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The Hellenistic Era


Assassinated at brother's wedding by jilted young male lover. Many rumors. Alexander ... Library or parts of the collection were destroyed by fire on a number of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Hellenistic Era

The Hellenistic Era
Significance of the Hellenistic Era
  • Spread of Greek culture throughout the eastern
    Mediterranean Near East
  • Shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks
    to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of
    various ethnicities
  • Blending of Greek culture with Near Eastern
  • Shift from the political dominance of the
    city-state to that of larger monarchies
  • Cultural centers shifted away from mainland
    Greece to cosmopolitan cities
  • New religious, philosophical and cultures
    concepts emerge
  • New naturalistic artistic styles emerge

Greece in the Classical Period
Persian Empire
  • Empire from Turkey to Egypt India
  • Homeland - Iran Afghanistan
  • United diverse cultures with tolerance
  • Administration of Empire
  • Respect local customs and religion
  • Assimilated learning from others
  • Governed provinces by satraps
  • Utilized coinage
  • Invaded Greece twice
  • defeated both times
  • Continued to interfere
  • in Greek politics

Rise of Macedonia
  • Macedonian People spoke Greek
  • Regional dialect
  • Considered semi-barbarians by Greeks
  • Two regions
  • Lower Macedonia Fertile alluvial plain
  • Flat with few natural harbors
  • Remarkably strong horses
  • Part of modern Greece
  • Upper Macedonia Mountains
  • Predominantly pastoral
  • Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.
  • Continental climate with cold winters
  • Vegetation different from the rest of the Aegean
  • Pella - Capital

Philip of Macedonia
  • King, 360-336 BC
  • Responsible for the modernization of his kingdom
    created true monarchy
  • Father of Alexander the Great
  • Hostage in Thebes while young
  • 357 - 336 BC - launched successful campaigns
    against Greek poleis to south
  • Brilliant military strategist
  • Decisive battle in 338 BC at Chaeronea defeats
    Athens allies
  • Alexander leads decisive cavalry charge at 18
  • League of Corinth unites Greeks under his
  • Announced war against Persia
  • Assassinated at brothers wedding by jilted young
    male lover
  • Many rumors

  • Born 356 BC, ruled 336-323 BC
  • Mother Olympias strong willed
  • Princess from Epirus
  • Goddess of Dionysus
  • Ruthlessly promoted son as heir to throne
  • Tutored by Aristotle
  • Thought of himself as Achilles reincarnated
  • Revered the Iliad
  • Rivalry with brother father
  • Life-long male lover Hephaestion
  • Thought of as Patroclus
  • Became king at age 20
  • Suppresses Greek rebellions
  • Overcomes Macedonian rivals
  • Known for physical courage, arrogance, extreme
    intelligence, and unbridled ambition
  • Greatly respected leadership abilities
  • Brilliant military strategist
  • Disputed legacy

Alexanders Conquest
  • In 334 BC, Alexander crossed over into Asia Minor
    to begin his conquest of Persia
  • Ambitious plans with little prospect of victory
  • Army numbered 30,000 infantry only 5,000
  • No navy Little money
  • Support of Macedonian army
  • Macedonian phalanx cavalry
  • Simple strategy
  • Move quickly, begin with a few sure victories, so
    he could gain money and supplies
  • Focus on the coastal cities so that he could gain
    control of the ports and cut off Persian navy
  • Take battle right to the center of the opposing

Alexanders Conquest
  • Quickly overran Asian Minor stops at Troy
  • Seized all the coastal cities
  • Engaged the main Persian army at Issus in Syria
    in 333
  • Led cavalry charge against a superior opponent
  • Astounding victory - Persian king Darius fled

Alexanders Conquest
  • Conquered Phoenician Palestinian coastal towns
  • Siege of strategic Tyre
  • Entered Jerusalem as liberator
  • Conquered Egypt with little resistance
  • Egyptians called him king son of Ammon Re
    at Siwah Oasis
  • Darius sent offer to halt hostilities
  • Cede empire west of Euphrates
  • Alexander refused
  • Crossed the Euphrates in 331 BC
  • Defeated Darius at Gaugamela near Nineveh in
  • 330 BC entered Babylon
  • He had conquered Mesopotamia now controlled its
    greatest wealthiest city
  • Assumed title of King of Persia

Alexanders Conquest
Alexanders Conquest
  • Alexander chased Darius
  • Assassinated by his own noblemen
  • Continued the campaign into Afghanistan India
    in 327
  • More major battles severely wounded
  • Erratic behavior
  • Heavy drinking
  • Fear of conspiracies
  • Kills officer - Clitus
  • Considers himself "a god among men"
  • Alexander adopts ways of the east
  • Married local princess, Roxane
  • Adopts a new court ritual Persian royal
    garments proskynesis
  • Relies on Persians to govern provinces
  • Alienates Macedonian nobles
  • Army slowly becoming less Macedonian
  • hired many Greek mercenaries
  • increasingly relying upon eastern troops

End of Conquest
  • Wanted to advance east
  • Soldiers refused
  • Convinced by omens to return
  • Return march through desert huge
    loses of soldiers
  • Thousands die during march
  • 324 - returned to Persepolis Susa
  • Ordered 100 officers to marry Persian women
  • Married to two princesses
  • Male lover Hephaestion died
  • Ordered subjects to sacrifice to Hephaestion as a
  • 323 - Dies in Babylon at age 32
  • Cause unclear
  • Empire to the strongest

Alexanders Legacy
  • Conquered the mighty Persian Empire
  • Great military legend
  • Model of heroic leader for Classical world
  • Created largest empire the ancient world had
  • Couldnt be sustained
  • Spread Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean
    and Near East
  • Very practical administrator
  • Macedonian more than Greek
  • Founded more than 70 cities
  • Administer empire
  • Was his intention to create a universal empire or
    just conquer?
  • Died before he could consolidate his victories
  • Planned other campaigns

Empire After Alexander
  • Alexander named no successor weak brother
    infant son
  • Military struggle resulted in carving the empire
    into 3 dynasties controlled by Macedonian
    generals 20 years of conflict
  • Successor kingdoms collectively known as the
  • Antigonids Macedonia Northern Greece
  • Ptolemies - Egypt
  • Seleucids Western Asia

Hellenistic World
  • Period of continuous warfare between successor
  • Four Diodoch wars
  • Many Greco-Macedonian competitors for power
  • Mercenary armies primary soldiers of period
  • Monarchs rule vast and diverse kingdoms
  • Territories of old Persian empire
  • Each empire embarked on building projects,
    scholarship patronage of the arts
  • New ruling class of descendants of
    Greco-Macedonian conquerors
  • New cities take on importance
  • Greek culture dominates Greek lingua franca
  • Individualism replaces loyalty to polis
  • Commerce and travel increases
  • Blending and assimilation of cultures

Macedonian Greek Rulers
  • Ruling elite about 10 percent of population
  • influence out of proportion to their numbers
  • New professional class of rulers, administrators
  • Old loyalties to the Polis given way to
    dedication to the profession
  • Pursuit of individual wealth power
  • Greeks accept monarchy
  • Included those who acquired Greek language and
    culture through formal or informal education
  • Opened opportunities for ambitious

Ptolemaic Egypt
  • Ptolemies last dynasty of independent Egypt,
    332-30 BC
  • After Alexanders death, friend Ptolemy became
    satrap of Egypt
  • Establish new capital at Alexandria
  • Center of culture commerce
  • Bring Greek cultural influence
  • Administered country in Greek
  • Introduced cult of Serapis bull
  • Respected local religious traditions
  • Retain existing Egyptian religious and political
  • Present themselves as native pharaohs
  • 14 kings - all called Ptolemy
  • Prominence of female rulers
  • Cleopatra last ruler

Ptolemaic Queens
  • 7 queens named Cleopatra 4
  • Rose to power when their sons or brothers were
    too young
  • Often married brother
  • Berenice IV- sole ruler in 57 BC
  • Cleopatra III presents herself as goddess Isis
    goddess Maat
  • Defeats Ptolemy IV in battle, 102 BC
  • Cleopatra VII, 69-30 BC
  • Ascended the Egyptian throne at 17
  • Fought brother/husband Ptolemy XIII
  • Lover of Julius Caesar Marc Anthony
  • Lost Battle of Actium to Augustus
  • Commits suicide
  • Last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt

Royal Library of Alexandria
  • Once the largest library in the world archive
    of literary and scientific achievements of the
  • Founded at the beginning of the 3rd cen. BC,
    during reign of Ptolemy II
  • Father built first part of library complex, the
    Temple of the Muses the Musaion (museum)
  • Handwritten manuscripts
  • Papyrus parchment scrolls
  • Initially focused primarily on editing texts
    research center
  • Center of international scholarship
  • Library or parts of the collection were destroyed
    by fire on a number of occasions 4 events

Hellenistic Cities
  • All aspects of Greek culture
  • Theater, gymnasium, agora, temple
  • Growth of these cities provokes massive
    migrations from the Greek mainland
  • Cosmopolitan centers of government, trade and
  • Cities were no longer independent
  • Cities owed allegiance to kingdoms rather than
  • Monarchs often advocated democracy in their
  • Governed by magistrates, councils popular
  • King demanded tribute and taxes
  • Many cities introduced civic religious cults
    honoring their kings

Hellenistic Economy
  • Despite the constant conflict, the Hellenistic
    world was incredibly prosperous
  • Alexander and his successors liberated an immense
    amount of wealth from Persian empire
  • Mainly ruling class and wealthy benefited
  • Industry remained essentially hand-craft
    industry, and agriculture remained the primary
  • Vast estates predominated in agriculture
  • International marketplace expands
  • Goods moved freely between kingdoms
  • Some luxury goods, but mostly agricultural
  • Labor was manual slavery still prominent
  • Cities created wider gulf between rich and poor

Hellenistic Economy
  • Currency standardized
  • Coinage 2 separate standards of weight
  • Based on silver drachma
  • Command Economies
  • Kingdoms take control of economic activity
  • Control trade and industry
  • Funnel riches into royal treasury
  • Successful industries converted into royal
  • sesame oil, salt, perfumes, incense
  • beer industry in Egypt royal breweries
  • Kings levy taxes on imports and exports
  • Required complex administrative structures, with
    large Greek-speaking bureaucracies
  • Used money to enrich themselves and fund constant

Women in Hellenistic Society
  • Cosmopolitan cities helped break down tight
    family life and female seclusion of traditional
  • Greater personal freedom
  • Free to move about in public
  • More independence of action
  • Right to control and own property
  • Evidence of joint decision making in marriage
  • More opportunities to participate in public
  • Political restrictions remain
  • Never enfranchised
  • Women depicted more in art
  • Greater emphasis on female sexuality
  • New Professions
  • Musicians, writers, poets, artists all recognized
  • City magistrates
  • Elite and wealthy become educated
  • Involved in commerce or intellectual activities

Hellenistic Art
  • Realism instead of ideal
  • Naturalism, movement, emotion, expressiveness
    dramatic posing
  • Demonstrated individuality of faces bodies,
    even imperfections
  • Human condition, state of mind daily life
    popular subjects
  • Social diversity in art
  • Statues of female nudes popular
  • Royal wealthy patronage
  • Reflect ideals of Greek aesthetics
  • Political agenda of promoting Greek culture
  • Hired architects to design cities conducive to
    Greek life

Hellenistic Art
Jews Hellenism
  • Jewish religious practices restricted Unlike
  • under Persians
  • Many Jews accepted Greek culture to prosper
  • Maccabeen Revolt
  • Seleucid king Antiochus IV tried to make
    the Jews worship the Greek gods 168 BC
  • Revolted gained their independence
  • Celebrate Hanukkah in commemoration of victory
    of Maccabees
  • Maccabees founded Hasmonean royal
    dynasty established Jewish state 165 63 BC
  • Story of the Maccabees in Old Testament
  • Herod I or Herod the Great (c. 74 BC c. 1 BC)
  • Roman client-king of Judaea
  • From a wealthy, influential Idumaean family
  • Ruthless political opportunitist
  • Herod's Temple - massive renovation
  • Dismantled Second Temple to make grander structure

Hellenistic Philosophy
  • Philosophy mainly for the wealthy and educated
  • Sought to give ataraxia or peace of mind
  • Epicureanism
  • Epicurus c. 341-270 BC
  • Chance rules all Everything random
  • Aim of life was pleasure
  • The highest pleasure was absence of pain
  • Pleasure of the mind was preferable to that of
    the body
  • The soul dies with the body, so we must not fear
    death or afterlife
  • The gods exist but do not concern themselves with
    humanity or natural phenomena (all of which can
    be explained scientifically)
  • Should avoid public life and emotional
    commitments in order to escape the pains likely
    to be caused by them
  • Withdraw from worldly affairs

Hellenistic Philosophy
  • Stoicism
  • Zeno of Citium founded 300 BC
  • Most influential philosophy among educated
  • All humans are subject to universal laws.
  • Simple divine plan governs the universe
  • One must follow this plan to find happiness
  • By living in harmony with nature, one gains
    peace of mind and the reward of virtue
  • Universe functions according to a preordained
    cyclic pattern of occurrences. Nothing that
    happens is new, and it all happens for a reason.
  • By cultivating self discipline, people learn to
    accept their fate and become immune to earthly
  • Achieve inner freedom and tranquility
  • Duty to participate in public affairs

Mystery Religions
  • Religion of the common people
  • Syncretism - fusion of beliefs
  • Religion with secret wisdom
  • Beliefs, practices, and the religion's true
    nature are revealed only to those who have been
    initiated into its secrets
  • Common cult components
  • Sacred symbols rites with personal spiritual
    magical efficacy
  • Purification rituals
  • Baptisms and other initiation rites and
  • Initiation be divided into several stages through
    which an adherent had to ascend to obtain
  • Central theme of life-death-rebirth cycle
  • Promise of afterlife to initiates

Mystery Religions
  • Eleusinian Mysteries
  • Popular cult of Demeter and Persephone based at
    Eleusis in Greece
  • Initiation rites united the worshipper with god,
    and included promises of divine power and rewards
    in life after death
  • Isis - goddess in Egyptian mythology
  • Extremely popular in Hellenistic Roman world
  • Osiris-Dionysus
  • Attempt to merge Egyptian and Greek philosophy
  • Dying and resurrection mythology

7 Wonders of the World
  • Tourist attractions of the Hellenistic world
  • Number of ancient lists
  • Earliest list - Antipater of Sidon c. 125 BC
  • 1. Pyramids of Khufu
  • 26th century BC
  • 2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • 6th century BC
  • 3. Temple of Artemis
  • 6th century BC
  • 4. Statue of  Zeus
  • 5th century BC
  • 5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • 4th century BC
  • 6. Colossus of Rhodes
  • 3rd century BC
  • 7. Lighthouse of Alexandria
  • 3rd century BC

The Temple of Artemis
  • City of Ephesus - Western Turkey
  • First shrine to Goddess Artemis built around 800
  • Goddess of fertility
  • First temple burnt in 356 BC - Herostratus
  • New temple - 425 ft long 225 ft wide - 127
  • Parthenon 230 ft long, 100 ft wide 58
  • Major tourist attraction
  • Souvenirs religious items including
    miniature statues of Artemis
  • Destroyed by Goths in 262 A.D
  • Few remains today
  • Marble salvaged for local building needs

Hanging Gardens Of Babylon - Iraq
  • Garden built by King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled
    the city for 43 years starting in 605 BC
  • Strabo described them as groups of vaulted
    terraces raised one above another
  • Built to cheer up Nebuchadnezzar's homesick wife,
    Amyitis from Medes
  • Land she came from was green, rugged and
    mountainous, and she found the flat, sun-baked
    terrain of Mesopotamia depressing.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • Western Turkey
  • Mausolus, with his queen Artemisia (also sister),
    ruled over Halicarnassus the surrounding
    territory for 24 years
  • In 353 B.C. Mausolus died
  • Artemisia, heartbroken, decided to build the
    worlds most splendid tomb
  • Stood above the city ruins for some 17 centuries
    until destroyed by an earthquake in 1404 AD

The Great Pharos Lighthouse
  • Alexandria, Egypt founded by Alexander in 332 BC
  • Under Ptolemys the city became rich and
  • City needed both a symbol a mechanism to guide
    the many trade ships into the busy harbor
  • Built on the island of Pharos
  • Building of the Pharos started in 290 B.C
  • Took 20 years to complete
  • Became tallest building in existence, with the
    exception of the Great Pyramid
  • Became big tourist attraction
  • Damaged by earthquakes
  • Finally collapsed in 1306 AD

The Great Pyramids of Giza
  • Pharaoh Khufu 2400 BC
  • Only remaining wonder
  • 756 feet long 450 high
  • Tallest man-made structure for over 4400 years
    until 1889 - Eiffel Tower
  • Composed of 2,300,000 blocks of stone
  • Originally covered by a beautiful smooth
    limestone surfacing
  • Khufus tomb and treasure has never been found

The Colossus of Rhodes
  • Island of Rhodes was an important economic center
  • Southwestern tip of Asia Minor
  • Held off a siege of city for over a year
  • Celebrated the victory by building huge statue
  • Melted metal from war machines left behind
  • Construction took 12 years
  • 110 high and stood upon a 50 foot pedestal near
    the harbor
  • Destroyed by earthquake after 56 years

Statue of Zeus
  • Temple of Zeus at Olympia constructed 470 to
    460 B.C.
  • Similar to Parthenon in design
  • Needed a magnificent statue of Zeus
  • 50 feet high
  • Phidias sculptor
  • Statue of Athena in the Parthenon
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