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Hellenistic civilization

From Academic Kids

The term Hellenistic (derived from Hellehn, Ἕλλην in Greek, the Greeks' word for themselves) was established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of various ethnicities, and from the political dominance of the city-state to that of larger monarchies. In this period the traditional Greek culture was changed by strong Eastern influences, especially Persian, in aspects of religion and government. Cultural centers shifted away from mainland Greece, to Pergamon, Rhodes, Antioch and Alexandria.

Modern historians see the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC as the beginning of the Hellenistic period. Alexander and the Macedonians conquered the eastern Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, and the Iranian plateau, and invaded India. Following Alexander's death, there was a struggle for the succession, known as the wars of the Diadochi, Greek for successors. These ended in 281 BC with the establishment of three large territorial states:

His successors held on to the territory west of the Tigris for some time and controlled the eastern Mediterranean until the Roman Republic took control in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. Most of the east was eventually overrun by the Parthians, but Hellenistic culture held on in distant locations like Bactria or the Cimmerian Bosporus.

The end of the Hellenistic period is generally seen as 31 BC, when the power of Ptolemaic Egypt was smashed by the Romans at the Battle of Actium. Shortly thereafter, the independence of the Ptolemies was at an end with the suicide of Cleopatra and the annexation of Egypt by Caesar Augustus.

Related article

el:Ελληνιστική Περίοδος es:Helenstico nl:Hellenisme ja:ヘレニズム ru:Эллинизм sv:Hellenism

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