Hellenistic civilization

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Hellenistic civilization.

The conquests of Alexander the Great spread HellenismHellenism,
the culture, ideals, and pattern of life of ancient Greece in classical times. It usually means primarily the culture of Athens and the related cities during the Age of Pericles.
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 immediately over the Middle East and far into Asia. After his death in 323 B.C., the influence of Greek civilization continued to expand over the Mediterranean world and W Asia. The wars of the DiadochiDiadochi
[Gr.,=successors], the Macedonian generals and administrators who succeeded Alexander the Great. Alexander's empire, the largest that the world had known to that time, was quickly built. At his death in 323 B.C. it disintegrated even more quickly.
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 marked, it is true, the breakup of Alexander's brief empire, but the establishment of Macedonian dynasties in Egypt, Syria, and Persia (the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae) helped to mold the world of that day into a wider unity of trade and learning.

While the city-states of Greece itself tended to stagnate, elsewhere cities and states grew and flourished. Of these the chief was AlexandriaAlexandria,
Arabic Al Iskandariyah, city (1996 pop. 3,328,196), N Egypt, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is at the western extremity of the Nile River delta, situated on a narrow isthmus between the sea and Lake Mareotis (Maryut).
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. So great a force did Alexandria exert in commerce, letters, and art that this period is occasionally called the Alexandrian Age, and the end of Hellenistic civilization is generally set at the final triumph of Roman power in Alexandria in the 1st cent. B.C. PergamumPergamum
, ancient city of NW Asia Minor, in Mysia (modern Turkey), in the fertile valley of the Caicus. It became important c.300 B.C., after the breakup of the Macedonian empire, when a Greek family (the Attalids) established a brilliant center of Hellenistic civilization.
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 was also prominent, and there were other cities of influence (e.g., Dura).

The bounds of the known world were extended by navigators, who learned, for example, about the North Sea. The upsurge of commerce brought a great increase of wealth to merchants and in general to the upper classes; this wealth was also reflected in a tendency toward the ornate and superimpressive in architecture, although town plans and buildings of the period have proportions and grace rarely excelled. It should be noted, however, that the increase of wealth did not reach the poor, who in general were more impoverished than they had previously been.

Education, however, was much more widespread than ever before, and Greek was the fashionable language of the educated world. The result was a great increase of volume in literature (see Greek literature, ancientGreek literature, ancient,
the writings of the ancient Greeks. The Greek Isles are recognized as the birthplace of Western intellectual life. Early Writings

The earliest extant European literary works are the Iliad and the Odyssey,
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) and a tendency for writing to divide into popular literature for the wide audience and specialized writing for narrow, highly intellectual circles. The libraries of Alexandria and Pergamum were centers of literary criticism and the compiling of anthologies and catalogs. The literature of the Hellenistic period has been stigmatized since the Renaissance as imitative and ponderous, but actually there was a great richness in some of the writing. Not only were there outstanding poets such as Callimachus and Theocritus but there were also new forms that emerged, such as the complicated but frequently charming romances and the works of Lucian. Similarly some of the finest—and some of the most familiar—ancient sculptures to survive to our day are Alexandrian (e.g., the Venus of Milo and the Dying Gaul).

Philosophical disputation was popular among the educated, and the contributions of the Stoics and the Epicureans to the world were great. The greatest contribution of the age was the preservation and enrichment of the Greek heritage for the use of Rome and succeeding civilizations. As Rome gradually overshadowed the Mediterranean world, the Romans learned much from the peoples they conquered, and Hellenistic civilization was absorbed rather than extinguished.


See studies by M. I. Rostovtzeff (3 vol., 1941), M. Hadas (1959), J. C. Stobart (3d ed. 1960), G. T. Griffith and W. W. Tarn (rev. ed. 1961), P. Grimal, ed. (1969), and F. E. Peters (1971).

References in periodicals archive ?
Paul Getty Museum in LA, this large-scale survey considers the artistic developments of the Hellenistic era through 50 rare bronze masterpieces.
In the initial stage of the Hellenistic Era, Ionian cities in West Anatolia which were the centres of culture, maintained their popularity.
It marks a significant discovery from the early Hellenistic era, although a Culture Ministry official said there was no evidence yet to suggest a link to Alexander the Great, who died in 323 BC after an unprecedented military campaign through the Middle East, Asia and northeast Africa, or his family.
Originally built in the Hellenistic era 2,300 years ago, Dura-Europos functioned as a Roman border city near the Euphrates River, known as the village of Salhiye in modern day Syria.
Both philosophers write here in short texts which functioned primarily as commentary on or criticism of contemporary works; as a result, their ideas will be intelligible only to specialists in classics, particularly with experience in Peripatetic philosophy or the Hellenistic era.
The scaffolded gallery showed how the town was first settled in the Hellenistic era but regional prehistoric context was provided by exhibits from the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic (striking pottery from Hacilar) to the Mycenaean and Phrygian periods.
ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Historical artifacts belonging to the Pontus Kingdom in the Hellenistic era and dating back to 2,150 years ago were uncovered during excavations in a cave in Fatsa, a district in the Black Sea province of Ordu.
Archaeological sites in Sharjah's Maleeha area and Umm Al Quwain's Al Dour, where evidence of Hellenistic era has been traced, and a place with old barracks of the British army in Ras Al Khaimah are among the other sites that are likely to be short-listed from over 20 sites that may be included at later stages.
Head of Sweida Antiquities Department Wasim al-Sharani told SANA that excavation works inside the tomb showed that it is a unique model of dome and circular tombs dating back to Nabatean Hellenistic Era.
The Syrian-German expedition working at the site of Tal Fukhira discovered brick-made walls dating back to the Roman era and holes dating back to the Hellenistic era and three phases of the Assyrian age in addition to discovering clay-made tombs built under an architectural structure and many cuneiform tablets.
It has over 4,000 historical monuments, which cover various periods of the country's development from prehistoric to the Hellenistic era and from the early to medieval Christian era.
At the onset of the Hellenistic era (late 4th century BC), the cardiocentric consensus (heart as control centre) gradually receded, as influential Alexandrians such as Herophilus and Erasistratus brought evidence of an encephalocentric hegemonikon.