Ancient Athens in the Hellenistic World

Apart from some futile attempts to recapture their freedom, for well over a century the Greeks remained under Macedonian rule. Introduction When we think about ancient Athens, it is almost always about the classical city. We think of such things as its numerous monuments (the Parthenon on the Acropolis for example), beautifying everywhere, the Agora swarming with people doing business, discussing current affairs,[…]

The ‘Fall’ of Classical Athens?: Problems with Historical Periodization

“Hellenistic” Athens may not shine as brightly as Classical Athens, but it has lived unfairly in the shadow of its famous predecessor. Athens: the most powerful city in ancient Greece; the birthplace of democracy; home to the great tragedies of Aeschylus. Sophocles, and Euripides; philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; brimming with large monuments[…]

The Collapse of the Ancient Hellenistic Seleucid Empire

The Romans and Parthians used internal dissent and succession problems within the Seleucid royal house to bring it down. Introduction For most of the third and second centuries BC, the Seleucid Empire was the greatest of Alexander the Great’s Hellenistic successor states. Stretching from boundary of Persia to the Mediterranean Sea, and at times including[…]

Daily Life and Commercial Activities in Ancient Roman Macedonia

Examining the guilds and professional associations driving ancient commerce in Hellenistic Roman Macedon. Establishment of a New Political Reality In 168-167 BC, we have the dissolution of the Macedonian kingdom by the Romans and a new political reality in the region. Aemilius Paullus, the victor of Pydna, gathered the representatives of Macedonian poleis and ethne[…]

Coronation of the Diadochi: Monarchic Division after Alexander the Great

The Hellenistic world which had had no monarch for half a decade after Alexander suddenly had a plethora of them. The year 310 B.C. witnessed the extinction of the Argead line. Cassander had ordered the murder of Young Alexander IV and his mother Roxane, widow of Alexander the Great. The kingdom of Macedonia was now[…]

Wine Culture in the Ancient Hellenistic Mediterranean

Viticulture, that is, the cultivation of grapes and the preparation of wine, can actually be traced back long before the Hellenistic Age. Introduction The culture of drinking wine was enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean world, and what is true now was true in antiquity, too: wine is always good business. The Hellenistic Period (c. 335-30 BCE),[…]

The Seleucid Empire of Hellenistic Mesopotamia, 312-63 BCE

Seleucus was arguably the most successful of Alexander’s successors with the creation of a multi-national empire. Introduction The Seleucid Empire (312-63 BCE) was the vast political entity established by Seleucus I Nicator (“Victor” or “Unconquered”, l. c. 358-281 BCE, r. 305-281 BCE), one of the generals of Alexander the Great, after Alexander’s death in 323[…]

Elephants in Hellenistic History and Art: Alexander to Hannibal and Back to India

Elephants were thought of as fierce and frightful monsters in antiquity, very real though rarely seen until the Hellenistic period. Introduction Elephants were thought of as fierce and frightful monsters in antiquity, very real though rarely seen until the Hellenistic period. They were deployed on the battlefield to strike terror into the enemy, however, since[…]

The Hellenistic Age

A mixed, cosmopolitan form of social and cultural life combining Hellenic (Greek) traditions with indigenous traditions emerged in the eastern Mediterranean region after Alexander’s conquests. Introduction The term Hellenistic (“Greek-like”) was invented in the nineteenth century A.D. to designate the period of Greek and Near Eastern history from the death of Alexander the Great in[…]

Arab-Islamic Reception and Development of Hellenistic Science

An overview of the Arab-Islamic reception and development of Hellenistic science. Abstract This article is an overview of the Arab-Islamic reception and development of Hellenistic science. It particularly refers to mathematics, physics and astronomy. It focuses on the following topics: 1) Two interpretative models of this reception in the 19th, 20th, and 21stcentury scholarship: the[…]