From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Man, as a political animal, a fraction of the polis or self-governing city-state, had ended with Aristotle; with Alexander begins man as an individual. This individual needed to consider both the regulation of his own life and also his relations with other individuals who with him composed the ‘inhabited world’; to meet the former need there arose the philosophies of conduct, to meet the latter certain new ideas of human brotherhood. These originated on the day—one of the critical moments of history—when, at a banquet at Opis, Alexander prayed for a union of hearts (homonoia) among all peoples and a joint commonwealth of Macedonians and Persians."--Hellenistic Civilisation (1927) by William Woodthorpe Tarn
The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The Ancient Greek word Hellas (Ἑλλάς, Ellás) is the original word for Greece, which the word Hellenistic was derived from.
At this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its peak in Europe, Africa and Asia, experiencing prosperity and progress in the arts, exploration, literature, theatre, architecture, music, mathematics, philosophy, and science. It is often considered a period of transition, sometimes even of decadence or degeneration, compared to the enlightenment of the Greek Classical era. The Hellenistic period saw the rise of New Comedy, Alexandrian poetry, the Septuagint and the philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism. Greek science was advanced by the works of the mathematician Euclid and the polymath Archimedes. The religious sphere expanded to include new gods such as the Greco-Egyptian Serapis, eastern deities such as Attis and Cybele and the Greek adoption of Buddhism.
After Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Empire in 330 BC and its disintegration shortly after, the Hellenistic kingdoms were established throughout south-west Asia (Seleucid Empire, Kingdom of Pergamon), north-east Africa (Ptolemaic Kingdom) and South Asia (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Indo-Greek Kingdom). The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa. This resulted in the export of Greek culture and language to these new realms, spanning as far as modern-day India. Equally, however, these new kingdoms were 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 the Near East, Middle East, and Southwest Asia. This mixture gave rise to a common Attic-based Greek dialect, known as Koine Greek, which became the lingua franca through the Hellenistic world.
Scholars and historians are divided as to what event signals the end of the Hellenistic era. The Hellenistic period may be seen to end either with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC following the Achean War, with the final defeat of the Ptolemaic Kingdom at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, or even the move by Roman emperor Constantine the Great of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople in 330 AD. "Hellenistic" is distinguished from "Hellenic" in that the first encompasses the entire sphere of direct ancient Greek influence, while the latter refers to Greece itself.
- Roman Republic
- Parthian Empire
- Maurya Empire
- Han dynasty
- Pre-Roman Iron Age
- Ancient Carthage
- La Tène cultureTemplate:Col-float-break
- Greco-Roman world
- Tashtyk culture
- Kushan Empire
- Hellenism (Academia)
- Hellenism (neoclassicism)