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Hellenistic age, in the east Mediterranean and also Middle East, the period between the death of Alexander the an excellent in 323 bce and the conquest of Egypt by Rome in 30 bce. Because that some functions the duration is expanded for a more three and a half centuries, to the move by Constantine the great of his capital to Constantinople (Byzantium) in 330 ce. From the breakup that Alexander’s empire there developed numerous realms, including the Macedonian, the Seleucid, and also the Ptolemaic, that offered as the structure for the spread out of Greek (Hellenic) culture, the mixture that Greek with various other populations, and the combination of Greek and also Eastern elements.

Political developments

Alexander’s successors

Nothing shows the personality that Alexander the an excellent more plainly than the way in which human being who had actually seemed pygmies in ~ his next now came to be leaders of the world he had left behind. Blood still counted: the only male relative, a holy ghost impaired, illegitimate boy of Philip, to be proclaimed king as Philip III Arrhidaeus (c. 358–317), together with Rhoxane’s son Alexander IV (323–310), born after ~ his father’s fatality in August; both to be mere figureheads. Because that the moment Antipater was confirmed in government in Macedon and Greece. In ~ Babylon power was mutual by two senior officers, Perdiccas (c. 365–321) and also Craterus (c. 370–321). By typical consent, Alexander’s recurring plans to be abandoned. His generals had to it is in content v the office that governor. Antigonus Monophthalmos (“The One-eyed”; c. 382–301), favor Antipater, was no in Babylon at the moment of Alexander’s death in 323. For practically 10 year he had actually been administrate Phrygia and also had displayed himself a brave soldier and competent administrator. His firmness and also tact were popular with the Greek cities. The the generals in Babylon, it to be Ptolemy (c. 367/366–283) who calculated native the an initial that the realm would not organize together. He secured for self the governorship that Egypt, wherein he aspired to collection up an elevation kingdom. Lysimachus (c. 360–281) was offered the less attractive assignment of governing Thrace. Two of the others, detailed for their physical and military prowess, Leonnatus and also Seleucus, waited on events. The soldiers discounted Eumenes the Cardia, who bore the key responsibility for polite administration, however he knew more about the empire than anyone else.


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An uprising by Greek mercenaries that had cleared up in Bactria however wanted to return to Greece to be crushed. Trouble in Greece, led by the Athenians and also aimed in ~ liberating the urban from Macedonian garrisons, to be tougher to control. Sparta refuse to participate, together did the islands, but a coalition of Athens with Árgos, Sicyon, Elis, and Messenia, supported by Boeotians, Aetolians, and Thessalians, was a formidable challenge to Antipater’s authority. Because that a time Antipater was hard-pressed in Lamía (the war of 323–322 is well-known as the Lamian War). Leonnatus intervened, nominally in support but in reality ambitious to usurp Antipater’s power; that was eliminated in action, however. In the finish Antipater won, Athens capitulated, and Demosthenes (the voice and symbol that anti-Macedonian feeling) committed suicide. Antipater reestablished Macedonian authority autocratically, v no nonsense around a “free” league of Corinth.

The story of the jockeying for power during the following two decades or therefore is inordinately complex. First Perdiccas, administer in the surname of the two majesties with the support of Eumenes, was charged with an individual ambition and also was assassinated. The militaries made Antipater regent (Craterus had been killed in battle), and also Antigonus, with Antipater’s boy Cassander (c. 358–297) as second-in-command, was put in charge of the militaries in Asia. Ptolemy to be secure in Egypt; Seleucus (c. 358–281), branch of Babylon, and Lysimachus in Thrace ongoing to watch and wait; and also Eumenes, a non-Macedonian with a luck behind him, could claim to represent the kings versus the ambitions the generals and also governors.


Then, in 319, Antipater died and also was thrived by a senior commander however maladroit politician named Polyperchon, that tried to victory the Greeks of the mainland by a new proclamation of your liberties. The an outcome was that the Athenians offered their flexibility to execute the pro-Macedonians, consisting of the worthy however compromising Phocion. War flared up. Eumenes, allied through Polyperchon, challenged Antigonus and also secured Babylon, yet he to be betrayed and also killed in 316. Seleucus escaped to Egypt. Polyperchon’s position was weak, and also he was shortly ousted by the able, up-and-coming Cassander. In becoming master the Macedon and also most the Greece, Cassander rebuilt Thebes and also put the Aristotelian Demetrius that Phalerum in fee of Athens. Olympias, Alexander the Great’s disastrous mother, had eliminated Philip III. Cassander had her placed to death, while maintaining Rhoxane and also Alexander IV under his protection—or guard.

Antigonus was currently the leading figure of the old brigade. Cassander, Ptolemy, and also Lysimachus developed a coalition against him. For four years (315–311) they dealt with indecisively. Antigonus confirmed himself energetic, resourceful, and also imaginative, however he can not win a decisive blow. The only major change came in the excellent coup whereby Seleucus flourished in recovering Babylon. In 311 the 4 leaders i agree to divide the world, leaving Ptolemy through Egypt and also Cyprus, Antigonus v Asia, Lysimachus v Thrace, and Cassander through Macedonia and Greece, but only until Alexander IV came of period in 305. Seleucus was left out.

Royal blood, however, was quickly forgotten in the quest of power. Cassander murdered Rhoxane and young Alexander in 310, soon after Antigonus had actually vainly tried to crush Seleucus. Seleucus, however, held on to a damaged Babylon and the eastern provinces, except for India, i beg your pardon he had to productivity to the Indian king Chandragupta. Antigonus now had the effective support that his brilliant child Demetrius (336–283), well-known as Poliorcetes, or Besieger, who ousted the various other Demetrius and revived the democracy and also eventually the league of Corinth; he was hymned with magnificent honours and also given the Parthenon together his palace. Demetrius, likewise in 306, crushed Ptolemy in a naval battle and also secured Cyprus and also the Aegean, despite he fail in a well known siege that Rhodes (305–304). Antigonus and also Demetrius currently proclaimed themselves joint majesties in sequence to Alexander. Antigonus, however, failed to conquer Egypt, and the other rulers likewise took the title of king. Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and also Ptolemy created an alliance against Antigonus and also Demetrius, and at Ipsus in 301 the allies, v the help of a force of elephants lugged from India by Seleucus, defeated and killed Antigonus. Demetrius escaped, retaining Tyre and Sidon and command of the sea. Lysimachus took large portions the Anatolia; Seleucus assumed control over Mesopotamia and Syria, except for a component in the south inhabited de facto by Ptolemy; and also Cassander to be content through Macedonia and parts that Greece.

Cassander, who was a statesman, had started two good cities, Cassandreia and Thessalonica, and also rebuilding Thebes. His death in 297 to be a prelude to much more disturbances. Demetrius conquered most of Greece and also secured Macedonia in 294, but he to be ousted in 288 through Lysimachus in alliance v King Pyrrhus of Epirus (319–272). Demetrius now concentrated all his pressures on winning Asia and all however succeeded. He fell ill, however, and also surrendered come Seleucus, who provided him every opportunity to drink himself to death. The stage was collection for a confrontation between Lysimachus and Seleucus.

Ptolemy got command the the sea by Demetrius’ fall. He passed away in his bed, the only one of Alexander’s followers to do so, and was succeeded peacefully by his child Ptolemy II Philadelphus (308–246). However, a son by his an initial wife, Ptolemy Ceraunus, the Thunderbolt (grandson that Antipater), was stirring the waters round Lysimachus, and the last soon shed support. Seleucus defeated and killed Lysimachus, and also Alexander’s empire, except for Egypt, seemed to it is in his for the asking. Lysimachus’s army, however, supported Ceraunus, that assassinated Seleucus in 281. Seleucus’s child by a Sogdian noblewoman succeeded him as Antiochus ns (324–261). In Greece appropriate the strongest powers were Antigonus Gonatas (c. 320–239), kid of the excellent Demetrius and also himself a guy of high character, ability, and culture, and also Pyrrhus, king the Epirus. Pyrrhus was about to embark top top his ill-starred expedition to Italy, wherein he soundly defeated the cultivation power of Rome yet at one enormous expense to himself.

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At this point, migrating Celts under the command that Bolgius and Brennus resulted in an included complication, not least by the defeat and also death of Ceraunus. Brennus pushed down into Greece but was repulsed by the Aetolians. The dangers posed by the invading Celts led, in 279, to a treaty between Antigonus and also Antiochus, who agreed no to interfere in one another’s spheres of influence. Each won a decisive success over the Celtic invaders, who eventually cleared up in Serbia, Thrace, and also Galatia in central Anatolia. Antigonus was able to secure Macedonia. Lysimachus’s kingdom was never revived. The 3 centres of strength were Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt.