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Mr. Giotto"s online Textbook » ancient Greece » Alexander the great and the Hellenistic Age

Alexander the an excellent and the Hellenistic Age

Alexander the great and the Hellenistic Age

The Hellenistic age 336-30 BC(from Alexander’s crowning come the death of Cleopatra)

The word Hellenistic comes from the root word Hellas, whichwas the ancient Greek word because that Greece. The Hellenic period was the time when Greek culture was pure and unaffectedby various other cultures.The Hellenistic Agewas a time once Greeks come in contact with external people and their Hellenic, classicculture mixed with societies from Asia and also Africa to create a blended culture. One man, Alexander, King of Macedonia, a Greek-speaker, is responsible for this blending of cultures.

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To understand just how the Kingdom the Macedoniadominated the Greek world, we require tofirst take it a look in ~ the fight of Leuctra in 371 BC, betweenSparta and also Thebes. As you read in the critical chapter, Sparta beat Athens in 404 BC, ending the Peloponnesian War. Despite Sparta to be victorious, it was also weakened through this war. Thebes, an ally of Sparta during the Peloponnesian War,became an effective after the conflict. Sparta and Thebes visited war over territory close to Thebes.The fight took ar in Boeotia, close to the city-state of Leuctra in July 371 BC.

Epaminondas, the Theban general, presented a new fighting method at Leuctra. Together you remember, the Greeks battled in a phalanx, a solid block of men. The ideal men would kind on the ideal side, or weak side, together a location of honor. The Spartan phalanx at Leuctra was twelvemen deep. In the timeless formation, the ideal soldiers of one military would constantly face the weakest the the other. Epaminondas put his finest soldiers top top the left, guaranteeing the they would face the best Spartans. He also took no chances, developing his left next 50-men deep. Epaminondasheld the Theban right-side back, refusing come fight the Spartan left. The Theban left the 50-men deep moved the Spartan right, trampling men and also killing the Spartan king. Sparta was not supplied to losing battles. Sparta would go on, yet this was the end of Sparta as the leading Greek city-state, and also the end of its manage over many of the Peloponnese.


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The battle of Leuctra in Boeotia, Greece, just north the Athens. 1) The larger Spartan military in blue tries to out-flank the Theban right side. 2) Spartan mounties is chased turn off the battlefield by the Theban cavalry. 3) The Theban appropriate side consists of peltasts, javelin throwers, i beg your pardon harass the Spartan left side. 4) The Theban left side contains a super phalanx 50-rows deep, i m sorry bears down on the Spartan right. 5) The Theban super phalanx, consisting of the Theban "Sacred Band" of three-hundred men, rolls over the Spartan right, killing the Spartan king.

Watching the fight of Leuctra and also learning Theban tactics was a young man from Macedonia surname Philip. Philip was a hostage in Thebes, as Thebes controlled Macedonia at this time. Philip went back to Macedonia in 365 BC. 6 years later, in 359 BC, Philip came to be King the Macedonia. Together king, Philip provided both diplomacy and also war to expand Macedonian territory. Philip married right into the households of the surrounding kingdoms, and also captured a yellow mine, which listed Macedonia through wealth. Philip is offered credit for producing the sarrisa, a long pike provided inthe Macedonian phalanx.


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The Macedonian phalanx, produced by Philip II, was sixteenrows deep and also sixteen rows wide. Every man brought a sarrisa, a 20 ft.long pike, which was hosted with 2 hands. A little shield was attached to a animal leather strapthatwentaround every soldier's neck.

In 338 BC, in ~ the fight of Chaeronea, King Philip II of Macedoniaused comparable tacticsto thosethat he witnessed at the BattleofLeuctra to defeat a Theban and Athenian army sent to accomplish him. Philip to be now clearly the grasp of the Greek-speaking world. He produced the Corinthian league of Greek allies. This allies vowed no to fight every other, and also to administer troops for Philip's planned invasion of the Persian Empire.


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The Macedonian phalanx, combined with the companion mounties crushed the Theban/Athenian alliance in ~ Chaernea. The Theban spiritual Band was cut down come a man, and also buried in ~ a burial mound. King Philip's 18-year-old son, Alexander, commanded the Macedonian cavalry, which discovered a gap and attacked the enemy phalanx from behind.
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Philip increased Macedonian influence by diplomacy and by waging war. An alert the Greek city-states the were component of Philip's Corinthian league (Yellow area). Macedonian garrisons space troops left behind in particular areas, prefer Thebes, and Corinth, where there was a solid possibility the a rebellion.

Philip's plan of conquest was cut short when, in 336 BC, at his daughter's wedding, he to be assassinated by among his own body guards. Countless people believe the assassin did not act alone, and that Olympias, Philip's fourth wife, to be behind the plot to killing the king. The crown the Macedonia passed to Alexander, Philip's kid by Olympias. Alexander was only twenty years old as soon as he came to be king, but had combated at Chaeronea two years before, leading the left soup of his father's cavalry.


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Prince Alexander gains beneficial military experience, as he leads his father's cavalry attack on the left flank at Chaeronea. Macedonia to be ruled by one aristocracy who could afford the horses essential to form a cavalry.

In 335 BC, inthe very first year of his reign, Alexander was tested by a rebellion in Thebes. Thebes withstood as Alexander's army advanced to the city. Alexander made an example of Thebes by completely destroying the city other than for the temples and also the residence of Pindar, one of his favorite poets.

After destroying Thebes, Alexander moved on to Corinth, where he developed himself together the new leader that the Corinthian League. Alexander pardoned those city-states that had actually rebelled versus him. Prefer his father, Alexander want to overcome the Persian empire with the help of the Greeks. When in Corinth, Alexander sought out his favorite philosopher, Diogenes. Diogenes lived in the streets of Corinth in a barrel. As soon as Alexander uncovered the old man, the asked Diogenes if there was anything he might do because that him. Diogenes replied, "Yes, you deserve to stand a bit to the side, you are blocking my sunlight." as soon as Alexander's body guards laugh at the old man, Alexander quieted lock by saying, "If i were no Alexander, I would be Diogenes!"

In 334 BC, Alexander overcome the Hellespont with his Macedonian and Greek army and also into the Persian Empire. His very first stop to be the ruins of the City that Troy. The Iliad and Odyssey to be Alexander's favourite books, and it was claimed that he always carried a copy the them where he went. It was organic then,that he would want to visit the legend city. It was at troy that Alexander traction the shield of Achilles from turn off the wall of a little museum between the ruins. The would usage the 900-year old shield in all of his battles. Alexander learned to appreciate the Iliad and nature indigenous his teacher Aristotle, a Macedonian that studied in Athens in ~ Plato's Academy.


At Granicus River, Alexander metthe very first resistance come his intrusion as the was clogged by a Persian army. The King the Persia currently was Darius III. Darius was not overly concerned about the young Macedonian king, and also was not present at this battle. Though he was nearly killed, Alexander rallied his army and also defeated the Persians. Darius blamed the win on his general, he would be sure to be through his military at the following battle.


After the battle of Granicus River, Alexander travelled along the coast,making sure these city-states were currently on his side. Alexander could not afford to go deep into the Persian empire with opponents at his back. Next, Alexander marched inlandto the city of Gordion, the location of the famous Gordian Knot. The was claimed that everyone who might removethe oxcart native the temple, through untying the knot, would certainly be the king that theworld. Alexander might no resist this challenge. The knot was tied therefore the ends can not be found. Crying out, "It doesn't matter just how it's done!" Alexander took a swing v this sword, damaged the rope, and pulled the oxcart away from the temple.

In 333 BC, Alexandermet a largePersian military led by the great King, Darius III in ~ Issus. Darius had blamed the loss in ~ Granicus river onthe truth that the wasnot there; this time he would leadhis army against the young Macedonian king. Alexander always led from the front of his army, he to be the an initial tomeet the enemy, this gave his army much courage. Darius, on the various other hand, led indigenous behind, ~ above his chariot, surrounding by human body guards. Back this may seem cowardly contrasted to Alexander, it to be the safe thing to do. The king, gift at the battle, offered the Persians courage, however he was safe from harm. Although the Persian's out-numbered Alexander's army, the battle location was between the sea and also a hill range, and the an excellent King could not out-flank Alexander's smaller sized army. Alexander winner the fight by moving approximately the Persian army and charging top top his horse withhis Companion Cavalrystraight because that Darius. Darius fled the scene, leaving his mother, wife, and also two daughters behind.Alexander captured the imperial family, and also treated them with kindness and respect.Daruis' mother came to be one the Alexander's many trusted advisors, and also was in ~ his bed-side as soon as he died in Babylon.


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Alexander developed two moles, or land bridges, in an attempt to affix Tyre come the mainland. The first was unsuccessful, yet the second featured two large siege towers the same elevation as the Tyrian walls. Every level that the tower has a lithobolos, or rock thrower, offered to stop walls. The Tyrians shooting arrows one let loose hot sand, as soon as the windwas at their back.

In 332 BC, Alexander got to the city-state of tire in Phoenicia, now part of the Persian Empire. Tire was important to King Darius, since it was the marine base for his fleet of triremes. Alexander required to manage this fleet if the wished come go further into the Persian Empire. Alexander asked the Tyrians to hand over your fleet to him, yet they refused. Tyre was on one island about a 4 minutes 1 mile off the shore and also had massive protective walls. The Assyrians and also Babylonians had actually previously check a siege the Tyre and also had failed. Alexander built two land bridges in an effort to attach Tyre come the mainland. Next, he attacked the Persian fleet through ships the his own. The took 7 months, but Alexander lastly took Tyre. He can now advanceinto Persia there is no a risk to his it is provided lines.

In 331 BC, Alexander and his military entered Egypt. The Egyptians, constantly unhappy v their Persian rulers, handed the city of Memphisover to Alexander. Alexander wasproclaimed pharaoh, and wore the dual crown. Alexander, v a few of his friends, travelled with the Egyptian desert to the Oasis the Siwa. Below Alexandervisited the holy place to Ammon-Zeus. Alexander inquiry the oracle at Siwa aquestion. Alexander was constantly closer come his mother. His father was always off come war, and also showedvery littleemotion towards his son. Alexander's mother, named Olympias, was from the Kingdom of Epirus. WhenOlympias separated indigenous Philip, she lugged young Alexander ago to her homeland. It wasin Epirusthat Olympias told her boy that Zeus, the king that the god's was his father, and not Philip. Alexander asked the oracleif this to be true, and the oracle appeared to reply the he was indeed the kid of Zeus. When Alexander reverted from the desert, he made plans for a brand-new port city in Egypt i m sorry he referred to as Alexandria, ~ himself. Alexander left Egypt behind and also headed into the heart of the Persian Empire, determined to defeat Darius again.


In the exact same year that Alexander left Egypt, he relocated deep into the Persian Empire; and at a place referred to as Gaugamela (camel's back) a large battle took location in 331 BC. King Darius was acquisition no opportunities at this battle. Darius assembled an military twice as large as Alexander's.Darius alsoseemed to have an answer for the Macedonian phalanxand sarrisa. Darius brought war elephants come the battlefield, along with scythed chariots. Elephants are offered in war choose tanks, lock trample whatever in their path, this was additionally the first time Greeks had actually seen this beasts, and Alexander's military was in awe of the elephants. The scythed chariots could cut into and break up the phalanx. However, both the these facets proved disappointing. The elephants fell asleep during the battle, and also were caught by Alexander. Alexander's guys simply relocated to the side and let the scythed chariots pass with the lines. Alexander won the fight of Gaugamela, and Darius, for the second time fled the battlefield. Whereat Granicus, Darius might blame the fact that that wasn't there for failure, and also at Issus he can blame the small battlefield, he had actually no forgive atGuagamela.


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Alexander's pressures (in red) spread out, forcing Darius' military to move in an attempt to out-flank Alexander, this created a void in Darius' line wherein Alexander, top the Companion Cavalry, shoots with the gap and directly in ~ Darius, that is behind his lines. Darius to escape the battlefield. His special forces, the scythed chariots and elephants were a huge disappointment, making no differencein the outcome.

After the defeat of Darius at Gaugamela, there to be nothing to protect against Alexander's military from marching come Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Empire. Alexander to be now clearly the King of Persia, not Darius. Alexander spent countless days in Persepolis, fairly than follow Darius. One night, in 330 BC,the city was set onfire. That is unclear even if it is Alexander authorized this destruction, yet what is clear is the he did not relocate to stop it.


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The Persian resources of Persepolis is sacked and burned through Alexander's army. Items steal by Xerxes in the Persian war were returned to Athens. To be this payback because that the burning of Athens through Xerxes one-hundred fifty year earlier?

Alexander moved on and tracked Darius down. When he caught up v Darius, Alexander uncovered him wounded and dying;Darius had actually been struck by his very own subjects. Darius passed away as Alexander provided him his critical drink that water. Darius thanked Alexander for dealing with his family members kindly and also said, "Who would have actually thought, that with all the civilization in the world,I have to receive a critical act of kindness from you."

Alexander relocated on into what is currently the nation of Afghanistan, where he hadhis most daunting time beating the civilization in this area. Afghanistan is such as mountain and, as we've seen numerous times in history, impossible to control. Alexander was the first to find out this lesson.Alexander did produce an alliance with one group of human being in this area by marrying Roxanne, and local princess.


From Afghanistan, Alexanderturned east with hisarmy. In 326 BC, in the what is currently the nation of India, Alexander encountered his most difficult opponent, Porus,a neighborhood ruler. Porus had actually 200 battle elephants as part of his army. Porus impede Alexander's army from crossing the Hydaspes River. Alexander offered trickery to overcome the Hydaspes, and, in a hard-fought battle, in i m sorry Alexander lost several men, defeated Porus. Alexander was so impression by Porus, that he allowed him to proceed as the local ruler of the region.Alexander acquiredsome war elephants and riders indigenous Porus.


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The battle of Hydaspes River, the porcupine bristle the the sarrisa versus the old tank, the war elephant.

After the battle of Hydaspes River, through a girlfriend in Porus come the west, Alexander wished to continue east come China top top his search of total human being domination, however, ~ the hard-fought victory against Porus, his troops had actually had enough. Many soldiers hadn't seen their family members for ten years, and also wanted come return toGreece and Macedonia.Alexander's military refused to follow the king any type of farther east. After retreating come his time to sulk for 2 days, Alexander arised saying that the god willed the he should return home.

Alexander's army made the daunting march southern in what is currently Pakistan. Countless obstacles and also people unfriendly come Alexander dealt with him along the way.During a siege of a city,Alexander was nearly killed. Once Alexander reached the coast at Pattala, he supplied ships to bringmany of the original soldiers of his army earlier to Greece and also Macedonia, the rather he marched earlier through a desert. There was small water, and also many of his soldiers died during this desert crossing.Alexander made it through the crossing,making itback to Babylon, the funding of his empire. In 323 BC, when in Babylon, Alexander got really sick through a fever and also died. He had actually no plans for a successor to his empire, and also his infant kid was as well young to rule. As his generals gathered around their dying king, they asked him who he would certainly leave his realm to, Alexander replied, "To the strongest!"

Alexander's generals took his advice, and began come fight against each other, each general trying come carve the end a big portion of the empirefor himself. This period was recognized as the battles of the Diadochi (Successors). The an initial battle was over Alexander's body.Whilehis coffinwas returning to Macedonia, the body to be hijacked by Ptolemy,one of theDiadochi, and also brought come Alexandria, in Egypt, whereby it remained for year on display. In 301 BC, the Battleof Ipsus, in Asia Minor, entailing most the the Diadochi,saw among the successors, Antigonus, killed. Ipsusproved that nosingle ruler would regulate the whole empire, together the rather would form alliances to defeat the strongest.It was throughout these battles that Greek militaries learned exactly how to use war elephants, turning these old tanks versus each other. The riders of the elephants were constantly from India, asthe Greek-speakerscould not control the beasts.

Alexander's Legacy

Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the Persian Empire, consisting of parts that Asia and also Africa. Alexander respected the local societies he conquered, and permitted their custom-mades to continue. Alexander himself embraced local customs, wearing Persian clothes and marrying Persian women. Alexander urged hissoldiers come marry Persian women, in this way, the kids of these marriages would re-publishing both Persian and also Greek cultures.

Alexandercreated the Hellenistic Age, a time when Greek society mixed v the various societies of Alexander's Empire. This to be a time of developments in learning, math, art, and architecture. Some of the an excellent names of finding out in this Age encompass Archimedes, Hero, and Euclid.It to be a time of family member peace, ~ the wars of the Diadochi (322-275 BC).

Because of the loved one peace during the Hellenistic Age, travel and trade increased.Antipater of the city the Sidon, produced a poem about 140 BC that listed seven wonders of the world. Antipater picked this buildings and also statues for there art and architecture. The list ended up being a collection of tourist attractions for world of the ancient world.

The good cities the the Hellenistic Age had Antioch in Syria, Pergamum in Asia Minor, and Alexandria in Egypt, with its Library the Alexandria, the biggest library the the old world. Although nobody of these urban were in Greece, lock allhad Greek architecture.


Art in the Hellenistic Agewas really different native the Greek art of the the Hellenic Age. Previously Hellenic art was idealistic, and perfect. Hellenic statues resembled Greek gods, but in the Hellenistic Age, art looked realistic, the way people yes, really are, consisting of their flaws.

As we review earlier, Ptolemy stole the human body of Alexander and also brought it come Alexandria, Egypt. Ptolemy, a general to Alexander,became Ptolemy I, pharaoh the Egypt, and also the very first king of the last dynasty of Egypt, the Ptolemaic Dynasty.The Ptolemys rule Egypt for about 300-years, even though Cleopatra VII, was the just one to find out the Egyptian language. We willread an ext about Cleopatra as soon as we learn about the Romans.

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