History of the Hellenistic Kingdoms

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 WarCommunitiesEducationSexualityWomen | Culture: ArtsArchitectureBuildingsSecularization | Historiography: Polybius : Writings | Learning | Literature: DramaPoetryProse | Minor Arts | Music | Philosophy: Epicureanism: Epicurus | Skepticism: CarneadesLyceumPyrrho | Stoicism: Zeno of Citium | Scholarship: Libraries Joshua Ben Sirach | Science and Technology: AnatomyAstronomy: AristarchusHipparchus | Botany | Geography | Mathematics: ApolloniusEuclid | Mechanical Engineering: ArchimedesCtesebius | Medicine: MagicSchools | Physiology | Sculpture: CentersStatuary | Religion: Mystery ReligionsPhilosophy | Power: ChaosAntigonus IILeaguesRevolution in Sparta | Rhodes | Roman Conquest: GovernanceGreeceHannibalIllyria | Economy: AgricultureIndustryLaborTrade: Goods | Egypt: SocietyAlexandria: LayoutLibrary of AlexandriaMusaeumPopulation | Egypt: ReligionPower | Judea: SocietyCultureReligionPower: Antiochus IVMaccabean Dynasty | Pergamon: Power | Seleucia: SocietyPowerAntiochus III Antiochus IVCapitalsProgressionSeleucusEconomy

Society: Class War

Society: Education

Society: Sexuality

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Society: Women


Culture: Arts

Culture: Architecture

Architecture: Secularization

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Historiography: Polybius

Polybius: Writings

Culture: Learning

Culture: Literature

Literature: Drama

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Literature: Poetry

Literature: Prose

Culture: Music

Culture: Painting

Culture: Philosophy

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Philosophy: Epicureanism

Epicureanism: Epicurus

Philosophy: Skepticism

Skepticism: Carneades

Skepticism: Lyceum

Skepticism: Pyrrho

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Philosophy: Stoicism

Stoicism: Zeno of Citium

Culture: Scholarship

Scholarship: Libraries

Scholarship: Joshua Ben Sirach

Culture: Science and Technology

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Science and Technology: Anatomy

Science and Technology: Astronomy

Astronomy: Aristarchus

Astronomy: Hipparchus

Science and Technology: Botany

Science and Technology: Geography

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Science and Technology: Mathematics

Mathematics: Apollonius

Mathematics: Euclid

Science and Technology: Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering: Ctesebius


Medicine: Magic

Medicine: Schools

Science and Technology: Physiology


Religion: Mystery Religions

Religion: Philosophy


Power: Antigonus II

Power: Rhodes

Power: Roman Conquest

Economy: Industry

Economy: Labor

Economy: Trade


Egypt: Society

Society: Alexandria

Alexandria: Library of Alexandria

Alexandria: Musaeum

Egypt: Religion


Judea: Culture

Judea: Power

Power: Maccabean Dynasty

Power: Antiochus III

Power: Antiochus IV

Power: Seleucia: Capitals

Power: Progression

Power: Seleucus

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