History of the Hellenistic Kingdoms
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The history of the Hellenistic Kingdoms stretches from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC to the emergence of the Roman Empire. This happened after Octavian’s victory in the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE and after the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt a year later. The Greek word “Hellas” was the ancient name of Greece, and that gives us the word “Hellenistic”, which refers to the influence of Greek culture in the areas that had been conquered by Alexander the Great several hundred years earlier.
During the Hellenistic period, Greek influence dominated the trade, politics, and cultures of the Mediterranean world and most of West and Central Asia, even parts of India. There, it fostered prosperity and progress in many of the arts, including astrology, exploration, literature, drama, architecture, music, mathematics, and philosophy, and in science as well. And as with many periods of creativity amidst instability, it thrived as an era of decadence or degeneration. This was seen in its arts, which flourished with the advent of New Comedy, Alexandrian poetry, the compilation of the Septuagint, and philosophy enriched by Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Pyrrhonism. Science was advanced by Euclid’s geometry and the many talents of the polymath Archimedes. Religion combined new gods such as the Greco-Egyptian Serapis with ancient eastern deities such as Attis and Cybele, and it blended Hellenistic culture with Buddhism in Bactria and Northwest India.
After Alexander the Great’s invasion of the Persian Empire in 330 BC and its downfall shortly thereafter, Hellenistic kingdoms were created throughout southwest Asia. These included the Seleucid Empire and Kingdom of Pergamon; north-east Africa (Egypt’s Kingdom of the Ptolemies); and South Asia (the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Kingdoms of Central Asia). As a result, a new wave of Greek colonization seeded Greek cities and kingdoms throughout Asia and Africa, and Greek culture and language spread as far as India. The indigenous cultures of the Hellenistic kingdoms adopted local practices where expedient, and Hellenistic culture became a fusion of the ancient Greek world with the cultures of Western Asian, Northeastern Africa, and Southwestern Asia.
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Hellenistic Kingdoms Index | Society: Class War • Communities • Education • Sexuality • Women | Culture: Arts • Architecture • Buildings • Secularization | Historiography: Polybius : Writings | Learning | Literature: Drama • Poetry • Prose | Minor Arts | Music | Philosophy: Epicureanism: Epicurus | Skepticism: Carneades • Lyceum • Pyrrho | Stoicism: Zeno of Citium | Scholarship: Libraries • Joshua Ben Sirach | Science and Technology: Anatomy • Astronomy: Aristarchus • Hipparchus | Botany | Geography | Mathematics: Apollonius • Euclid | Mechanical Engineering: Archimedes • Ctesebius | Medicine: Magic • Schools | Physiology | Sculpture: Centers • Statuary | Religion: Mystery Religions • Philosophy | Power: Chaos • Antigonus II • Leagues • Revolution in Sparta | Rhodes | Roman Conquest: Governance • Greece • Hannibal • Illyria | Economy: Agriculture • Industry • Labor • Trade: Goods | Egypt: Society • Alexandria: Layout • Library of Alexandria • Musaeum • Population | Egypt: Religion • Power | Judea: Society • Culture • Religion • Power: Antiochus IV • Maccabean Dynasty | Pergamon: Power | Seleucia: Society • Power • Antiochus III • Antiochus IV • Capitals • Progression • Seleucus • Economy
Society: Class War
Stoicism: Zeno of Citium
Scholarship: Joshua Ben Sirach
Culture: Science and Technology
Science and Technology: Anatomy
Science and Technology: Astronomy
Science and Technology: Botany
Science and Technology: Geography
Science and Technology: Mathematics
Science and Technology: Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering: Ctesebius
Science and Technology: Physiology
Religion: Mystery Religions
Power: Antigonus II
Power: Roman Conquest
Alexandria: Library of Alexandria
Power: Maccabean Dynasty
Power: Antiochus III
Power: Antiochus IV
Power: Seleucia: Capitals