,000 talents. Seleucus was forced to flee to Egypt and Antigonus was soon at war with Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Cassander. He then invaded
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
, laid siege to Tyre, stormed Gaza and began building a fleet. Ptolemy invaded Syria and defeated Antigonus' son,
Demetrius Poliorcetes Demetrius I (; grc, Δημήτριος; 337–283 BC), also called Poliorcetes (; el, Πολιορκητής, "The Besieger"), was a Macedonian nobleman, military leader, and king of Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), a ...
, in the Battle of Gaza of 312 BC which allowed Seleucus to secure control of
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
, and the eastern satrapies. In 310 BC, Cassander had young King Alexander IV and his mother
Roxana Roxana (c. 340 BC – 310 BC, grc, Ῥωξάνη; Iranian languages#Old Iranian, Old Iranian: ''*Raṷxšnā-'' "shining, radiant, brilliant"; sometimes Roxanne, Roxanna, Rukhsana, Roxandra and Roxane) was a Sogdian or a Bactrian princess whom ...
murdered, ending the Argead Dynasty which had ruled Macedon for several centuries. Antigonus then sent his son
Demetrius Demetrius is the Latinization of names, Latinized form of the Ancient Greek male name, male Greek given names, given name ''Dēmḗtrios'' (), meaning “Demetris” - "devoted to goddess Demeter". Alternate forms include Demetrios, Dimitrios, ...
to regain control of Greece. In 307 BC he took Athens, expelling
Demetrius of Phaleron Demetrius of Phalerum (also Demetrius of Phaleron or Demetrius Phalereus; grc-gre, Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς; c. 350 – c. 280 BC) was an Athenian Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) i ...
, Cassander's governor, and proclaiming the city free again. Demetrius now turned his attention to Ptolemy, defeating his fleet at the
Battle of Salamis The Battle of Salamis ( ) was a naval battle fought between an alliance of Classical Greece, Greek Poleis, city-states under Themistocles and the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire under Xerxes I, King Xerxes in 480 BC. It resulted in a decisive ...
and taking control of Cyprus. In the aftermath of this victory, Antigonus took the title of king (''
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, ) is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is perhaps most widely understood to mean "monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New Col ...
'') and bestowed it on his son
Demetrius Poliorcetes Demetrius I (; grc, Δημήτριος; 337–283 BC), also called Poliorcetes (; el, Πολιορκητής, "The Besieger"), was a Macedonian nobleman, military leader, and king of Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), a ...
, the rest of the Diadochi soon followed suit. Demetrius continued his campaigns by laying siege to Rhodes and conquering most of Greece in 302 BC, creating a league against Cassander's Macedon. The decisive engagement of the war came when Lysimachus invaded and overran much of western Anatolia, but was soon isolated by Antigonus and Demetrius near Ipsus in
Phrygia In classical antiquity, Phrygia ( ; grc, Φρυγία, ''Phrygía'' ) was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Asian Turkey, centered on the Sangarios River. After its conquest, it became a region of the great empires ...
. Seleucus arrived in time to save Lysimachus and utterly crushed Antigonus at the
Battle of Ipsus The Battle of Ipsus ( grc, Ἱψός) was fought between some of the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great) in 301 BC near the town of Ipsus in Phrygia. Antigonus I Monophthalmus, the Macedonian ruler of large parts of Asia, and his ...
in 301 BC. Seleucus' war elephants proved decisive, Antigonus was killed, and Demetrius fled back to Greece to attempt to preserve the remnants of his rule there by recapturing a rebellious Athens. Meanwhile, Lysimachus took over
Ionia Ionia () was an ancient region on the western coast of Anatolia, to the south of present-day Izmir. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greeks, Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the I ...
, Seleucus took
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian: ''klkyʾy'' (''Klikiyā''); Parthian language, Parthian: ''kylkyʾ'' (''Kilikiyā''); tr, Kilikya). is a geographical region in southern Anatolia in Turkey, extending inland from th ...
, and Ptolemy captured
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country located south of the Anatolian Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its continental position is disputed; while it is geo ...
. After Cassander's death in , however, Demetrius, who still maintained a sizable loyal army and fleet, invaded Macedon, seized the Macedonian throne (294 BC) and conquered
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...
and most of central Greece (293–291 BC). He was defeated in 288 BC when
Lysimachus Lysimachus (; Greek language, Greek: Λυσίμαχος, ''Lysimachos''; c. 360 BC – 281 BC) was a Thessaly, Thessalian officer and Diadochi, successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Anatolia, Asia Minor and Mace ...
of Thrace and
Pyrrhus of Epirus Pyrrhus (; grc-gre, Πύρρος ; 319/318–272 BC) was a Greeks, Greek king and wikt:statesman, statesman of the Hellenistic period.Plutarch. ''Parallel Lives'',Pyrrhus... He was king of the List of ancient Greek tribes#Epirus, Greek tribe o ...
invaded Macedon on two fronts, and quickly carved up the kingdom for themselves. Demetrius fled to central Greece with his mercenaries and began to build support there and in the northern Peloponnese. He once again laid siege to Athens after they turned on him, but then struck a treaty with the Athenians and Ptolemy, which allowed him to cross over to Asia Minor and wage war on Lysimachus' holdings in
Ionia Ionia () was an ancient region on the western coast of Anatolia, to the south of present-day Izmir. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greeks, Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the I ...
, leaving his son Antigonus Gonatas in Greece. After initial successes, he was forced to surrender to Seleucus in 285 BC and later died in captivity. Lysimachus, who had seized Macedon and Thessaly for himself, was forced into war when Seleucus invaded his territories in Asia Minor and was defeated and killed in 281 BC at the Battle of Corupedium, near
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian language, Lydian: 𐤳𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣 ''Sfard''; el, Σάρδεις ''Sardeis''; peo, Sparda; hbo, ספרד ''Sfarad'') was an ancient city at the location of modern ''Sart'' (Sartmahmut before 19 October 2005) ...
. Seleucus then attempted to conquer Lysimachus' European territories in Thrace and Macedon, but he was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus ("the thunderbolt"), who had taken refuge at the Seleucid court and then had himself acclaimed as king of Macedon. Ptolemy was killed when Macedon was invaded by Gauls in 279 BC—his head stuck on a spear—and the country fell into anarchy. Antigonus II Gonatas invaded Thrace in the summer of 277 and defeated a large force of 18,000 Gauls. He was quickly hailed as king of Macedon and went on to rule for 35 years. At this point the tripartite territorial division of the Hellenistic age was in place, with the main Hellenistic powers being
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
under Demetrius's son Antigonus II Gonatas, the Ptolemaic kingdom under the aged Ptolemy I and the
Seleucid empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
under Seleucus' son Antiochus I Soter.


Southern Europe


Kingdom of Epirus

Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region , image_map = Epirus antiquus tabula.jpg , map_alt = , map_caption = Map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich ...
was a
northwestern Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós), also known as West Greek, was a group of Ancient Greek dialects; its Variety (linguistics), varieties are divided into the Doric proper and Northwest Doric subgroups. Doric was spoken in a v ...
kingdom in the western
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographical area in southeastern Europe with various geographical and historical definitions. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the who ...
ruled by the Molossian
Aeacidae Aeacidae ( grc-gre, Αἰακίδαι, Aiakídai) refers to the Greek descendants of Aeacus, including Peleus, son of Aeacus, and Achilles, grandson of Aeacus—several times in the ''Iliad'' Homer refers to Achilles as Αἰακίδης (Aiakid ...
dynasty. Epirus was an ally of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
during the reigns of Philip II and Alexander. In 281 Pyrrhus (nicknamed "the eagle", ''aetos'') invaded southern Italy to aid the city state of Tarentum. Pyrrhus defeated the Romans in the
Battle of Heraclea The Battle of Heraclea took place in 280 BC between the Roman Republic, Romans under the command of Roman consul, consul Publius Valerius Laevinus, and the combined forces of Greeks from Epirus (ancient state), Epirus, Taranto, Tarentum, Thurii ...
and at the
Battle of Asculum The Battle of Asculum took place in 279 BC between the Roman Republic under the command of the Roman consul, consuls Publius Decius Mus (consul 279 BC), Publius Decius Mus and Publius Sulpicius Saverrio, and the forces of King Pyrrhus of Epirus. ...
. Though victorious, he was forced to retreat due to heavy losses, hence the term "
Pyrrhic victory A Pyrrhic victory ( ) is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Such a victory negates any true sense of achievement or damages long-term progress. The phrase originates from a quote from ...
". Pyrrhus then turned south and invaded Sicily but was unsuccessful and returned to Italy. After the Battle of Beneventum (275 BC) Pyrrhus lost all his Italian holdings and left for Epirus. Pyrrhus then went to war with Macedonia in 275 BC, deposing Antigonus II Gonatas and briefly ruling over Macedonia and
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...
until 272. Afterwards he invaded southern Greece, and was killed in battle against Argos in 272 BC. After the death of Pyrrhus, Epirus remained a minor power. In 233 BC the Aeacid royal family was deposed and a federal state was set up called the
Epirote League The Epirote League ( Epirote: , ''Koinòn Āpeirōtân''; Attic: , ''Koinòn Ēpeirōtôn'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world ...
. The league was conquered by Rome in the
Third Macedonian War The Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) was a war fought between the Roman Republic and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC, King Philip V of Macedon died and was succeeded by his ambitious son Perseus of Macedon, Perseus. He was anti-Roman and ...
(171–168 BC).


Kingdom of Macedon

Antigonus II, a student of
Zeno of Citium Zeno of Citium (; grc-x-koine, Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς, ; c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Clas ...
, spent most of his rule defending Macedon against
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region , image_map = Epirus antiquus tabula.jpg , map_alt = , map_caption = Map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich ...
and cementing Macedonian power in Greece, first against the Athenians in the
Chremonidean War The Chremonidean War (267–261 BC) was fought by a coalition of some Polis, Greek city-states and Ptolemaic Egypt against Antigonid Macedonian domination. It ended in a Macedonian victory which confirmed Antigonid dynasty, Antigonid control ov ...
, and then against the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Koinon ton Akhaion'' "League of Achaeans") was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greece, Greek polis, city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Ac ...
of
Aratus of Sicyon Aratus of Sicyon (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...
. Under the Antigonids, Macedonia was often short on funds, the Pangaeum mines were no longer as productive as under Philip II, the wealth from Alexander's campaigns had been used up and the countryside pillaged by the Gallic invasion. A large number of the Macedonian population had also been resettled abroad by Alexander or had chosen to emigrate to the new eastern Greek cities. Up to two-thirds of the population emigrated, and the Macedonian army could only count on a levy of 25,000 men, a significantly smaller force than under Philip II. Antigonus II ruled until his death in 239 BC. His son Demetrius II soon died in 229 BC, leaving a child (Philip V) as king, with the general Antigonus Doson as regent. Doson led Macedon to victory in the war against the Spartan king
Cleomenes III Cleomenes III ( grc, Κλεομένης) was one of the two kings of Sparta from 235 to 222 BC. He was a member of the Agiad dynasty and succeeded his father, Leonidas II. He is known for his attempts to reform the Spartan state. From 229 to 22 ...
, and occupied
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
. Philip V, who came to power when Doson died in 221 BC, was the last Macedonian ruler with both the talent and the opportunity to unite Greece and preserve its independence against the "cloud rising in the west": the ever-increasing power of Rome. He was known as "the darling of Hellas". Under his auspices the Peace of Naupactus (217 BC) brought the latest war between Macedon and the Greek leagues ( the Social War of 220–217 BC) to an end, and at this time he controlled all of Greece except Athens, Rhodes and Pergamum. In 215 BC Philip, with his eye on
Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria (; grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyr ...
, formed an alliance with Rome's enemy
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Punic people, Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Ancient Carthage, Carthage in their battle against the Roman ...
of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of Ancient Carthage, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in ...
, which led to Roman alliances with the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Koinon ton Akhaion'' "League of Achaeans") was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greece, Greek polis, city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Ac ...
, Rhodes and Pergamum. The
First Macedonian War The First Macedonian War (214–205 BC) was fought by Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Ro ...
broke out in 212 BC, and ended inconclusively in 205 BC. Philip continued to wage war against Pergamum and Rhodes for control of the Aegean (204–200 BC) and ignored Roman demands for non-intervention in Greece by invading Attica. In 198 BC, during the
Second Macedonian War The Second Macedonian War (200–197 BC) was fought between Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic an ...
Philip was decisively defeated at
Cynoscephalae Cynoscephalae ( grc, Κυνὸς κεφαλαί, meaning "dog's heads") may refer to: Geography * Cynoscephalae (Boeotia), a town of ancient Boeotia * Cynoscephalae (Thessaly), a town of ancient Thessaly * Cynoscephalae Hills (Boeotia), a range of ...
by the Roman proconsul
Titus Quinctius Flamininus Titus Quinctius Flamininus (c. 228 – 174 BC) was a Roman Republic, Roman politician and general instrumental in the Roman conquest of Greece. Family background Flamininus belonged to the minor Patrician (ancient Rome), patrician ''gens'' Q ...
and Macedon lost all its territories in Greece proper. Southern Greece was now thoroughly brought into the Roman
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural, economic, military or political exclusivity. While there may be a formal al ...
, though it retained nominal autonomy. The end of Antigonid Macedon came when Philip V's son, Perseus, was defeated and captured by the Romans in the
Third Macedonian War The Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) was a war fought between the Roman Republic and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC, King Philip V of Macedon died and was succeeded by his ambitious son Perseus of Macedon, Perseus. He was anti-Roman and ...
(171–168 BC).


Rest of Greece

During the Hellenistic period the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply. The great centers of Hellenistic culture were
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
and
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and
Seleucid Syria The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
respectively. The conquests of Alexander greatly widened the horizons of the Greek world, making the endless conflicts between the cities which had marked the 5th and 4th centuries BC seem petty and unimportant. It led to a steady emigration, particularly of the young and ambitious, to the new Greek empires in the east. Many Greeks migrated to
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
,
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as modern
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
and
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
. Independent city states were unable to compete with Hellenistic kingdoms and were usually forced to ally themselves to one of them for defense, giving honors to Hellenistic rulers in return for protection. One example is
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
, which had been decisively defeated by
Antipater Antipater (; grc, , translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under the subsequent kingships of Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great Alexander III of M ...
in the
Lamian war The Lamian War, or the Hellenic War (323–322 BC) was fought by a coalition of cities including Athens and the Aetolian League against Macedon and its ally Boeotia. The war broke out after the death of the King of Macedon, Alexander the Great, ...
(323–322 BC) and had its port in the
Piraeus Piraeus ( ; el, Πειραιάς ; grc, Πειραιεύς ) is a Port#Ancient Greece, port city within the Athens urban area ("Greater Athens"), in the Attica (region), Attica region of Greece. It is located southwest of Athens' city centr ...
garrisoned by Macedonian troops who supported a conservative
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a conceptual form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may or may not be distinguished by one or several characteristics, such as nobility Nobility is a social class foun ...
. After
Demetrius Poliorcetes Demetrius I (; grc, Δημήτριος; 337–283 BC), also called Poliorcetes (; el, Πολιορκητής, "The Besieger"), was a Macedonian nobleman, military leader, and king of Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), a ...
captured Athens in 307 BC and restored the
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
, the Athenians honored him and his father Antigonus by placing gold statues of them on the
agora The agora (; grc, ἀγορά, romanized: ', meaning "market" in Modern Greek) was a central public space in ancient Ancient Greece, Greek polis, city-states. It is the best representation of a city-state's response to accommodate the social a ...
and granting them the title of king. Athens later allied itself to Ptolemaic Egypt to throw off Macedonian rule, eventually setting up a religious cult for the Ptolemaic kings and naming one of the city's
phyle ''Phyle'' ( gr, φυλή, phulē, "tribe, clan"; pl. ''phylai'', φυλαί; derived from ancient Greek φύεσθαι "to descend, to originate") is an ancient Greek term for tribe or clan. Members of the same ''phyle'' were known as ''symphylet ...
s in honour of Ptolemy for his aid against Macedon. In spite of the Ptolemaic monies and fleets backing their endeavors,
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
and
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
were defeated by Antigonus II during the
Chremonidean War The Chremonidean War (267–261 BC) was fought by a coalition of some Polis, Greek city-states and Ptolemaic Egypt against Antigonid Macedonian domination. It ended in a Macedonian victory which confirmed Antigonid dynasty, Antigonid control ov ...
(267–261 BC). Athens was then occupied by Macedonian troops, and run by Macedonian officials.
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
remained independent, but it was no longer the leading military power in the
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos,(), or Morea is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmu ...
. The Spartan king Cleomenes III (235–222 BC) staged a military coup against the conservative
ephors The ephors were a board of five magistrates in ancient Sparta. They had an extensive range of judicial, religious, legislative, and military powers, and could shape Sparta's home and foreign affairs. The word "''ephors''" (Ancient Greek ''ép ...
and pushed through radical social and land reforms in order to increase the size of the shrinking Spartan citizenry able to provide military service and restore Spartan power. Sparta's bid for supremacy was crushed at the Battle of Sellasia (222 BC) by the Achaean league and Macedon, who restored the power of the
ephors The ephors were a board of five magistrates in ancient Sparta. They had an extensive range of judicial, religious, legislative, and military powers, and could shape Sparta's home and foreign affairs. The word "''ephors''" (Ancient Greek ''ép ...
. Other
city states A city-state is an independent sovereign ''Sovereign'' is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French , which is ultimately derived from the Latin , meaning 'above'. The ro ...
formed
federated states A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia' ...
in self-defense, such as the
Aetolian League The Aetolian (or Aitolian) League ( grc-gre, Κοινὸν τῶν Αἰτωλῶν) was a confederation of tribal communities and cities in ancient Greece centered in Aetolia in central Greece. It was probably established during the early Hellen ...
( 370 BC), the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Koinon ton Akhaion'' "League of Achaeans") was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greece, Greek polis, city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Ac ...
( 280 BC), the
Boeotian league Boeotia ( ), sometimes Latinisation of names, Latinized as Boiotia or Beotia ( el, wikt:Βοιωτία, Βοιωτία; modern Greek, modern: ; ancient Greek, ancient: ), formerly known as Cadmeis, is one of the regional units of Greece. It is pa ...
, the "Northern League" (
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc, Βυζάντιον) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek Polis, city in classical antiquity that became known as Constantinople in late antiquity and Istanbul today. The Greek name ''Byzantion'' and its Romanizat ...
,
Chalcedon Chalcedon ( or ; , sometimes transliteration, transliterated as ''Chalkedon'') was an ancient maritime history, maritime town of Bithynia, in Anatolia, Asia Minor. It was located almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Üsküdar, Scutari ...
,
Heraclea Pontica __NOTOC__ Heraclea Pontica (; gr, Ἡράκλεια Ποντική, Hērakleia Pontikē), known in Byzantine and later times as Pontoheraclea ( gr, Ποντοηράκλεια, Pontohērakleia), was an ancient city on the coast of Bithynia in Asi ...
and Tium) and the " Nesiotic League" of the
Cyclades The Cyclades (; el, Κυκλάδες, ) are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago ...
. These federations involved a central government which controlled
foreign policy A State (polity), state's foreign policy or external policy (as opposed to internal or domestic policy) is its objectives and activities in relation to its interactions with other states, unions, and other political entities, whether bilaterall ...
and military affairs, while leaving most of the local governing to the city states, a system termed
sympoliteia A ''sympoliteia'' ( gr, συμπολιτεία, , joint citizenship), anglicized as sympolity, was a type of treaty for political organization in ancient Greece. By the time of the Hellenistic period, it occurred in two forms. In mainland Greece, ...
. In states such as the Achaean league, this also involved the admission of other ethnic groups into the federation with equal rights, in this case, non- Achaeans. The Achean league was able to drive out the Macedonians from the Peloponnese and free Corinth, which duly joined the league. One of the few city states who managed to maintain full independence from the control of any Hellenistic kingdom was
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
. With a skilled navy to protect its trade fleets from pirates and an ideal strategic position covering the routes from the east into the Aegean, Rhodes prospered during the Hellenistic period. It became a center of culture and commerce, its coins were widely circulated and its philosophical schools became one of the best in the Mediterranean. After holding out for one year under siege by Demetrius Poliorcetes (305–304 BC), the Rhodians built the
Colossus of Rhodes The Colossus of Rhodes ( grc, ὁ Κολοσσὸς Ῥόδιος, ho Kolossòs Rhódios gr, Κολοσσός της Ρόδου, Kolossós tes Rhódou) was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes (city), Rhodes, on ...
to commemorate their victory. They retained their independence by the maintenance of a powerful navy, by maintaining a carefully neutral posture and acting to preserve the balance of power between the major Hellenistic kingdoms. Initially Rhodes had very close ties with the Ptolemaic kingdom. Rhodes later became a Roman ally against the Seleucids, receiving some territory in
Caria Caria (; from Greek language, Greek: Καρία, ''Karia''; tr, Karya) was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia (Mycale) south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionians, Ionian and Dorians, Dorian Greeks coloniz ...
for their role in the
Roman–Seleucid War The Seleucid War (192–188 BC), also known as the War of Antiochos or the Syrian War, was a military conflict between two coalitions led by the Roman Republic and the Seleucid Empire. The fighting took place in modern day southern Greece, the A ...
(192–188 BC). Rome eventually turned on Rhodes and annexed the island as a Roman province.


Balkans

The west
Balkan The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographical area in southeastern Europe with various geographical and historical definitions. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whol ...
coast was inhabited by various Illyrian tribes and kingdoms such as the kingdom of the
Dalmatae The Delmatae, alternatively Dalmatæ, during the Roman period, were a group of Illyrian tribes in Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is one of the four historical region, historical re ...
and of the
Ardiaei The Ardiaei were an Illyrians, Illyrian List of ancient Illyrian peoples and tribes, people who resided in the territory of present-day Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia between the Adriatic coast on the south, Konjic ...
, who often engaged in
piracy Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable goods. Those who conduct acts of piracy are called pirates, v ...
under Queen Teuta (reigned 231–227 BC). Further inland was the Illyrian Paeonian Kingdom and the tribe of the
Agrianes The Agrianes (Ancient Greek: Ἀγρίανες, ''Agrianes'' or Ἀγρίαι ''Agriai'') or Agrianians, were a tribe whose country was centered at Upper Struma (river), Strymon, in present-day central Western Bulgaria as well as southeasternmost ...
. Illyrians on the coast of the
Adriatic The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan Peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
were under the effects and influence of
Hellenisation Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek Greek culture, culture, Religion in Greece, religion, Greek language, language and Ethnic identity, identity by non-Greeks. In the Ancient Greece, ancient ...
and some tribes adopted Greek, becoming bilingualDalmatia: research in the Roman province 1970–2001 : papers in honour of J.J by David Davison, Vincent L. Gaffney, J. J. Wilkes, Emilio Marin, 2006, p. 21, "...completely Hellenised town..." due to their proximity to the
Greek colonies Greek colonization was an organised Colonies in antiquity, colonial expansion by the Archaic Greece, Archaic Greeks into the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea in the period of the 8th–6th centuries BC. This colonization differed from the Iron Ag ...
in Illyria. Illyrians imported weapons and armor from the
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
(such as the Illyrian type helmet, originally a Greek type) and also adopted the ornamentation of ancient
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
on their shields and their war belts (a single one has been found, dated 3rd century BC at modern Selce e Poshtme, a part of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
at the time under Philip V of Macedon). The
Odrysian Kingdom The Odrysian Kingdom (; Ancient Greek: ) was a state grouping many List of ancient tribes in Thrace and Dacia, Thracian tribes united by the Odrysae, which arose in the early 5th century BCE, BC and existed at least until the late 1st century BC. ...
was a union of
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
tribes under the kings of the powerful Odrysian tribe. Various parts of Thrace were under Macedonian rule under Philip II of Macedon,
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
,
Lysimachus Lysimachus (; Greek language, Greek: Λυσίμαχος, ''Lysimachos''; c. 360 BC – 281 BC) was a Thessaly, Thessalian officer and Diadochi, successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Anatolia, Asia Minor and Mace ...
, Ptolemy II, and Philip V but were also often ruled by their own kings. The
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
and
Agrianes The Agrianes (Ancient Greek: Ἀγρίανες, ''Agrianes'' or Ἀγρίαι ''Agriai'') or Agrianians, were a tribe whose country was centered at Upper Struma (river), Strymon, in present-day central Western Bulgaria as well as southeasternmost ...
were widely used by Alexander as
peltasts A ''peltast'' ( grc-gre, πελταστής ) was a type of light infantry, light infantryman, originating in Thracians, Thrace and Paeonia (kingdom), Paeonia, and named after the kind of shield he carried. Thucydides mentions the Thracian pelt ...
and
light cavalry Light cavalry comprised lightly armed and armored cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry w ...
, forming about one fifth of his army. The Diadochi also used Thracian mercenaries in their armies and they were also used as colonists. The Odrysians used
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
as the language of administration and of the nobility. The nobility also adopted Greek fashions in dress, ornament and military equipment, spreading it to the other tribes. Thracian kings were among the first to be Hellenized. After 278 BC the Odrysians had a strong competitor in the Celtic Kingdom of Tylis ruled by the kings Comontorius and Cavarus, but in 212 BC they conquered their enemies and destroyed their capital.


Western Mediterranean

Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia or ) also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (), is a macroregion of the Italian Republic consisting of its southern half. The term ''Mezzogiorno'' today refers to regions that are associated with the pe ...
(
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; , , grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day Regions of Italy, Italian regions of Calabria, Apulia, Basilicat ...
) and south-eastern
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
had been colonized by the Greeks during the 8th century BC. In 4th-century BC Sicily the leading Greek city and
hegemon Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one State (polity), state over other states. In Ancient Greece (8th BC – AD 6th ), hegemony denoted the politico-military dominance of the ''hegemon'' city-state over oth ...
was
Syracuse Syracuse may refer to: Places Italy *Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse ( ; it, Siracusa ; scn, Sarausa ), ; grc-att, wikt:Συράκουσαι, Συράκουσαι, Syrákousai, ; grc-dor, wikt:Συράκοσαι, Συράκοσαι, Syrā́ ...
. During the Hellenistic period the leading figure in Sicily was
Agathocles of Syracuse Agathocles ( grc-gre, Ἀγαθοκλῆς, ''Agathoklḗs''; 361–289 BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch ...
(361–289 BC) who seized the city with an army of mercenaries in 317 BC. Agathocles extended his power throughout most of the Greek cities in Sicily, fought a long war with the
Carthaginians The Punic people, or western Phoenicians, were a Semitic people, Semitic people in the Western Mediterranean who migrated from Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, Phoenicia to North Africa during the Iron Age, Early Iron Age. In modern scholarship, the term '' ...
, at one point invading
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , ...
in 310 BC and defeating a Carthaginian army there. This was the first time a European force had invaded the region. After this war he controlled most of south-east Sicily and had himself proclaimed king, in imitation of the Hellenistic monarchs of the east. Agathocles then invaded Italy () in defense of Tarentum against the Bruttians and Romans, but was unsuccessful. Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul were mostly limited to the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
coast of
Provence Provence (, , , , ; oc, Provença or ''Prouvènço'' , ) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the France–Italy border, Italian border ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
. The first Greek colony in the region was
Massalia Massalia (Ancient Greek, Greek: Μασσαλία; Latin: Massilia; modern Marseille) was an ancient Greek colony founded ca. 600 BC on the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast of present-day France, east of the river Rhône, by Ionian Greeks, ...
, which became one of the largest trading ports of Mediterranean by the 4th century BC with 6,000 inhabitants. Massalia was also the local
hegemon Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one State (polity), state over other states. In Ancient Greece (8th BC – AD 6th ), hegemony denoted the politico-military dominance of the ''hegemon'' city-state over oth ...
, controlling various coastal Greek cities like
Nice Nice ( , ; Niçard dialect, Niçard: , classical norm, or , nonstandard, ; it, Nizza ; lij, Nissa; grc, Νίκαια; la, Nicaea) is the prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes departments of France, department in France. The Nice urban unit, agg ...
and
Agde Agde (; ) is a commune in the Hérault department in Southern France. It is the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi. Location Agde is located on the Hérault river, from the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea c ...
. The coins minted in Massalia have been found in all parts of Liguro-Celtic Gaul. Celtic coinage was influenced by Greek designs, and Greek letters can be found on various Celtic coins, especially those of
Southern France Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French language, French as , is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin,Louis Papy, ''Le midi ...
.''Celtic Inscriptions on Gaulish and British Coins'' by Beale Poste p
135
/ref> Traders from Massalia ventured inland deep into France on the Rivers
Durance The Durance (; ''Durença'' in the Occitan language, Occitan classical norm or ''Durènço'' in the Mistralian norm) is a major river in Southeastern France. A left tributary of the Rhône, it is long. Its drainage basin is .< ...
and Rhône, and established overland trade routes deep into
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celts, Celtic and Aquitani tribes, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy (only dur ...
, and to
Switzerland ). Swiss law does not designate a ''capital'' as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gall ...
and
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and former Regions of France, administrative region and province of east-central France. The province was once home to the Duke of Burgundy, Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11 ...
. The Hellenistic period saw the Greek alphabet spread into southern Gaul from Massalia (3rd and 2nd centuries BC) and according to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...
, Massalia was also a center of education, where
Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-Europea ...
went to learn Greek. A staunch ally of Rome, Massalia retained its independence until it sided with
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
in 49 BC and was then taken by Caesar's forces. The city of Emporion (modern Empúries), originally founded by Archaic-period settlers from
Phocaea Phocaea or Phokaia (Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: Φώκαια, ''Phókaia''; modern-day Foça in Turkey) was an ancient Ionian Ancient Greece, Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. Colonies in antiquity, Greek colonists from Phoc ...
and Massalia in the 6th century BC near the village of Sant Martí d'Empúries (located on an offshore island that forms part of L'Escala,
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, nationality'' by its Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 2006, Statute ...
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
), was reestablished in the 5th century BC with a new city (''neapolis'') on the Iberian mainland. Emporion contained a mixed population of Greek colonists and Iberian natives, and although
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
and
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...
assert that they lived in different quarters, these two groups were eventually integrated. The city became a dominant trading hub and center of Hellenistic civilization in Iberia, eventually siding with the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
against the
Carthaginian Empire Carthage () was a settlement in modern Tunisia that later became a city-state and then an empire. Founded by the Phoenicians in the ninth century BC, Carthage reached its height in the fourth century BC as one of the largest metropolises in t ...
during the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) was the second of Punic Wars, three wars fought between Ancient Carthage, Carthage and Roman Republic, Rome, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC. For ...
(218–201 BC). However, Emporion lost its political independence around 195 BC with the establishment of the
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
of
Hispania Citerior Hispania Citerior (English: "Hither Iberia", or "Nearer Iberia") was a Roman province in Hispania during the Roman Republic. It was on the eastern coast of Iberia down to the town of Cartago Nova, today's Cartagena, Spain, Cartagena in the autonom ...
and by the 1st century BC had become fully
Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics, is the conversion of text from a different writing system to the Latin script, Roman (Latin) script, or a system for doing so. Methods of romanization include transliteration, for representing writ ...
in culture.


Hellenistic Near East

The Hellenistic states of Asia and Egypt were run by an occupying imperial elite of Greco-Macedonian administrators and governors propped up by a standing army of mercenaries and a small core of Greco-Macedonian settlers. Promotion of immigration from Greece was important in the establishment of this system. Hellenistic monarchs ran their kingdoms as royal estates and most of the heavy tax revenues went into the military and paramilitary forces which preserved their rule from any kind of revolution. Macedonian and Hellenistic monarchs were expected to lead their armies on the field, along with a group of privileged aristocratic companions or friends (''hetairoi'', ''philoi'') which dined and drank with the king and acted as his advisory council. The monarch was also expected to serve as a charitable patron of the people; this public philanthropy could mean building projects and handing out gifts but also promotion of
Greek culture The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Minoan civilization, Minoan and later in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, while influencing the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine ...
and religion.


Ptolemaic Kingdom

Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-gre, wikt:Πτολεμαῖος, Πτολεμαῖος, ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, and music theorist, who wrote about a dozen scientific Treatise, treatis ...
, a somatophylax, one of the seven
bodyguard A bodyguard (or close protection officer/operative) is a type of security guard, government law enforcement officer, or servicemember who protects a person or a group of people — usually witnesses, high-ranking public officials or officers, w ...
s who served as
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
's generals and deputies, was appointed
satrap A satrap () was a governor of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to t ...
of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
after Alexander's death in 323 BC. In 305 BC, he declared himself King Ptolemy I, later known as "Soter" (saviour) for his role in helping the Rhodians during the siege of Rhodes. Ptolemy built new cities such as
Ptolemais Hermiou Ptolemais Hermiou, or Ptolemais in the Thebaid, was a city and metropolitan archbishopric in Greco-Roman Egypt and remains a Catholic titular see. Today, the city of El Mansha ()-Bsoi () in the Sohag Governorate is located where the ancient city ...
in
upper Egypt Upper Egypt ( ar, صعيد مصر ', shortened to , , locally: ; ) is the southern portion of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spannin ...
and settled his veterans throughout the country, especially in the region of the
Faiyum Faiyum ( ar, الفيوم ' , borrowed from cop,  ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ or Ⲫⲓⲱⲙ ' from egy, pꜣ ym "the Sea, Lake") is a city in Middle Egypt. Located southwest of Cairo, in the Faiyum Oasis, it is the capital of the modern Faiyum ...
.
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
, a major center of Greek culture and trade, became his capital city. As Egypt's first port city, it became the main grain exporter in the Mediterranean. The
Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المَصرِيُون, translit=al-Maṣriyyūn, ; arz, المَصرِيِين, translit=al-Maṣriyyīn, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group native to the Nile Valley in Egypt. Egyptian ident ...
begrudgingly accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the
pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebrew: ''Parʿō'') is the vernacular term often used by modern authors for the kings of ancient Egypt who ruled as Monarch, monarchs from th ...
s of independent Egypt, though the kingdom went through several native revolts. Ptolemy I began to order monetary contributions from the people, and as a result rewarded cities with high contribution with royal benefaction. This often resulted in the formation of a royal cult within the city. Reservations about this activity slowly dissipated as this worship of mortals was justified by the precedent of the worshipping of Greek heroes. The Ptolemies took on the traditions of the Egyptian
Pharaohs Pharaoh (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebrew: ''Parʿō'') is the vernacular term often used by modern authors for the kings of ancient Egypt who ruled as Monarch, monarchs from th ...
, such as marrying their siblings ( Ptolemy II was the first to adopt this custom), having themselves portrayed on public monuments in Egyptian style and dress, and participating in Egyptian religious life. The Ptolemaic ruler cult portrayed the Ptolemies as gods, and temples to the Ptolemies were erected throughout the kingdom. Ptolemy I even created a new god,
Serapis Serapis or Sarapis is a Greeks in Egypt, Graeco-Egyptian deity. The cult of Serapis was promoted during the third century BC on the orders of Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy I Soter of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egy ...
, who was a combination of two Egyptian gods: Apis and Osiris, with attributes of
Greek gods The following is a list of gods, goddesses, and many other Divinity, divine and semi-divine figures from ancient Greek mythology and ancient Greek religion. Immortals The Greeks created images of their deities for many purposes. A temple would h ...
. Ptolemaic administration was, like the ancient Egyptian bureaucracy, highly centralized and focused on squeezing as much revenue out of the population as possible through tariffs, excise duties, fines, taxes, and so forth. A whole class of petty officials, tax farmers, clerks, and overseers made this possible. The Egyptian countryside was directly administered by this royal bureaucracy. External possessions such as Cyprus and Cyrene were run by ''strategoi'', military commanders appointed by the crown. Under Ptolemy II,
Callimachus Callimachus (; ) was an ancient Greek poet, scholar and librarian who was active in Alexandria during the 3rd century BC. A representative of Ancient Greek literature of the Hellenistic period, he wrote over 800 literary works in a wide variety ...
,
Apollonius of Rhodes Apollonius of Rhodes ( grc, Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος ''Apollṓnios Rhódios''; la, Apollonius Rhodius; fl. first half of 3rd century BC) was an ancient Greek literature, ancient Greek author, best known for the ''Argonautica'', an ep ...
,
Theocritus Theocritus (; grc-gre, Θεόκριτος, ''Theokritos''; born c. 300 BC, died after 260 BC) was a Greeks, Greek poet from Sicily and the creator of Ancient Greek pastoral poetry. Life Little is known of Theocritus beyond what can be inferred ...
, and a host of other poets including the Alexandrian Pleiad made the city a center of Hellenistic literature. Ptolemy himself was eager to patronise the library, scientific research and individual scholars who lived on the grounds of the library. He and his successors also fought a series of wars with the Seleucids, known as the
Syrian wars The Syrian Wars were a series of six wars between the Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed ...
, over the region of
Coele-Syria Coele-Syria (, also spelt Coele Syria, Coelesyria, Celesyria) alternatively Coelo-Syria or Coelosyria (; grc-gre, Κοίλη Συρία, ''Koílē Syría'', 'Hollow Syria'; lat, Cœlē Syria or ), was a region of Syria Syria ( ar ...
. Ptolemy IV won the great
battle of Raphia The Battle of Raphia, also known as the Battle of Gaza, was fought on 22 June 217 BC near modern Rafah between the forces of Ptolemy IV of Egypt, Ptolemy IV Philopator, king and pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt and Antiochus III the Great of the Sele ...
(217 BC) against the Seleucids, using native Egyptians trained as
phalangites The Macedonian phalanx ( gr, Μακεδονική φάλαγξ) was an infantry Formation (military), formation developed by Philip II of Macedon, Philip II from the classical Greek phalanx, of which the main innovation was the use of the sarissa, ...
. However these Egyptian soldiers revolted, eventually setting up a native breakaway Egyptian state in the
Thebaid The Thebaid or Thebais ( grc-gre, Θηβαΐς, ''Thēbaïs'') was a region in ancient Egypt, comprising the 13 southernmost nome (Egypt), nomes of Upper Egypt, from Abydos, Egypt, Abydos to Aswan. Pharaonic history The Thebaid acquired its ...
between 205 and 186/185 BC, severely weakening the Ptolemaic state. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
conquest of 30 BC. All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy. Ptolemaic queens, some of whom were the sisters of their husbands, were usually called Cleopatra, Arsinoe, or Berenice. The most famous member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII, known for her role in the Roman political battles between
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
and
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
, and later between
Octavian Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Principate ...
and
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
. Her suicide at the conquest by Rome marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt, though Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods until the Muslim conquest.


Seleucid Empire

Following division of
Alexander Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Variants li ...
's empire, Seleucus I Nicator received
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
. From there, he created a new empire which expanded to include much of Alexander's
near east The ''Near East''; he, המזרח הקרוב; arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ; fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik; tr, Yakın Doğu is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region in Western Asia, that was once the hist ...
ern territories. At the height of its power, it included central
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
, the
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
,
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
, today's
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan / Түркменистан, ) is a country located in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, northwest, Uzbekistan to the Turkmenistan–Uzbekistan border, north, eas ...
,
Pamir Pamir may refer to: Geographical features * Pamir Mountains, a mountain range in Central Asia ** Pamir-Alay, a mountain system in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, part of the Pamir Mountains *A pamir (valley) is a high plateau or valley surro ...
, and parts of
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 24 ...
. It included a diverse population estimated at fifty to sixty million people. Under Antiochus I ( – 261 BC), however, the unwieldy empire was already beginning to shed territories.
Pergamum Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
broke away under Eumenes I who defeated a Seleucid army sent against him. The kingdoms of Cappadocia, Bithynia and Pontus were all practically independent by this time as well. Like the Ptolemies, Antiochus I established a dynastic religious cult, deifying his father Seleucus I. Seleucus, officially said to be descended from Apollo, had his own priests and monthly sacrifices. The erosion of the empire continued under Seleucus II, who was forced to fight a civil war (239–236 BC) against his brother Antiochus Hierax and was unable to keep
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
,
Sogdiana Sogdia (Sogdian language, Sogdian: ) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian civilization between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also ...
and
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in northeastern Greater Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes ...
from breaking away. Hierax carved off most of Seleucid Anatolia for himself, but was defeated, along with his Galatian allies, by Attalus I of Pergamon who now also claimed kingship. The vast Seleucid Empire was, like Egypt, mostly dominated by a Greco-Macedonian political elite.Britannica,'' Seleucid kingdom'', 2008, O.Ed. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by emigration from
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
. These cities included newly founded colonies such as
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
, the other cities of the
Syrian tetrapolis Seleucis of Syria ( grc, Σελευκίς τῆς Συρίας ) was a region of the Seleucid Empire located in northern Syria. It was also known as the Syrian Tetrapolis, The four cities had been founded by Seleucus Nicator; *Antioch—named af ...
,
Seleucia Seleucia (; grc-gre, Σελεύκεια), also known as or , was a major Mesopotamian city of the Seleucid Empire, Seleucid empire. It stood on the west bank of the Tigris River, within the present-day Baghdad Governorate in Iraq. Name Seleu ...
(north of
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
) and
Dura-Europos Dura-Europos, ; la, Dūra Eurōpus, ( el, Δούρα Ευρωπός, Doúra Evropós, ) was a Hellenistic, Parthian Empire, Parthian, and Ancient Rome, Roman border city built on an escarpment above the southwestern bank of the Euphrates riv ...
on the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
. These cities retained traditional Greek city state institutions such as assemblies, councils and elected magistrates, but this was a facade for they were always controlled by the royal Seleucid officials. Apart from these cities, there were also a large number of Seleucid garrisons (''choria''), military colonies (''katoikiai'') and Greek villages (''komai'') which the Seleucids planted throughout the empire to cement their rule. This 'Greco-Macedonian' population (which also included the sons of settlers who had married local women) could make up a phalanx of 35,000 men (out of a total Seleucid army of 80,000) during the reign of Antiochus III. The rest of the army was made up of native troops. Antiochus III ("the Great") conducted several vigorous campaigns to retake all the lost provinces of the empire since the death of Seleucus I. After being defeated by Ptolemy IV's forces at Raphia (217 BC), Antiochus III led a long campaign to the east to subdue the far eastern breakaway provinces (212–205 BC) including
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
,
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in northeastern Greater Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes ...
,
Ariana Ariana was a general geographical Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted ...
,
Sogdiana Sogdia (Sogdian language, Sogdian: ) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian civilization between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also ...
, Gedrosia and
Drangiana Drangiana or Zarangiana ( el, Δραγγιανή, ''Drangianē''; also attested in Old Persian language, Old Western Iranian as Wikt:𐏀𐎼𐎣, 𐏀𐎼𐎣, ''Zraka'' or ''Zranka'', was a historical region and administrative division of the ...
. He was successful, bringing back most of these provinces into at least nominal
vassalage A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, chief, ...
and receiving tribute from their rulers. After the death of Ptolemy IV (204 BC), Antiochus took advantage of the weakness of Egypt to conquer Coele-Syria in the
fifth Syrian war The Syrian Wars were a series of six wars between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Diadochi, successor states to Alexander the Great's empire, during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC over the region then c ...
(202–195 BC). He then began expanding his influence into Pergamene territory in Asia and crossed into Europe, fortifying
Lysimachia ''Lysimachia'' () is a genus consisting of 193 accepted species of flowering plants traditionally Taxonomy (biology), classified in the family Primulaceae. Based on a Molecular phylogeny, molecular phylogenetic study it was transferred to the f ...
on the
Hellespont The Dardanelles (; tr, Çanakkale Boğazı, lit=Strait of Çanakkale, el, Δαρδανέλλια, translit=Dardanéllia), also known as the Strait of Gallipoli from the Gallipoli peninsula or from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (; ...
, but his expansion into
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
and Greece was abruptly halted after a decisive defeat at the
Battle of Magnesia The Battle of Magnesia took place in either December 190 or January 189 BC. It was fought as part of the Roman–Seleucid War, pitting forces of the Roman Republic led by the Roman consul, consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus and the allied ...
(190 BC). In the
Treaty of Apamea The Treaty of Apamea was a peace treaty conducted in 188 BC between the Roman Republic and Antiochus III, ruler of the Seleucid Empire. It ended the Roman–Seleucid War. The treaty took place after Roman victories at the Battle of Thermopylae ( ...
which ended the war, Antiochus lost all of his territories in Anatolia west of the Taurus and was forced to pay a large indemnity of 15,000 talents. Much of the eastern part of the empire was then conquered by the Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia in the mid-2nd century BC, yet the Seleucid kings continued to rule a
rump state A rump state is the remnant of a once much larger State (polity), state, left with a reduced territory in the wake of secession, annexation, military occupation, occupation, decolonization, or a successful coup d'état or revolution on part of it ...
from
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
until the invasion by the Armenian king
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
and their ultimate overthrow by the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
general
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
.


Attalid Pergamum

After the death of
Lysimachus Lysimachus (; Greek language, Greek: Λυσίμαχος, ''Lysimachos''; c. 360 BC – 281 BC) was a Thessaly, Thessalian officer and Diadochi, successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Anatolia, Asia Minor and Mace ...
, one of his officers,
Philetaerus Philetaerus (; grc, Φιλέταιρος, ''Philétairos'', c. 343 –263 BC) was the founder of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon in Anatolia. Early life and career under Lysimachus Philetaerus was born in Tieium (Greek: ''Tieion''), a small ...
, took control of the city of
Pergamum Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
in 282 BC along with Lysimachus' war chest of 9,000 talents and declared himself loyal to Seleucus I while remaining
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with '' de jure'' ("by l ...
independent. His descendant, Attalus I, defeated the invading
Galatia Galatia (; grc, Γαλατία, ''Galatía'', "Gaul") was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the Provinces of Turkey, provinces of Ankara Province, Ankara and Eskişehir Province, Eskişehir, in mode ...
ns and proclaimed himself an independent king. Attalus I (241–197 BC), was a staunch ally of Rome against Philip V of Macedon during the
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number 1 (number), one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record, specifically the first instance of a particular achievement Arts and media Music * 1$T, American rapper, singer-songwriter, D ...
and
second The second (symbol: s) is the unit of Time in physics, time in the International System of Units (SI), historically defined as of a day – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 hours, then to 60 minutes and finally t ...
Macedonian Wars The Macedonian Wars (214–148 BC) were a series of conflicts fought by the Roman Republic and its Greek allies in the eastern Mediterranean against several different major Greek kingdoms. They resulted in Roman control or influence over Ancient ...
. For his support against the
Seleucids The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
in 190 BC, Eumenes II was rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
. Eumenes II turned Pergamon into a centre of culture and science by establishing the library of Pergamum which was said to be second only to the
library of Alexandria The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean ...
with 200,000 volumes according to
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
. It included a reading room and a collection of paintings. Eumenes II also constructed the Pergamum Altar with friezes depicting the Gigantomachy on the
acropolis An acropolis was the settlement of an upper part of an ancient Greek city, especially a citadel, and frequently a hill with precipitous sides, mainly chosen for purposes of defense. The term is typically used to refer to the Acropolis of Athens, ...
of the city.
Pergamum Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
was also a center of
parchment Parchment is a writing material made from specially prepared Tanning (leather), untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has been used as a writing medium for over two millennia. Vellum is a finer quality parchment made ...
(''charta pergamena'') production. The Attalids ruled Pergamon until Attalus III bequeathed the kingdom to the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
in 133 BC to avoid a likely succession crisis.


Galatia

The Celts who settled in
Galatia Galatia (; grc, Γαλατία, ''Galatía'', "Gaul") was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the Provinces of Turkey, provinces of Ankara Province, Ankara and Eskişehir Province, Eskişehir, in mode ...
came through
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
under the leadership of Leotarios and Leonnorios . They were defeated by Seleucus I in the 'battle of the Elephants', but were still able to establish a Celtic territory in central
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
. The Galatians were well respected as warriors and were widely used as mercenaries in the armies of the successor states. They continued to attack neighboring kingdoms such as
Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek: , ''Bithynía'') was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), adjoining the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus, and the Black Sea. It bordered Mysia to the southwest, Pa ...
and
Pergamon Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
, plundering and extracting tribute. This came to an end when they sided with the renegade Seleucid prince Antiochus Hierax who tried to defeat Attalus, the ruler of
Pergamon Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
(241–197 BC). Attalus severely defeated the Gauls, forcing them to confine themselves to Galatia. The theme of the ''
Dying Gaul Dying is the final stage of life which will eventually lead to death. Diagnosing dying is a complex process of clinical decision-making, and most practice checklists facilitating this diagnosis are based on cancer diagnoses. Signs of dying ...
'' (a famous statue displayed in
Pergamon Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
) remained a favorite in Hellenistic art for a generation signifying the victory of the Greeks over a noble enemy. In the early 2nd century BC, the Galatians became allies of
Antiochus the Great Antiochus III the Great (; grc-gre, Ἀντίoχoς Μέγας ; c. 2413 July 187 BC) was a Greek Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after C ...
, the last Seleucid king trying to regain suzerainty over Asia Minor. In 189 BC, Rome sent Gnaeus Manlius Vulso on an expedition against the Galatians. Galatia was henceforth dominated by Rome through regional rulers from 189 BC onward. After their defeats by Pergamon and Rome the Galatians slowly became hellenized and they were called "Gallo-Graeci" by the historian Justin as well as (''Hellēnogalátai'') by
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, wikt:Διόδωρος, Διόδωρος ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history ''Bibliotheca historica' ...
in his ''Bibliotheca historica'' v.32.5, who wrote that they were "called Helleno-Galatians because of their connection with the Greeks."


Bithynia

The Bithynians were a Thracian people living in northwest Anatolia. After Alexander's conquests the region of Bithynia came under the rule of the native king Bas, who defeated Calas, a general of Alexander the Great, and maintained the independence of Bithynia. His son, Zipoetes I of Bithynia maintained this autonomy against
Lysimachus Lysimachus (; Greek language, Greek: Λυσίμαχος, ''Lysimachos''; c. 360 BC – 281 BC) was a Thessaly, Thessalian officer and Diadochi, successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Anatolia, Asia Minor and Mace ...
and Seleucus I, and assumed the title of king (''basileus'') in 297 BC. His son and successor, Nicomedes I, founded
Nicomedia Nicomedia (; el, Νικομήδεια, ''Nikomedeia''; modern İzmit) was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek city located in what is now Turkey. In 286, Nicomedia became the eastern and most senior capital city of the Roman Empire (chosen by the e ...
, which soon rose to great prosperity, and during his long reign (), as well as those of his successors, the kingdom of Bithynia held a considerable place among the minor monarchies of Anatolia. Nicomedes also invited the Celtic Galatians into Anatolia as mercenaries, and they later turned on his son Prusias I, who defeated them in battle. Their last king, Nicomedes IV, was unable to maintain himself against Mithridates VI of Pontus, and, after being restored to his throne by the Roman Senate, he bequeathed his kingdom by will to the Roman republic (74 BC).


Nabatean Kingdom

The Nabatean Kingdom was an
Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia, ...
state located between the
Sinai Peninsula The Sinai Peninsula, or simply Sinai (now usually ) (, , cop, Ⲥⲓⲛⲁ), is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a l ...
and the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
. Its capital was the city of
Petra Petra ( ar, ٱلْبَتْرَاء, Al-Batrāʾ; grc, Πέτρα, "Rock", Nabataean Aramaic, Nabataean: ), originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu or Raqēmō, is an historic and archaeological city in southern Jordan. It is adjacent to t ...
, an important trading city on the
incense route The Incense Trade Route was an ancient network of major land and sea trading routes linking the Mediterranean world with eastern and southern sources of incense, spices and other luxury goods, stretching from Mediterranean ports across the Levant ...
. The Nabateans resisted the attacks of Antigonus and were allies of the Hasmoneans in their struggle against the
Seleucids The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
, but later fought against
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, Roman Jewish client state, client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian Kingdom of Judea, Herodian kingdom. He ...
. The hellenization of the Nabateans occurred relatively late in comparison to the surrounding regions. Nabatean
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture Architecture is the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. It is both the proces ...
does not show any Greek influence until the reign of Aretas III Philhellene in the 1st century BC. Aretas captured
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , map_caption = , ...
and built the Petra pool complex and gardens in the Hellenistic style. Though the Nabateans originally worshipped their traditional gods in symbolic form such as stone blocks or pillars, during the Hellenistic period they began to identify their gods with Greek gods and depict them in figurative forms influenced by Greek sculpture. Nabatean art shows Greek influences, and paintings have been found depicting Dionysian scenes. They also slowly adopted Greek as a language of commerce along with Aramaic and Arabic.


Cappadocia

Cappadocia, a mountainous region situated between Pontus and the Taurus mountains, was ruled by a Persian dynasty. Ariarathes I (332–322 BC) was the satrap of Cappadocia under the Persians and after the conquests of Alexander he retained his post. After Alexander's death he was defeated by Eumenes and
crucified Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usua ...
in 322 BC, but his son, Ariarathes II managed to regain the throne and maintain his autonomy against the warring Diadochi. In 255 BC, Ariarathes III took the title of king and married Stratonice, a daughter of Antiochus II, remaining an ally of the Seleucid kingdom. Under Ariarathes IV, Cappadocia came into relations with Rome, first as a foe espousing the cause of
Antiochus the Great Antiochus III the Great (; grc-gre, Ἀντίoχoς Μέγας ; c. 2413 July 187 BC) was a Greek Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after C ...
, then as an ally against Perseus of Macedon and finally in a war against the Seleucids. Ariarathes V also waged war with Rome against Aristonicus, a claimant to the throne of Pergamon, and their forces were annihilated in 130 BC. This defeat allowed Pontus to invade and conquer the kingdom.


Armenia

Orontid Armenia formally passed to the empire of Alexander the Great following his conquest of Persia. Alexander appointed an Orontid named Mithranes to govern Armenia. Armenia later became a vassal state of the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
, but it maintained a considerable degree of autonomy, retaining its native rulers. Towards the end 212 BC the country was divided into two kingdoms, Greater Armenia and Armenia
Sophene Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք, translit=Tsopkʻ, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφηνή, translit=Sōphēnē or hy, Չորրորդ Հայք, lit=Fourth Armenia) was a province of the Armenian Kingdom, ancient kingdom of Armenia, locate ...
, including
Commagene Commagene ( grc-gre, Κομμαγηνή) was an ancient Greco-Iranian kingdom ruled by a Hellenized branch of the Iranian peoples, Iranian Orontid dynasty that had ruled over Satrapy of Armenia, Armenia. The kingdom was located in and around th ...
or Armenia Minor. The kingdoms became so independent from Seleucid control that Antiochus III the Great waged war on them during his reign and replaced their rulers. After the Seleucid defeat at the
Battle of Magnesia The Battle of Magnesia took place in either December 190 or January 189 BC. It was fought as part of the Roman–Seleucid War, pitting forces of the Roman Republic led by the Roman consul, consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus and the allied ...
in 190 BC, the kings of
Sophene Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք, translit=Tsopkʻ, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφηνή, translit=Sōphēnē or hy, Չորրորդ Հայք, lit=Fourth Armenia) was a province of the Armenian Kingdom, ancient kingdom of Armenia, locate ...
and Greater Armenia revolted and declared their independence, with Artaxias becoming the first king of the Artaxiad dynasty of Armenia in 188 BC. During the reign of the Artaxiads, Armenia went through a period of
hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek Greek culture, culture, Religion in Greece, religion, Greek language, language and Ethnic identity, identity by non-Greeks. In the Ancient Greece, ancient ...
.
Numismatic Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, medals and related objects. Specialists, known as numismatists, are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, but the discipline also includ ...
evidence shows Greek artistic styles and the use of the Greek language. Some coins describe the Armenian kings as " Philhellenes". During the reign of
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
(95–55 BC), the kingdom of Armenia reached its greatest extent, containing many Greek cities, including the entire
Syrian tetrapolis Seleucis of Syria ( grc, Σελευκίς τῆς Συρίας ) was a region of the Seleucid Empire located in northern Syria. It was also known as the Syrian Tetrapolis, The four cities had been founded by Seleucus Nicator; *Antioch—named af ...
.
Cleopatra Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}, "Cleopatra the father-beloved"; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler. ...
, the wife of
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
, invited Greeks such as the
rhetor Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of human activity, and resulting product, that involves creative or imaginative talent expressive of technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no gene ...
Amphicrates and the historian
Metrodorus of Scepsis Metrodorus of Scepsis ( el, Μητρόδωρος ὁ Σκήψιος) (c. 145 BCE – 70 BCE), from the town of Scepsis in ancient Mysia, was a friend of Mithridates VI of Pontus and celebrated in antiquity for the excellence of his memory. He m ...
to the Armenian court, and—according to Plutarch—when the Roman general Lucullus seized the Armenian capital, Tigranocerta, he found a troupe of Greek actors who had arrived to perform plays for Tigranes. Tigranes' successor Artavasdes II even composed Greek tragedies himself.


Parthia

Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in northeastern Greater Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes ...
was a north-eastern Iranian
satrapy A satrap () was a governor of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to t ...
of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
which later passed on to Alexander's empire. Under the Seleucids, Parthia was governed by various Greek
satraps A satrap () was a governor of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was the major territori ...
such as Nicanor and
Philip Philip, also Phillip, is a male given name, derived from the Greek language, Greek (''Philippos'', lit. "horse-loving" or "fond of horses"), from a compound of (''philos'', "dear", "loved", "loving") and (''hippos'', "horse"). Prominent Philip ...
. In 247 BC, following the death of Antiochus II Theos, Andragoras, the Seleucid governor of Parthia, proclaimed his independence and began minting coins showing himself wearing a royal diadem and claiming kingship. He ruled until 238 BC when Arsaces, the leader of the Parni tribe conquered Parthia, killing Andragoras and inaugurating the Arsacid Dynasty. Antiochus III recaptured Arsacid controlled territory in 209 BC from Arsaces II. Arsaces II sued for peace and became a vassal of the Seleucids. It was not until the reign of Phraates I (), that the Arsacids would again begin to assert their independence. During the reign of Mithridates I of Parthia, Arsacid control expanded to include
Herat Herāt (; Persian language, Persian: ) is an oasis city and the List of cities in Afghanistan, third-largest city of Afghanistan. In 2020, it had an estimated population of 574,276, and serves as the capital of Herat Province, situated south of ...
(in 167 BC),
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
(in 144 BC),
Media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications delivered over mass el ...
(in 141 BC),
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
(in 139 BC), and large parts of
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
(in the 110s BC). The Seleucid–Parthian wars continued as the Seleucids invaded Mesopotamia under Antiochus VII Sidetes (reigned 138–129 BC), but he was eventually killed by a Parthian counterattack. After the fall of the Seleucid dynasty, the Parthians fought frequently against neighbouring Rome in the
Roman–Parthian Wars The Roman–Parthian Wars (54 BC – 217 AD) were a series of conflicts between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. It was the first series of conflicts in what would be 682 years of Roman–Persian Wars. Battles ...
(66 BC – AD 217). Abundant traces of Hellenism continued under the Parthian empire. The Parthians used Greek as well as their own
Parthian language The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlawānīg, is an extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language once spoken in Parthia, a region situated in present-day northeastern Iran and Turkmenistan. Parthian was the language of s ...
(though lesser than Greek) as languages of administration and also used Greek
drachma The drachma ( el, wikt:δραχμή, δραχμή , ; pl. ''drachmae'' or ''drachmas'') was the currency used in Greece during several periods in its history: # An Ancient Greece, ancient Greek currency unit issued by many Greek city states du ...
s as coinage. They enjoyed Greek theater, and
Greek art Greek art began in the Cycladic civilization, Cycladic and Minoan civilization, and gave birth to Classicism, Western classical art in the subsequent Geometric art, Geometric, Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, Classical periods (with ...
influenced
Parthian art Parthian art was Persian art, Iranian art made during the Parthian Empire from 247 BC to 224 AD, based in the Near East. It has a mixture of Persian and Hellenistic art, Hellenistic influences. For some time after the period of the Parthian Empi ...
. The Parthians continued worshipping Greek gods syncretized together with Iranian deities. Their rulers established ruler cults in the manner of Hellenistic kings and often used Hellenistic royal
epithets An epithet (, ), also byname, is a descriptive term (word or phrase) known for accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, di ...
. The Hellenistic influence in Iran was significant in terms of scope, but not depth and durability—unlike the Near East, the Iranian–
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's History of religion, oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a Dualism in cosmology, du ...
ideas and ideals remained the main source of inspiration in mainland Iran, and was soon revived in late Parthian and
Sasanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
periods.


Judea

During the Hellenistic period,
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is an ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous L ...
became a frontier region between the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
and Ptolemaic Egypt and therefore was often the frontline of the Syrian wars, changing hands several times during these conflicts. Under the Hellenistic kingdoms, Judea was ruled by the hereditary office of the
High Priest of Israel High Priest ( he, כהן גדול, translit=Kohen Gadol or ; ) was the title of the chief religious official of Judaism from the early post-Babylonian captivity, Exilic times until Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE), the destruction of the Second Temple ...
as a Hellenistic vassal. This period also saw the rise of a
Hellenistic Judaism Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism in classical antiquity that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture. Until the early Muslim conquests of the eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were A ...
, which first developed in the Jewish diaspora of Alexandria and Antioch, and then spread to Judea. The major literary product of this cultural syncretism is the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Greek language, Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. It includes several ...
translation of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
from
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew (, or , ), also called Classical Hebrew, is an wikt:archaic, archaic form of the Hebrew language, a language in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite branch of Semitic languages spoken by the Israelites in the area known as the ...
and
Biblical Aramaic Biblical Aramaic is the form of Aramaic that is used in the books of Book of Daniel, Daniel and Book of Ezra, Ezra in the Hebrew Bible. It should not be confused with the Targum, Targums – Aramaic paraphrases, explanations and expansions of t ...
to
Koiné Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the Alexandrian dialect, Biblical Greek or New Testament Greek, was the common supra-reg ...
. The reason for the production of this translation seems to be that many of the Alexandrian Jews had lost the ability to speak Hebrew and Aramaic. Between 301 and 219 BC the Ptolemies ruled Judea in relative peace, and Jews often found themselves working in the Ptolemaic administration and army, which led to the rise of a Hellenized Jewish elite class (e.g. the
Tobiads The Tobiads were a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, histo ...
). The wars of Antiochus III brought the region into the Seleucid empire; Jerusalem fell to his control in 198 BC and the Temple was repaired and provided with money and tribute. Antiochus IV Epiphanes sacked Jerusalem and looted the Temple in 169 BC after disturbances in Judea during his abortive invasion of Egypt. Antiochus then banned key Jewish religious rites and traditions in Judea. He may have been attempting to Hellenize the region and unify his empire and the Jewish resistance to this eventually led to an escalation of violence. Whatever the case, tensions between pro- and anti-Seleucid Jewish factions led to the 174–135 BC
Maccabean Revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire and against Hellenistic period, Hellenistic influence on Jewish life. The main phase of the revolt lasted from 167&ndash ...
of
Judas Maccabeus Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabæus, Hebrew language, Hebrew: יהודה המכבי, ''Yehudah HaMakabi'') was a Jewish priest (''kohen'') and a son of the priest Mattathias. He led the Maccabean Revolt ag ...
(whose victory is celebrated in the Jewish festival of
Hanukkah Hanukkah (; ) is a Jewish holidays, Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah ...
). Modern interpretations see this period as a civil war between Hellenized and orthodox forms of Judaism. Out of this revolt was formed an independent Jewish kingdom known as the
Hasmonaean Dynasty The Hasmonean dynasty (; he, ''Ḥašmōnaʾīm'') was a ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity, from BCE to 37 BCE. Between and BCE the dynasty ruled Judea semi-autonomously in the Seleucid Empire, and ...
, which lasted from 165 BC to 63 BC. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated in a civil war, which coincided with civil wars in Rome. The last Hasmonean ruler, Antigonus II Mattathias, was captured by Herod and executed in 37 BC. In spite of originally being a revolt against Greek overlordship, the Hasmonean kingdom and also the
Herodian kingdom The Herodian Kingdom of Judea was a client state A client state, in international relations, is a State (polity), state that is economically, politically, and/or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (called the "controlling s ...
which followed gradually became more and more hellenized. From 37 BC to 4 BC,
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, Roman Jewish client state, client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian Kingdom of Judea, Herodian kingdom. He ...
ruled as a Jewish-Roman client king appointed by the
Roman Senate The Roman Senate ( la, Senātus Rōmānus) was a governing and advisory assembly in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the Rome, city of Rome (traditionally found ...
. He considerably enlarged the Temple (see
Herod's Temple The Second Temple (, , ), later known as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem between and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which had been built at the same location in the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kin ...
), making it one of the largest religious structures in the world. The style of the enlarged temple and other Herodian architecture shows significant Hellenistic architectural influence. His son,
Herod Archelaus Herod Archelaus (, ''Hērōidēs Archelaos''; 23 BC – ) was ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea, including the cities Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea and Jaffa, for a period of nine years (). He was the son of Herod the Great and Mal ...
, ruled from 4 BC to AD 6 when he was deposed for the formation of Roman Judea.


Kingdom of Pontus

The
Kingdom of Pontus Pontus ( grc-gre, Πόντος ) was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic kingdom centered in the historical region of Pontus (region), Pontus and ruled by the Mithridatic dynasty (of Persian people, Persian origin), which possibly may have been di ...
was a Hellenistic kingdom on the southern coast of the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
. It was founded by Mithridates I in 291 BC and lasted until its conquest by the Roman Republic in 63 BC. Despite being ruled by a dynasty which was a descendant of the Persian
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
it became hellenized due to the influence of the Greek cities on the Black Sea and its neighboring kingdoms. Pontic culture was a mix of Greek and Iranian elements; the most hellenized parts of the kingdom were on the coast, populated by Greek colonies such as Trapezus and
Sinope Sinope may refer to: *Sinop, Turkey, a city on the Black Sea, historically known as Sinope ** Battle of Sinop, 1853 naval battle in the Sinop port *Sinop Province *Sinope, Leicestershire, a hamlet in the Midlands of England *Sinope (mythology), in G ...
, the latter of which became the capital of the kingdom. Epigraphic evidence also shows extensive Hellenistic influence in the interior. During the reign of Mithridates II, Pontus was allied with the Seleucids through dynastic marriages. By the time of Mithridates VI Eupator, Greek was the official language of the kingdom, though Anatolian languages continued to be spoken. The kingdom grew to its largest extent under Mithridates VI, who conquered
Colchis In Greco-Roman geography, Colchis (; ) was an exonym for the Georgian polity of Egrisi ( ka, ეგრისი) located on the coast of the Black Sea, centered in present-day western Georgia (country), Georgia. Its population, the Colchians a ...
,
Cappadocia Cappadocia or Capadocia (; tr, Kapadokya), is a historical region in Central Anatolia Region, Central Anatolia, Turkey. It largely is in the provinces Nevşehir Province, Nevşehir, Kayseri Province, Kayseri, Aksaray Province, Aksaray, Kırşe ...
,
Paphlagonia Paphlagonia (; el, Παφλαγονία, Paphlagonía, modern translit. ''Paflagonía''; tr, Paflagonya) was an ancient region on the Black Sea coast of north-central Anatolia, situated between Bithynia to the west and Pontus (region), Pontus t ...
,
Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek: , ''Bithynía'') was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), adjoining the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus, and the Black Sea. It bordered Mysia to the southwest, Pa ...
, Lesser Armenia, the
Bosporan Kingdom The Bosporan Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (, ''Vasíleio toú Kimmerikoú Vospórou''), was an ancient Greco-Scythian state located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, ...
, the Greek colonies of the Tauric
Chersonesos Chersonesus ( grc, Χερσόνησος, Khersónēsos; la, Chersonesus; modern Russian and Ukrainian: Херсоне́с, ''Khersones''; also rendered as ''Chersonese'', ''Chersonesos'', contracted in medieval Greek Medieval Greek (a ...
and, for a brief time, the Roman province of Asia. Mithridates, himself of mixed Persian and Greek ancestry, presented himself as the protector of the Greeks against the 'barbarians' of Rome styling himself as "King Mithridates Eupator Dionysus" and as the "great liberator". Mithridates also depicted himself with the ''anastole'' hairstyle of Alexander and used the symbolism of
Herakles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera), born Alcaeus (, ''Alkaios'') or Alcides (, ''Alkeidēs''), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the foster son of Amphitryon.By his adoptive ...
, from whom the Macedonian kings claimed descent. After a long struggle with Rome in the Mithridatic wars, Pontus was defeated; part of it was incorporated into the Roman Republic as the province of Bithynia, while Pontus' eastern half survived as a client kingdom.


Other realms


Greco-Bactrians

The Greek kingdom of Bactria began as a breakaway satrapy of the Seleucid empire, which, because of the size of the empire, had significant freedom from central control. Between 255 and 246 BC, the governor of
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
,
Sogdiana Sogdia (Sogdian language, Sogdian: ) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian civilization between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also ...
and
Margiana Margiana ( el, ''Margianḗ'', Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Ol ...
(most of present-day
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...
), one Diodotus, took this process to its logical extreme and declared himself king. Diodotus II, son of Diodotus, was overthrown in about 230 BC by Euthydemus, possibly the satrap of Sogdiana, who then started his own dynasty. In , the Greco-Bactrian kingdom was invaded by a resurgent Seleucid empire under Antiochus III. While victorious in the field, it seems Antiochus came to realise that there were advantages in the status quo (perhaps sensing that Bactria could not be governed from Syria), and married one of his daughters to Euthydemus's son, thus legitimizing the Greco-Bactrian dynasty. Soon afterwards the Greco-Bactrian kingdom seems to have expanded, possibly taking advantage of the defeat of the Parthian king Arsaces II by Antiochus. According to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...
, the Greco-Bactrians seem to have had contacts with China through the
silk road The Silk Road () was a network of Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles a ...
trade routes (Strabo, XI.11.1). Indian sources also maintain religious contact between Buddhist monks and the Greeks, and some Greco-Bactrians did convert to Buddhism. Demetrius I of Bactria, Demetrius, son and successor of Euthydemus, invaded north-western India in 180 BC, after the destruction of the Mauryan Empire there; the Mauryans were probably allies of the Bactrians (and Seleucids). The exact justification for the invasion remains unclear, but by about 175 BC, the Greeks ruled over parts of northwestern India. This period also marks the beginning of the obfuscation of Greco-Bactrian history. Demetrius possibly died about 180 BC; numismatic evidence suggests the existence of several other kings shortly thereafter. It is probable that at this point the Greco-Bactrian kingdom split into several semi-independent regions for some years, often warring amongst themselves. Heliocles was the last Greek to clearly rule Bactria, his power collapsing in the face of central Asian tribal invasions (Scythian and Yuezhi), by about 130 BC. However, Greek urban civilisation seems to have continued in Bactria after the fall of the kingdom, having a hellenising effect on the tribes which had displaced Greek rule. The Kushan Empire which followed continued to use Greek on their coinage and Greeks continued being influential in the empire.


Indo-Greek kingdoms

The separation of the Indo-Greek kingdom from the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom or simply Greco-Bactria, was a Hellenistic-era Greek state, and along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known histori ...
resulted in an even more isolated position, and thus the details of the Indo-Greek kingdom are even more obscure than for Bactria. Many supposed kings in India are known only because of coins bearing their name. The numismatic evidence together with archaeological finds and the scant historical records suggest that the fusion of eastern and western cultures reached its peak in the Indo-Greek kingdom. After Demetrius' death, civil wars between Bactrian kings in India allowed Apollodotus I (from ) to make himself independent as the first proper Indo-Greek king (who did not rule from Bactria). Large numbers of his coins have been found in India, and he seems to have reigned in Gandhara as well as western Punjab. Apollodotus I was succeeded by or ruled alongside Antimachus II, likely the son of the Bactrian king Antimachus I. In about 155 (or 165) BC he seems to have been succeeded by the most successful of the Indo-Greek kings, Menander I. Menander converted to Buddhism, and seems to have been a great patron of the religion; he is remembered in some Buddhist texts as 'Milinda'. He also expanded the kingdom further east into Punjab, though these conquests were rather ephemeral. After the death of Menander (), the Kingdom appears to have fragmented, with several 'kings' attested contemporaneously in different regions. This inevitably weakened the Greek position, and territory seems to have been lost progressively. Around 70 BC, the western regions of Arachosia and Paropamisadae were lost to tribal invasions, presumably by those tribes responsible for the end of the Bactrian kingdom. The resulting Indo-Scythians, Indo-Scythian kingdom seems to have gradually pushed the remaining Indo-Greek kingdom towards the east. The Indo-Greek kingdom appears to have lingered on in western Punjab until about AD 10, at which time it was finally ended by the Indo-Scythians. Strato III was the last of the dynasty of Diodotus was the last of the line of Diodotus and independent Hellenistic king to rule at his death in 10 AD.The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans, John M. Rosenfield, University of California Press, 1967, p.13

/ref> After conquering the Indo-Greeks, the Kushan empire took over Greco-Buddhism, the Greek language, Greek script, Greek coinage and artistic styles. Greeks continued being an important part of the cultural world of India for generations. The depictions of the Buddha appear to have been influenced by Greek culture: Buddha representations in the Ghandara period often showed Buddha under the protection of Herakles.Ghose, Sanujit (2011)
"Cultural links between India and the Greco-Roman world"
Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Several references in Indian literature praise the knowledge of the Yavanas or the Greeks. The Mahabharata compliments them as "the all-knowing Yavanas" (''sarvajñā yavanā''); e.g., "The Yavanas, O king, are all-knowing; the Suras are particularly so. The mlecchas are wedded to the creations of their own fancy", such as flying machines that are generally called vimanas. The "Brihat-Samhita" of the mathematician Varahamihira says: "The Greeks, though impure, must be honored since they were trained in sciences and therein, excelled others...".


Rise of Rome

Widespread Roman interference in the Greek world was probably inevitable given the general manner of the ascendancy of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
. This Roman-Greek interaction began as a consequence of the Greek city-states located along the coast of southern Italy. Rome had come to dominate the Italian peninsula, and desired the submission of the Greek cities to its rule. Although they initially resisted, allying themselves with
Pyrrhus of Epirus Pyrrhus (; grc-gre, Πύρρος ; 319/318–272 BC) was a Greeks, Greek king and wikt:statesman, statesman of the Hellenistic period.Plutarch. ''Parallel Lives'',Pyrrhus... He was king of the List of ancient Greek tribes#Epirus, Greek tribe o ...
, and defeating the Romans at several battles, the Greek cities were unable to maintain this position and were absorbed by the Roman republic. Shortly afterward, Rome became involved in Sicily, fighting against the Carthage, Carthaginians in the First Punic War. The result was the complete conquest of Sicily, including its previously powerful Greek cities, by the Romans. After the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) was the second of Punic Wars, three wars fought between Ancient Carthage, Carthage and Roman Republic, Rome, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC. For ...
, the Romans looked to re-assert their influence in the Balkans, and to curb the expansion of Philip V of Macedon. A pretext for war was provided by Philip's refusal to end his Cretan War (205–200 BC), war with Attalid dynasty, Attalid
Pergamum Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greece, ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a ...
and
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
, both Roman allies. The Romans, also allied with the
Aetolian League The Aetolian (or Aitolian) League ( grc-gre, Κοινὸν τῶν Αἰτωλῶν) was a confederation of tribal communities and cities in ancient Greece centered in Aetolia in central Greece. It was probably established during the early Hellen ...
of Greek city-states (which resented Philip's power), thus declared war on Macedon in 200 BC, starting the
Second Macedonian War The Second Macedonian War (200–197 BC) was fought between Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic an ...
. This ended with a decisive Roman victory at the Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC). Like most Roman peace treaties of the period, the resultant 'Peace of Flaminius' was designed utterly to crush the power of the defeated party; a massive indemnity was levied, Philip's fleet was surrendered to Rome, and Macedon was effectively returned to its ancient boundaries, losing influence over the city-states of southern Greece, and land in Thrace and Asia Minor. The result was the end of Macedon as a major power in the Mediterranean. In less than twenty years, Rome had destroyed the power of one of the successor states, crippled another, and firmly entrenched its influence over Greece. This was primarily a result of the over-ambition of the Macedonian kings, and their unintended provocation of Rome, though Rome was quick to exploit the situation. In another twenty years, the Macedonian kingdom was no more. Seeking to re-assert Macedonian power and Greek independence, Philip V's son Perseus of Macedon, Perseus incurred the wrath of the Romans, resulting in the
Third Macedonian War The Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) was a war fought between the Roman Republic and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC, King Philip V of Macedon died and was succeeded by his ambitious son Perseus of Macedon, Perseus. He was anti-Roman and ...
(171–168 BC). Victorious, the Romans abolished the Macedonian kingdom, replacing it with four puppet republics until it was formally annexed as a Roman province after yet another rebellion under Andriscus. Rome now demanded that the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''Koinon ton Akhaion'' "League of Achaeans") was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greece, Greek polis, city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Ac ...
, the last stronghold of Greek independence, be dissolved. The Achaeans refused and declared war on Rome. Most of the Greek cities rallied to the Achaeans' side, even slaves were freed to fight for Greek independence. The Roman consul Lucius Mummius advanced from Macedonia and defeated the Greeks at Corinth, which was razed to the ground. In 146 BC, the Greek peninsula, though not the islands, became a Roman protectorate. Roman taxes were imposed, except in Athens and Sparta, and all the cities had to accept rule by Rome's local allies. The Attalid dynasty of Pergamum lasted little longer; a Roman ally until the end, its final king Attalus III died in 133 BC without an heir, and taking the alliance to its natural conclusion, willed Pergamum to the Roman Republic. The final Greek resistance came in 88 BC, when King Mithridates VI of Pontus, Mithridates of Kingdom of Pontus, Pontus rebelled against Rome, captured Roman held Anatolia, and massacred up to 100,000 Romans and Roman allies across Asia Minor. Many Greek cities, including Athens, overthrew their Roman puppet rulers and joined him in the Mithridatic wars. When he was driven out of Greece by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the latter laid siege to Athens and razed the city. Mithridates was finally defeated by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) in 65 BC. Further ruin was brought to Greece by the Roman civil wars, which were partly fought in Greece. Finally, in 27 BC, Caesar Augustus, Augustus directly annexed Greece to the new
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
as the Achaea Province, Roman Empire, province of Achaea. The struggles with Rome had left Greece depopulated and demoralised. Nevertheless, Roman rule at least brought an end to warfare, and cities such as Athens, Corinth, Thessaloniki and Patras soon recovered their prosperity. Eventually, instability in the near east resulting from the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Seleucid Empire caused the Roman proconsul Pompey the Great to abolish the Seleucid rump state, absorbing much of Syria into the Roman Republic. Famously, the end of Ptolemaic Egypt came as the final act in the republican civil war between the Roman triumvirs Mark Antony, Mark Anthony and Augustus Caesar. After the defeat of Anthony and his lover, the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII, at the
Battle of Actium The Battle of Actium was a naval battle fought between a maritime fleet of Octavian led by Marcus Agrippa and the combined fleets of both Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Ant ...
, Augustus invaded Egypt and took it as his own personal fiefdom. He thereby completed the destruction of the Hellenistic kingdoms and transformed the Roman Republic into a monarchy, ending (in hindsight) the Hellenistic era.


Hellenistic culture


Spread

Greek culture was at its height of world influence in the Hellenistic period. Hellenism or at least Philhellenism reached most regions on the frontiers of the Hellenistic kingdoms. Though some of these regions were not ruled by Greeks or even Greek speaking elites, Hellenistic influence can be seen in the historical record and
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture Architecture is the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. It is both the proces ...
of these regions. Other regions had established contact with Greek colonies before this period, and simply saw a continued process of
Hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek Greek culture, culture, Religion in Greece, religion, Greek language, language and Ethnic identity, identity by non-Greeks. In the Ancient Greece, ancient ...
and intermixing. The spread of Greek culture and language throughout the Near East and Asia owed much to the development of newly founded cities and deliberate Colonies in antiquity, colonization policies by the successor states, which in turn was necessary for maintaining their military forces. Settlements such as Ai-Khanoum, on trade routes, allowed Greek culture to mix and spread. The language of Philip II's and Alexander's court and army (which was made up of various Greek and non-Greek speaking peoples) was a version of Attic Greek, and over time this language developed into Koine, the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
of the successor states. The spread of Greek influence and language is also shown through ancient Greek coinage. Portraits became more realistic, and the obverse of the coin was often used to display a propagandistic image, commemorating an event or displaying the image of a favored god. The use of Greek-style portraits and Greek language continued under the Roman, Parthian empire, Parthian, and Kushan empires, even as the use of Greek was in decline.


Institutions

In some fields Hellenistic culture thrived, particularly in its preservation of the past. The states of the Hellenistic period were deeply fixated with the past and its seemingly lost glories. The preservation of many classical and archaic works of art and literature (including the works of the three great classical tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides) are due to the efforts of the Hellenistic Greeks. The museum and library of Alexandria was the center of this conservationist activity. With the support of royal stipends, Alexandrian scholars collected, translated, copied, classified, and critiqued every book they could find. Most of the great literary figures of the Hellenistic period studied at Alexandria and conducted research there. They were scholar poets, writing not only poetry but treatises on Homer and other archaic and classical Greek literature.
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
retained its position as the most prestigious seat of higher education, especially in the domains of philosophy and rhetoric, with considerable libraries and philosophical schools. Alexandria had the monumental museum (a research center) and Library of Alexandria which was estimated to have had 700,000 volumes. The city of Pergamon also had a large library and became a major center of book production. The island of Rhodes had a library and also boasted a famous finishing school for politics and diplomacy. Libraries were also present in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
, Pella, and Kos.
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
was educated in Athens and
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
in Rhodes. Antioch was founded as a metropolis and center of Culture of Greece, Greek learning which retained its status into the era of Christianity.
Seleucia Seleucia (; grc-gre, Σελεύκεια), also known as or , was a major Mesopotamian city of the Seleucid Empire, Seleucid empire. It stood on the west bank of the Tigris River, within the present-day Baghdad Governorate in Iraq. Name Seleu ...
replaced
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
as the metropolis of the lower Tigris. The identification of local gods with similar Greek deities, a practice termed 'Interpretatio graeca', stimulated the building of Greek-style temples, and Greek culture in the cities meant that buildings such as Gymnasium (ancient Greece), gymnasia and Theatre of ancient Greece#Characteristics of the buildings, theaters became common. Many cities maintained nominal autonomy while under the rule of the local king or
satrap A satrap () was a governor of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to t ...
, and often had Greek-style institutions. Greek dedications, statues, architecture, and inscriptions have all been found. However, local cultures were not replaced, and mostly went on as before, but now with a new Greco-Macedonian or otherwise Hellenized elite. An example that shows the spread of Greek theater is
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
's story of the death of Crassus, in which his head was taken to the Parthian Empire, Parthian court and used as a prop in a performance of The Bacchae. Theaters have also been found: for example, in Ai-Khanoum on the edge of
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
, the theater has 35 rows – larger than the theater in
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
.


Hellenization and acculturation

The concept of Hellenization, meaning the adoption of Greek culture in non-Greek regions, has long been controversial. Undoubtedly Greek influence did spread through the Hellenistic realms, but to what extent, and whether this was a deliberate policy or mere cultural diffusion, have been hotly debated. It seems likely that Alexander himself pursued policies which led to Hellenization, such as the foundations of new cities and Greek colonies. While it may have been a deliberate attempt to spread Greek culture (or as Arrian says, "to civilise the natives"), it is more likely that it was a series of pragmatic measures designed to aid in the rule of his enormous empire.Green, p. 21. Cities and colonies were centers of administrative control and Macedonian power in a newly conquered region. Alexander also seems to have attempted to create a mixed Greco-Persian elite class as shown by the Susa weddings and his adoption of some forms of Persian dress and court culture. He also brought Persian and other non-Greek peoples into his military and even the elite cavalry units of the companion cavalry. Again, it is probably better to see these policies as a pragmatic response to the demands of ruling a large empire than to any idealized attempt to bringing
Greek culture The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Minoan civilization, Minoan and later in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, while influencing the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine ...
to the 'barbarians'. This approach was bitterly resented by the Macedonians and discarded by most of the Diadochi after Alexander's death. These policies can also be interpreted as the result of Alexander's possible wikt:megalomania, megalomania during his later years. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the influx of Greek colonists into the new realms continued to spread Greek culture into Asia. The founding of new cities and military colonies continued to be a major part of the Successors' struggle for control of any particular region, and these continued to be centers of cultural diffusion. The spread of Greek culture under the Successors seems mostly to have occurred with the spreading of Greeks themselves, rather than as an active policy. Throughout the Hellenistic world, these Greco-Macedonian colonists considered themselves by and large superior to the native "barbarians" and excluded most non-Greeks from the upper echelons of courtly and government life. Most of the native population was not Hellenized, had little access to Greek culture and often found themselves discriminated against by their Hellenic overlords. Gymnasium (ancient Greece), Gymnasiums and their Greek education, for example, were for Greeks only. Greek cities and colonies may have exported Greek art and architecture as far as the Indus, but these were mostly enclaves of Greek culture for the transplanted Greek elite. The degree of influence that Greek culture had throughout the Hellenistic kingdoms was therefore highly localized and based mostly on a few great cities like Alexandria and Antioch. Some natives did learn Greek and adopt Greek ways, but this was mostly limited to a few local elites who were allowed to retain their posts by the Diadochi and also to a small number of mid-level administrators who acted as intermediaries between the Greek speaking upper class and their subjects. In the Seleucid Empire, for example, this group amounted to only 2.5 percent of the official class. Hellenistic art nevertheless had a considerable influence on the cultures that had been affected by the Hellenistic expansion. As far as the Indian subcontinent, Hellenistic influence on Indian art was broad and far-reaching, and had effects for several centuries following the forays of Alexander the Great. Despite their initial reluctance, the Successors seem to have later deliberately naturalized themselves to their different regions, presumably in order to help maintain control of the population. In the Ptolemaic kingdom, we find some Egyptianized Greeks by the 2nd century onwards. In the Indo-Greek kingdom we find kings who were converts to Buddhism (e.g., Menander I, Menander). The Greeks in the regions therefore gradually become 'localized', adopting local customs as appropriate. In this way, hybrid 'Hellenistic' cultures naturally emerged, at least among the upper echelons of society. The trends of Hellenization were therefore accompanied by Greeks adopting native ways over time, but this was widely varied by place and by social class. The farther away from the Mediterranean and the lower in social status, the more likely that a colonist was to adopt local ways, while the Greco-Macedonian elites and royal families usually remained thoroughly Greek and viewed most non-Greeks with disdain. It was not until Cleopatra VII that a Ptolemaic ruler bothered to learn the Egyptian language of their subjects.


Religion

In the Hellenistic period, there was much continuity in Ancient Greek religion, Greek religion: the
Greek gods The following is a list of gods, goddesses, and many other Divinity, divine and semi-divine figures from ancient Greek mythology and ancient Greek religion. Immortals The Greeks created images of their deities for many purposes. A temple would h ...
continued to be worshiped, and the same rites were practiced as before. However the socio-political changes brought on by the conquest of the Persian empire and Greek emigration abroad meant that change also came to religious practices. This varied greatly by location. Athens, Sparta and most cities in the Greek mainland did not see much religious change or new gods (with the exception of the Egyptian Isis in Athens), while the multi-ethnic Alexandria had a very varied group of gods and religious practices, including Egyptian, Jewish and Greek. Greek emigres brought their Greek religion everywhere they went, even as far as India and Afghanistan. Non-Greeks also had more freedom to travel and trade throughout the Mediterranean and in this period we can see Egyptian gods such as
Serapis Serapis or Sarapis is a Greeks in Egypt, Graeco-Egyptian deity. The cult of Serapis was promoted during the third century BC on the orders of Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy I Soter of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egy ...
, and the Greater Syria, Syrian gods Atargatis and Hadad, as well as a Jewish synagogue, all coexisting on the island of Delos alongside classical Greek deities. A common practice was to identify Greek gods with native gods that had similar characteristics and this created new fusions like Zeus-Ammon, Aphrodite Hagne (a Hellenized Atargatis) and Isis-Demeter. Greek emigres faced individual religious choices they had not faced on their home cities, where the gods they worshiped were dictated by tradition. Hellenistic monarchies were closely associated with the religious life of the kingdoms they ruled. This had already been a feature of Macedonian kingship, which had priestly duties. Hellenistic kings adopted patron deities as protectors of their house and sometimes claimed descent from them. The Seleucids for example took on Apollo as patron, the Antigonids had
Herakles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera), born Alcaeus (, ''Alkaios'') or Alcides (, ''Alkeidēs''), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the foster son of Amphitryon.By his adoptive ...
, and the Ptolemies claimed Dionysus among others. The worship of dynastic ruler cults was also a feature of this period, most notably in Egypt, where the Ptolemaic dynasty, Ptolemies adopted earlier Pharaonic practice, and established themselves as god-kings. These cults were usually associated with a specific temple in honor of the ruler such as the ''Ptolemaieia'' at Alexandria and had their own festivals and theatrical performances. The setting up of ruler cults was more based on the systematized honors offered to the kings (sacrifice, proskynesis, statues, altars, hymns) which put them on par with the gods (''isotheism'') than on actual belief of their divine nature. According to Peter Green, these cults did not produce genuine belief of the divinity of rulers among the Greeks and Macedonians. The worship of Alexander was also popular, as in the long lived cult at Erythrae and of course, at Alexandria, where his tomb was located. The Hellenistic age also saw a rise in the disillusionment with traditional religion. The rise of philosophy and the sciences had removed the gods from many of their traditional domains such as their role in the movement of the heavenly bodies and natural disasters. The Sophists proclaimed the centrality of humanity and agnosticism; the belief in Euhemerism (the view that the gods were simply ancient kings and heroes), became popular. The popular philosopher Epicurus promoted a Epicureanism#Religion, view of disinterested gods living far away from the human realm in metakosmia. The apotheosis of rulers also brought the idea of divinity down to earth. While there does seem to have been a substantial decline in religiosity, this was mostly reserved for the educated classes. Magic in the Greco-Roman world, Magic was practiced widely, and this, too, was a continuation from earlier times. Throughout the Hellenistic world, people would consult oracles, and use Amulet, charms and figurines to deter misfortune or to cast spells. Also developed in this era was the complex system of Hellenistic astrology, astrology, which sought to determine a person's character and future in the movements of the sun, moon, and planets. Astrology was widely associated with the cult of Tyche (luck, fortune), which grew in popularity during this period.


Literature

The Hellenistic period saw the rise of
New Comedy Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the Theatre of ancient Greece, theatre of classical Greece (the others being tragedy and the satyr play). Classical Athens, Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into ...
, the only few surviving representative texts being those of Menander (born 342/341 BC). Only one play, ''Dyskolos'', survives in its entirety. The plots of this new Hellenistic comedy of manners were more domestic and formulaic, stereotypical low born characters such as slaves became more important, the language was colloquial and major motifs included escapism, marriage, romance and luck (Tyche). Though no Hellenistic tragedy remains intact, they were still widely produced during the period, yet it seems that there was no major breakthrough in style, remaining within the classical model. The ''Supplementum Hellenisticum'', a modern collection of extant fragments, contains the fragments of 150 authors. Hellenistic poetry, Hellenistic poets now sought patronage from kings, and wrote works in their honor. The scholars at the libraries in Alexandria and Pergamon focused on the collection, cataloging, and literary criticism of classical Athenian works and ancient Greek myths. The poet-critic
Callimachus Callimachus (; ) was an ancient Greek poet, scholar and librarian who was active in Alexandria during the 3rd century BC. A representative of Ancient Greek literature of the Hellenistic period, he wrote over 800 literary works in a wide variety ...
, a staunch elitist, wrote hymns equating Ptolemy II to Zeus and Apollo. He promoted short poetic forms such as the epigram, epyllion and the Iambus (genre), iambic and attacked epic as base and common ("big book, big evil" was his doctrine). He also wrote a massive catalog of the holdings of the library of Alexandria, the famous Pinakes. Callimachus was extremely influential in his time and also for the development of Augustan poetry. Another poet,
Apollonius of Rhodes Apollonius of Rhodes ( grc, Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος ''Apollṓnios Rhódios''; la, Apollonius Rhodius; fl. first half of 3rd century BC) was an ancient Greek literature, ancient Greek author, best known for the ''Argonautica'', an ep ...
, attempted to revive the epic for the Hellenistic world with his Argonautica. He had been a student of Callimachus and later became chief librarian (''prostates'') of the library of Alexandria. Apollonius and Callimachus spent much of their careers feuding with each other. Pastoral poetry also thrived during the Hellenistic era,
Theocritus Theocritus (; grc-gre, Θεόκριτος, ''Theokritos''; born c. 300 BC, died after 260 BC) was a Greeks, Greek poet from Sicily and the creator of Ancient Greek pastoral poetry. Life Little is known of Theocritus beyond what can be inferred ...
was a major poet who popularized the genre. This period also saw the rise of the ancient Greek novel, such as Daphnis and Chloe and the Ephesian Tale. Around 240 BC Livius Andronicus, a Greek slave from southern Italy, translated Homer's ''Odyssey'' into Latin. Greek literature would have a dominant effect on the development of the Latin literature of the Romans. The poetry of Virgil, Horace and Ovid were all based on Hellenistic styles.


Philosophy

During the Hellenistic period, many different schools of thought developed, and these schools of Hellenistic philosophy had a significant influence on the Greek and Roman ruling elite. Athens, with its multiple philosophical schools, continued to remain the center of philosophical thought. However, Athens had now lost her political freedom, and Hellenistic philosophy is a reflection of this new difficult period. In this political climate, Hellenistic philosophers went in search of goals such as ataraxia (un-disturbedness), autarky (self-sufficiency), and apatheia (freedom from suffering), which would allow them to wrest well-being or eudaimonia out of the most difficult turns of fortune. This occupation with the inner life, with personal inner liberty and with the pursuit of eudaimonia is what all Hellenistic philosophical schools have in common. The Epicureans and the Cynicism (philosophy), Cynics eschewed public offices and civic service, which amounted to a rejection of the polis itself, the defining institution of the Greek world. Epicurus promoted atomism and an asceticism based on freedom from pain as its ultimate goal. The Cyrenaics and Epicureans embraced hedonism, arguing that pleasure was the only true good. Cynics such as Diogenes of Sinope rejected all material possessions and social conventions (''nomos'') as unnatural and useless.
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century Common Era, BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asser ...
, founded by
Zeno of Citium Zeno of Citium (; grc-x-koine, Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς, ; c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Clas ...
, taught that virtue was sufficient for eudaimonia as it would allow one to live in accordance with Nature or Logos. The philosophical schools of Aristotle (the Peripatetics of the Lyceum (classical), Lyceum) and Plato (Platonism at the Platonic Academy, Academy) also remained influential. Against these dogmatic schools of philosophy the Pyrrhonism, Pyrrhonist school embraced philosophical skepticism, and, starting with Arcesilaus, Plato's Academy also embraced skepticism in the form of Academic Skepticism. The spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world, followed by the spread of Islam, ushered in the end of Hellenistic philosophy and the beginnings of Medieval philosophy (often forcefully, as under Justinian I#Suppression of religions, Justinian I), which was dominated by the three Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic traditions: Jewish philosophy, Christian philosophy, and early Islamic philosophy. In spite of this shift, Hellenistic philosophy continued to influence these three religious traditions and the Renaissance thought which followed them.


Sciences

Science in the Hellenistic age differed from that of the previous era in at least two ways: first, it benefited from the cross-fertilization of Greek ideas with those that had developed in older civilizations; secondly, to some extent, it was supported by royal patrons in the kingdoms founded by Alexander's successors. The cultural competition among the Hellenistic kingdoms produced seats of learning throughout the Mediterranean, of which the most important was
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
in Egypt, which became a major center of scholarship in the 3rd century BC. In their scientific investigations, Hellenistic scholars frequently employed the principles developed earlier in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
: the application of mathematics to natural phenomena and the undertaking of deliberate empirical research. In Greek mathematics, mathematics, Hellenistic geometers built upon the work of mathematicians from the previous generation such as Theodorus of Cyrene, Theodorus, Archytas, Theaetetus (mathematician), Theaetetus, and Eudoxus of Cnidus, Eudoxus. Euclid, whose ''Euclid's Elements, Elements'' became the most important textbook in Western mathematics until the 19th century, presented proofs for the Pythagorean Theorem, for the infinitude of primes, and for the five Platonic solids.
Archimedes Archimedes of Syracuse (;; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work, typically to solve mathematical problems. Mathematicians are concerned with numbers, data, ...
made use of a technique dependent on proof by contradiction to solve problems with an arbitrary degree of accuracy. Known as the method of exhaustion, Archimedes used it in several of his works, including to approximate the value of Pi, π (''Measurement of a Circle, Measurement of the Circle'') and to prove that the area enclosed by a parabola and a straight line is 4/3 times the area of a triangle with equal base and height (''Quadrature of the Parabola''). The most characteristic product of Hellenistic mathematics was the theory of conic sections, reaching its greatest achievement in the work of Apollonius of Perga, Apollonius. It made no explicit use of either algebra or trigonometry, the latter appearing around the time of Hipparchus. In the exact sciences, Eratosthenes measured the Earth's circumference and calculated the Axial tilt#Obliquity of the ecliptic (Earth's axial tilt), tilt of the Earth's axis with remarkable accuracy. He might have also determined the distance from the Earth to the Sun and invented the leap day. Eratosthenes drew a Ancient world maps#Eratosthenes, map of the world incorporating Circle of latitude, parallels and Longitude, meridians, based on the available geographical knowledge of the era. Another important figure is the astronomer Hipparchus, who used Babylonian astronomy, Babylonian astronomical data and discovered the phenomena of Earth's precession. Pliny reports that Hipparchus produced the first systematic Timeline of astronomical maps, catalogs, and surveys, star catalog after he observed a new star, wishing to preserve astronomical record of the stars so that new ones could be discovered. A celestial globe based on Hipparchus' star catalog presumably sits atop the broad shoulders of a large 2nd-century Roman statue known as the Farnese Atlas. Another astronomer, Aristarchos of Samos, measured the distances of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, and developed a heliocentric theory. In mechanics, Ctesibius wrote the first treatises on the science of compressed air and its uses in pumps, and allegedly designed a kind of cannon as reported by Hero of Alexandria. In the life sciences, medicine made significant advances within the framework of the Hippocratic tradition. Praxagoras theorized that blood traveled through the veins, while Herophilos and Erasistratus performed dissections and vivisections of humans and animals, providing accurate descriptions of the nervous system, liver and other key organs. Influenced by Philinus of Cos, a student of Herophilos, the Empiric school of medicine focused on strict observation and rejected the unseen causes of the Dogmatic school. In botany, Theophrastus was known for his work in plant classification while Crateuas (physician), Crateuas wrote a compendium on botanic pharmacy. The library of Alexandria presumably included a zoo for research and Hellenistic zoologists include Archelaos, Leonidas of Byzantion, Apollodorus (physician), Apollodoros of Alexandria and Bion of Soloi. The technological achievement of the Hellenistic age is masterly displayed in the Antikythera mechanism, a 37-gear mechanical analog computer which calculated the motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets, including lunar and solar eclipses.; ; Devices of this sort are not found again until the 10th century, when a simpler eight-geared luni-solar calculator incorporated into an astrolabe was described by the Persian scholar, Al-Biruni. Similarly complex devices were also developed by other Inventions in the Muslim world, Muslim engineers and Islamic astronomy, astronomers during the Middle Ages. Other technological developments of the Hellenistic age include cogged gears, pulleys, Archimedes' screw, the screw press, glassblowing, hollow bronze casting, surveying instruments, the odometer, the pantograph, the water clock, the watermill, the water organ, and the piston pump. Past interpretations of Hellenistic science often downplayed its significance, as found for instance in the English classical scholar F. M. Cornford, Francis Cornford, who believed that "all the most important and original work was done in the three centuries from 600 to 300 BC". Recent interpretations tend to be more generous, leading a few people like mathematician Lucio Russo to claim that the scientific method was actually born in the 3rd century BC, to be largely forgotten during the Roman period and only revived in full during the History of science in the Renaissance, Renaissance.


Military science

Hellenistic warfare was a continuation of the military developments of Iphicrates and Philip II of Macedon, particularly his use of the Macedonian phalanx, a dense formation of phalangite, pikemen, in conjunction with heavy companion cavalry. Armies of the Hellenistic period differed from those of the classical period in being largely made up of professional soldiers and also in their greater specialization and technical proficiency in siege warfare. Hellenistic armies were significantly larger than those of classical Greece relying increasingly on Greek mercenaries (''misthophoroi''; men-for-pay) and also on non-Greek soldiery such as Thracians, Galatians, Egyptians and Iranians. Some ethnic groups were known for their martial skill in a particular mode of combat and were highly sought after, including Hellenistic armies#Tarantine cavalry, Tarantine cavalry, Cretan archers, Rhodian slingers and Thracian
peltasts A ''peltast'' ( grc-gre, πελταστής ) was a type of light infantry, light infantryman, originating in Thracians, Thrace and Paeonia (kingdom), Paeonia, and named after the kind of shield he carried. Thucydides mentions the Thracian pelt ...
. This period also saw the adoption of new weapons and troop types such as Thureophoroi and the Thorakitai who used the oval Thureos shield and fought with javelins and the machaira sword. The use of heavily armored cataphracts and also horse archers was adopted by the Seleucids, Greco-Bactrians, Armenians and Kingdom of Pontus, Pontus. The use of war elephants also became common. Seleucus received Indian war elephants from the Mauryan empire, and used them to good effect at the
battle of Ipsus The Battle of Ipsus ( grc, Ἱψός) was fought between some of the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great) in 301 BC near the town of Ipsus in Phrygia. Antigonus I Monophthalmus, the Macedonian ruler of large parts of Asia, and his ...
. He kept a core of 500 of them at Apamea (Euphrates), Apameia. The Ptolemies used the smaller African elephant. Hellenistic military equipment was generally characterized by an increase in size. Hellenistic-era warships grew from the trireme to include more banks of oars and larger numbers of rowers and soldiers as in the Quadrireme and Quinquereme. The Ptolemaic Tessarakonteres was the largest ship constructed in Antiquity. New siege engines were developed during this period. An unknown engineer developed the torsion-spring catapult () and Dionysios of Alexandria designed a repeating ballista, the Polybolos. Preserved examples of ball projectiles range from .
Demetrius Poliorcetes Demetrius I (; grc, Δημήτριος; 337–283 BC), also called Poliorcetes (; el, Πολιορκητής, "The Besieger"), was a Macedonian nobleman, military leader, and king of Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), a ...
was notorious for the large siege engines employed in his campaigns, especially during the 12-month siege of Rhodes when he had Epimachos of Athens build a massive 160 ton siege tower named Helepolis, filled with artillery.


Art

The term ''Hellenistic'' is a modern invention; the Hellenistic World not only included a huge area covering the whole of the Aegean, rather than the
Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece,The "Classical Age" is "the modern designation of the period from about 500 B.C. to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C." (Thomas R. Martin ...
focused on the Poleis of
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
and
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
, but also a huge time range. In artistic terms this means that there is huge variety which is often put under the heading of "Hellenistic Art" for convenience. Hellenistic art saw a turn from the idealistic, perfected, calm and composed figures of classical Greek art to a style dominated by Realism (arts), realism and the depiction of emotion (pathos) and character (ethos). The motif of deceptively realistic Naturalism (arts), naturalism in art (''aletheia'') is reflected in stories such as that of the painter Zeuxis (painter), Zeuxis, who was said to have painted grapes that seemed so real that birds came and pecked at them. The female nude also became more popular as epitomized by the Aphrodite of Cnidos of Praxiteles and art in general became more erotic (e.g., Leda and the Swan#Eroticism, Leda and the Swan and Scopas#Pothos, Scopa's Pothos). The dominant ideals of Hellenistic art were those of sensuality and passion. People of all ages and social statuses were depicted in the art of the Hellenistic age. Artists such as Peiraikos chose mundane and lower class subjects for his paintings. According to Pliny, "He painted barbers' shops, cobblers' stalls, asses, eatables and similar subjects, earning for himself the name of ''rhyparographos'' [painter of dirt/low things]. In these subjects he could give consummate pleasure, selling them for more than other artists received for their large pictures" (Natural History (Pliny), Natural History, Book XXXV.112). Even barbarians, such as the Galatia (Roman province), Galatians, were depicted in heroic form, prefiguring the artistic theme of the noble savage. The image of Alexander the Great was also an important artistic theme, and all of the diadochi had themselves depicted imitating Alexander's youthful look. A number of the best-known works of Greek sculpture belong to the Hellenistic Sculpture, Hellenistic period, including Laocoön and his Sons, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Developments in painting included experiments in chiaroscuro by Zeuxis (painter), Zeuxis and the development of landscape painting and still life painting. Greek temples built during the Hellenistic period were generally larger than classical ones, such as the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the temple of Artemis at
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian language, Lydian: 𐤳𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣 ''Sfard''; el, Σάρδεις ''Sardeis''; peo, Sparda; hbo, ספרד ''Sfarad'') was an ancient city at the location of modern ''Sart'' (Sartmahmut before 19 October 2005) ...
, and the temple of Apollo at Didyma (rebuilt by Seleucus in 300 BC). The royal palace (''basileion'') also came into its own during the Hellenistic period, the first extant example being the massive 4th-century villa of Cassander at Vergina. This period also saw the first written works of art history in the histories of
Duris of Samos Duris of Samos (or Douris) ( grc-gre, Δοῦρις ὁ Σάμιος; BCafter 281BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a br ...
and Xenocrates of Athens, a sculptor and a historian of sculpture and painting. There has been a trend in writing the history of this period to depict Hellenistic art as a decadent style, following the ''Golden Age'' of Classical Greece, Classical Athens. Pliny the Elder, after having described the Greek sculpture, sculpture of the classical period, says: ''Cessavit deinde ars'' ("then art disappeared"). The 18th century terms ''Baroque'' and ''Rococo'' have sometimes been applied to the art of this complex and individual period. The renewal of the historiographical approach as well as some recent discoveries, such as the tombs of Vergina, allow a better appreciation of this period's artistic richness.


Sport

Throughout the Hellenistic period, several sports were practiced and promoted across the different cities and kingdoms of the time. Hunting was both a favorite pastime of the Macedonian kings and nobles of that age and a favorite subject for paintings. In Egypt, the Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemaic kings sponsored new athletic festivals, and subsidize ‘Egyptian’ or ‘Alexandrian’ athletes at major competitions. Egyptian kings also provided funds for athletic facilities to be built, which housed ephebic education and encouraged citizens to partake in gymnasium classes. Ptolemaic and other Hellenistic royals often competed at athletic competitions like Olympic Games, The Olympics or other Panathenaic games. Females during the Hellenistic period were often given opportunities to show off they athletic abilities in similar ways to men. In Ptolemaic Kingdom, Egypt, Ptolemaic females were well known in terms of court, and during equestrian competitions. Despite females being banned from watching sports and events like the male Olympics, in Hellenistic Empires, female sport (especially equestrian sport) flourished. Discoveries of poems in 2001 depicted eighteen different wins for equestrian sport. These wins took place at competitions like Olympia and History of Athens, Athens, and all originated from the royal court. Several of these wins resulted from women and confirmed the desires and self-representation of Hellenistic rulers as they tried to influence the Greek World. Other forms of leisure activities included public presentations and demonstrations. These performances were often orchestrated by the royals for their own enjoyment. It is noted that these events were catered for both the female and male audiences. These events would often contain displays of exotic animals and other paraphernalia that aided to display their wealth and the territories that they controlled. While empires during the Hellenistic period ruled, they witnessed “expansion of ‘crown’ or ‘Iso-’ (equal to) major athletic festivals”. This movement as well as the public displays for royalty were both trends what would continue into the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
.


Legacy

The focus on the Hellenistic period over the course of the 19th century by scholars and historians has led to an issue common to the study of historical periods; historians see the period of focus as a mirror of the period in which they are living. Many 19th-century scholars contended that the Hellenistic period represented a cultural decline from the brilliance of classical Greece. Though this comparison is now seen as unfair and meaningless, it has been noted that even commentators of the time saw the end of a cultural era which could not be matched again. This may be inextricably linked with the nature of government. It has been noted by Herodotus that after the establishment of the Athenian democracy:
the Athenians found themselves suddenly a great power. Not just in one field, but in everything they set their minds to ... As subjects of a tyrant, what had they accomplished? ...Held down like slaves they had shirked and slacked; once they had won their freedom, not a citizen but he could feel like he was labouring for himself
Thus, with the decline of the Greek polis, and the establishment of monarchical states, the environment and social freedom in which to excel may have been reduced.Green. A parallel can be drawn with the productivity of the city states of Italy during the Renaissance, and their subsequent decline under autocratic rulers. However, William Woodthorpe Tarn, between World War I and World War II and the heyday of the League of Nations, focused on the issues of racial and cultural confrontation and the nature of colonial rule. Michael Rostovtzeff, who fled the Russian Revolution (1917), Russian Revolution, concentrated predominantly on the rise of the capitalist bourgeoisie in areas of Greek rule. Arnaldo Momigliano, an Italian Jew who wrote before and after the Second World War, studied the problem of mutual understanding between races in the conquered areas. Moses Hadas portrayed an optimistic picture of synthesis of culture from the perspective of the 1950s, while Frank William Walbank in the 1960s and 1970s had a materialistic approach to the Hellenistic period, focusing mainly on class relations. Recently, however, papyrologist C. Préaux has concentrated predominantly on the economic system, interactions between kings and cities, and provides a generally pessimistic view on the period. Peter Green, on the other hand, writes from the point of view of late-20th-century liberalism, his focus being on individualism, the breakdown of convention, experiments, and a postmodern disillusionment with all institutions and political processes.


Influence on Christianity

Alexander's conquests helped the spread of Christianity (from: Greek Χρῑστῐᾱνισμός). One of Alexander's generals, Seleucus I Nicator who controlled most of
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
, and the Iranian Plateau after Alexander's death, founded
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
, which is known as the cradle of Christianity, since the name "Christian" for Jesus' followers first emerged there. The New Testament of the Bible (from: Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, "the books") was written in
Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the Alexandrian dialect, Biblical Greek or New Testament Greek, was the common supra-reg ...
."The mixture of Roman, Greek, and Jewish elements admirably adapted Antioch for the great part it played in the early history of Christianity. The city was the cradle of the church." — "Antioch," ''Encyclopaedia Biblica'', Vol. I, p. 186 (p. 125 of 612 i
online .pdf file
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See also

* Ancient Carthage * Greco-Roman world * Hellenism (Academia) * Hellenism (neoclassicism) * Hellenistic fortifications * Hellenistic glass * Hellenistic sculpture * La Tène culture * Pre-Roman Iron Age


References


Works cited

* G. E. R. Lloyd, Lloyd, G. E. R. ''Greek Science after Aristotle''. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1973. .


Further reading

* Austin, M. M. ''The Hellenistic World From Alexander to the Roman Conquest: A Selection of Ancient Sources In Translation''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. * Bugh, Glenn Richard (ed.). ''The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. * Börm, Henning and Nino Luraghi (eds.). ''The Polis in the Hellenistic World''. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2018. * Cary, M. ''A History of the Greek World, From 323 to 146 B.C.'' London: Methuen, 1963. * Chamoux, François. ''Hellenistic Civilization''. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2003. * Champion, Michael and Lara O'Sullivan. ''Cultural Perceptions of Violence In the Hellenistic World''. New York: Routledge, 2017. * Erskine, Andrew (ed.). ''A Companion to the Hellenistic World''. Hoboken: Wiley, 2008. * Goodman, Martin. "Under the influence: Hellenism in ancient Jewish life." ''Biblical Archaeology Review'' 36, no. 1 (2010), 60. * Grainger, John D. ''Great Power Diplomacy In the Hellenistic World''. New York: Routledge, 2017. * Green, Peter. ''Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age''. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. * Kralli, Ioanna. ''The Hellenistic Peloponnese: Interstate Relations: a Narrative and Analytic History, From the Fourth Century to 146 BC''. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2017. * Lewis, D. M., John Boardman, and Simon Hornblower. ''Cambridge Ancient History Vol. 6: The Fourth Century BC''. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. * Rimell, Victoria and Markus Asper. ''Imagining Empire: Political Space In Hellenistic and Roman Literature''. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter GmbH, 2017. * Thonemann, Peter. ''The Hellenistic Age''. First edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. * Walbank, F. W. ''The Hellenistic World''. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982.


External links

*
Waterloo Institute for Hellenistic Studies


* [https://www.bibalex.org/hellenisticstudies/Home/Index.aspx Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies] {{Authority control Hellenistic period,