By Peter Thonemann
The 3 centuries which the conquests of Alexander are possibly the main exciting of all sessions of historical historical past. This was once an age of cultural globalization: within the 3rd century BC, a unmarried language carried you from the Rhone to the Indus. A Celt from the decrease Danube may perhaps serve within the mercenary military of a Macedonian king ruling in Egypt, and a Greek thinker from Cyprus may perhaps evaluate the religions of the Brahmins and the Jews at the foundation of first-hand wisdom of either. Kings from Sicily to Tajikistan struggled to satisfy the demanding situations of ruling multi-ethnic states, and Greek city-states got here jointly less than the earliest federal governments recognized to heritage. The scientists of Ptolemaic Alexandria measured the circumference of the earth, whereas pioneering Greek argonauts explored the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic coast of Africa.
Drawing on inscriptions, papyri, coinage, poetry, paintings, and archaeology Peter Thonemann opens up the historical past and tradition of the tremendous Hellenistic global, from the demise of Alexander the good (323 BC) to the Roman conquest of the Ptolemaic country (30 BC).
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Additional info for The Hellenistic age
Apamea, Eumenes and his successors built a stable and prosperous state in western Asia Minor. Thanks to the Romans’ declared policy of freedom for the Greeks, the old Greek towns of coastal Asia Minor were treated with conspicuous courtesy by the later Attalid kings, and the peninsula’s rich agrarian heartlands were seeded with dozens of new cityfoundations. Eumenes deliberately sought to present his kingdom as more like the Achaean and Aetolian federations in mainland Greece than the absolutist Ptolemaic and Seleucid monarchies—as, in many ways, it really was.
And there is so much to be done; nothing less than the conquest, material, social, intellectual, of a whole new world. This new world, in all its kaleidoscopic variety, is the subject of this book. , From Alexander to Augustus Through his conquest of Achaemenid Persia, Alexander the Great created a single Macedonian empire stretching from the lower Danube and lower Nile in the west to the upper Indus and Oxus valleys in the east. In the ﬁrst generation after Alexander’s death (323–281 ), this empire fractured into three successor kingdoms, each ruled by a Macedonian king: the Antigonids in Macedon, the Ptolemies in Egypt, and the Seleucids in western and central Asia.
In most parts of the kingdom, a tiny settler minority of Greeks and Macedonians ruled over multitudes of non-Greeks: Iranians, Babylonians, Arabs and the rest were excluded from all but the lowest rungs of the Seleucid administrative hierarchy. It is easy to deplore the ‘colonial’ nature of Seleucid Asia, and modern historians have often taken a dim view of the Seleucid state more generally: weak, despotic, inefﬁcient, and doomed to collapse. In 1938, William Tarn drew a famous contrast between the Seleucid kingdom and the Roman empire.
The Hellenistic age by Peter Thonemann