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THE CHANGING HELLENISTIC WORLD

Peter Stearns. World History Traditions and New Directions. Addison Wesley Publishing. 1990. READ TO FIND OUT what the term Hellenization means. how Alexander stimulated cultural diffusion. -how Alexander's empire was split up after his death. what form of government arose in most of the Hellenistic world. how economic growth occurred during Hellenistic times. The political changes brought about by Alexander's conquests led to an economic and cultural transformation of the world known to the Greeks. Although many old ways of life remained unchanged, a great exchange of ideas took place among the various peoples in Alexander's empire. The blend of Greek ideas with those of other groups brought about a new culture in a large part of the ancient world during the Hellenistic Age. A BLENDING OF CULTURES A major result of Alexander's conquests and policies was a remarkable blending of Persian and Greek cultures. This sharing of ideas and traditions took place on a much larger scale and in a shorter time period than ever before. Scholars have called the process of spreading Greek influence Hellenization. Similarly, Greek culture was influenced by the cultures of the East-Egypt, Persia, and India. Both of these processes are examples of cultural diffusion, or the exchange of ideas and ways of life between, peoples of different regions. To spread Greek influence, Alexander encouraged Greeks to settle in all parts of the empire. He established 70 new cities, many of which were named Alexandria or a variation of it. These' cities had Greek constitutions and were settled by Greeks and Macedonians who followed the route of Alexander's conquests. Later on, these settlers married members of the local population and combined aspects of their different ways of life. Hellenization reached as far as India, where Greek sculpture styles influenced Indian art. To help bring Persian culture to Greece and Macedonia, Alexander arranged the marriage of thousands of his men to Persian women at Susa. In a separate ceremony, eighty of his officers married the daughters of Persian nobles. He himself married the daughter of the dead Persian king Darius. Alexander also brought Persian soldiers into his army, wore Persian clothes, and followed many Persian customs. His officers, friends, and soldiers, however, were often disturbed to see him become so much like a Persian. Yet, Alexander was setting an important example for later rulers. ALEXANDER AS RULER In 324 B.C.E., when Alexander returned from India to the Persian royal city of Persepolis, he found his empire in disorder. He put down the revolts being staged in some cities and punished officials who had abused their power by stealing money and overtaxing the people. His plan for ruling his large empire included a policy of maintaining local forms of government. He let the Greeks continue to rule through city-states. In Egypt, he ruled as a godlike king as the pharaohs had done. In Persia, he ruled through the control of the local governors, or satraps. Rather than devoting his time to the business of ruling the empire, however, Alexander busied himself with planning new explorations. On one expedition, which began only months after his return, his troops openly rebelled and demanded to be sent home. Alexander responded by executing the leaders and promising to let the veterans who had fought with him the longest return to Macedonia. Alexander returned to Babylon in the spring of 323 B.C.E. There he organized an expedition to explore Arabia. Only a few days before he planned to leave, however, he caught a fever. Ten days later he could neither move nor speak. With no hope for his recovery, Alexander's soldiers filed through their leader's tent to say goodbye. The next day, just before his thirty-third birthday, Alexander died. DIVIDING THE EMPIRE After his death in 323 B.C.E., Alexander's generals fought among themselves for power. Eventually, after more than 20 years of conflict, the 3 rival generals divided the empire. Seleucus (suh-LOO-kuhs) gained control of the huge provinces once making up the Persian Empire. He began what is called the Seleucid Dynasty. He and his descendants built many new cities, including the capital at Antioch in present day Syria. Ptolemy I (TAH-luh-mee) became ruler of Egypt, where he was considered a pharaoh. He established a great dynasty called the Ptolemaic, based in Alexandria. The last ruler of this dynasty was Cleopatra. When Cleopatra died in 30 B.C.E., the Ptolemaic Dynasty ended. Antigonus I (an-TIHG-uh-nuhs) received the home territory of Greece and Macedonia, with its capital at Pella. He ruled Greece for a few years. Then most of the Greek city-states won their independence. The successors of Antigonus ruled Macedonia and inf1uenced Greek politics until the 100s B.C.E. In these new kingdoms, the democratic tradition of the Greek polis had little or no influence. Instead, the rulers governed with

complete power over all their subjects, as the former kings and rulers had done in Persia and Egypt. The survival and spread of this form of government was one of the important ways in which Asia int1uenced the entire Hellenistic world. In Egypt, the Ptolemaic rulers governed with the most complete authority over their subjects. They owned most of the land, controlled commerce, and taxed heavily. Seeing themselves as supreme rulers, the last Ptolemaic monarchs even began signing their names with Theos, the Greek word for "god." During the Hellenistic Age, which lasted until the last century B.C.E., these kingdoms ,remained the most important political and military powers, in the Hellenistic' world. Boundaries shifted, smaller states acquired their independence, and wars were fought, but much of the Hellenistic world remained relatively stable. This stability was in part a result of the firm control the rulers had over their people. ECONOMIC GROWTH DURING THE HELLENISTIC AGE Alexander's conquests led to expanded trade between the Mediterranean world and East Africa, Arabia, India, and central Asia. For the first time, merchants from the Mediterranean traded with China for silk and spices. From throughout the Hellenistic world came a variety of resources that spurred economic growth. New industries grew up to process the newly available raw materials. New markets were opened up for food and craft products. Many merchants grew rich. The enormous treasures of Persia captured by Alexander from such glittering cities as Persepolis were brought back to Macedonia and Greece. Once hoarded in palaces the gold and jewels were now used in trade and exchanged like money. The increased wealth in circulation sparked an increase in investments. Governments, which controlled much great wealth, promoted trade and industry. Large tracts of agricultural land came under control of the state. Roads, harbors, and canals were built. Coins began to be used, replacing barter as a form of exchange. Banks became common in centers of commerce. Although the Hellenistic Age was a period of prosperity, wealth was controlled by the rulers, the upper classes and the merchants. Many peasants and workers in the cities lived in poverty as the gap between rich and poor widened. Wages dropped and the cost of living rose. Unemployment soared in major cities. Slavery declined partly because paying a free worker became cheaper than buying, feeding and housing a slave. Cities grew faster in the Hellenistic Age than they ever had before. People flocked to the cities for entertainment and work as government and industry expanded. Antioch doubled its population twice in a century. The population of Alexandria swelled to perhaps one million. The economic center of the Hellenistic world shifted from Greece south and east to these two fast growing commercial centers. CULTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS READ TO FIND OUT what the terms Epicureanism, Stoicism, and individualism mean. what the important characteristics of Hellenistic philosophy were. how, Hellenistic achievements differed from those of Hellenic culture. how religious beliefs changed in the Hellenistic Age. what scientific developments occurred. Political practices in the Hellenistic world had shifted away from the Greek democratic ideal. Economically, cities outside of Greece had become the centers of commerce and manufacturing. In areas of creative and intellectual achievement, however, the Greek tradition was still strong. As a result of Hellenization, educated people throughout the Hellenistic world spoke Greek. Greek literature was taught in the schools, and styles of Greek architecture were used everywhere. In such a world of both Greek and non-Greek influences, philosophy, literature, art, and science developed differently than they had during Hellenic times. PHILOSOPHY Hellenic philosophers had concentrated on bringing order to the natural and human worlds. In contrast, most Hellenistic philosophers agreed that finding some way to get away from the evil and hardships of human life was most important. Two major philosophical beliefs emerged during this time. Epicurus (EHP-uh-KYOOR-uhs), a philosopher who lived in Athens around 300 B.C.E., founded the philosophy called Epicureanism (EHP-ih-KYOOR-ee-ulm-izm). The basic belief of Epicureanism was that pleasure was the highest good. The goal of life was to avoid tear and pain. Epicureans believed that physical pleasures should be satisfied in moderation, and that mental pleasure and peace of mind were most important. About the same time Epicurus Jived in Athens, a philosopher named Zeno (ZEE;-n5) founded a philosophy called Stoicism (STO-ih-sizm). Stoicism taught that human beings do not control what happens to them. Instead, fate, or destiny controls the outcome of events in each person's life. People are free only to accept their fate or rebel against it. However, they cannot change it.

Stoics believed that happiness is achieved by accepting one's fate without bitterness or complaint. It was also important to Stoics to be tolerant and forgiving of other people. Slavery and war, they believed, were evil. These philosophies had several important ideas in common. Both held that human problems could best be solved with reason instead of faith or belief in supernatural forces. This basic idea was inherited from the Hellenic philosophers. In addition, Stoicism and Epicureanism were both individualistic, which means they were concerned mainly with an individual's happiness, not the welfare or good of society. The individualism of these philosophies affected the art and literature of the time. THE ARTS AND LITERATURE Artists and writers had once been concerned with social issues such as politics, war, common hardships, and the deeds of heroes. Now their work often dealt with personal suffering and romance. Hellenistic artists began to portray people and things realistically, or as they were thought to actually be. Hellenistic realism replaced earlier Hellenic idealism, or love of perfection. Painting and sculpture became more detailed and were more apt to show emotion and drama. Often even the unpleasant realities of everyday life were portrayed. Many art historians have pointed out that some of the works produced during this age tended to be exaggerated, grotesque, and overly sensational. Nevertheless, many great works, such as the famous statue of the winged goddess Victory, survive from this period. In literature, many new authors produced a rapidly growing amount of material. Among the many outstanding Hellenistic writers was Theocritus (thee-AHK-rih-tuhs), who wrote poetry about rural life and country landscapes. Menander, who wrote comedies, was among the greatest writers of the time. His plays were very different from the plays of Aristophanes. Instead of satires critical of political figures, Menander wrote comedies that realistically portrayed romance, marriage, and other everyday experiences. Later poets and writers imitated the works of Menander and Theocritus. GREEK THEATER 'The perfect day for theater'" exclaims a man dressed in a noble's robes, as he places his cushion on a stone seat already warm from the morning sun. Hundreds of people have already claimed the best seats in the huge outdoor theater of Dionysus, which stands below the Acropolis. For days Athenians rich and poor have been chattering excitedly about Menander's new comedy. It is one of five plays to be presented on this festival day. More people file in, slowly filling the 14,000 seat stadium. They sit in circular rows set on the slopes of a bowl-shaped valley, looking down to a circular acting area called the orchestra. Behind the orchestra is a long building where the actors change costumes. The side of the building facing the audience is painted as background scenery for the plays. As the comedy begins, the theater goers cheer their favorites, hiss the actors who perform poorly, sip on beverages, and nibble on fruit and nuts. At the end of the day, the best actors and the best playwrights win prizes. Greek drama gave birth to the theater as it is known today. At first, the performers only sang and danced to musical accompaniment. They were called the chorus. Then Thespis, a chorus director, had the idea of giving himself spoken lines, a very startling Innovation to the Greeks. From Thespis comes thespian, another word for actor often used today. Over time, actors who played speaking parts became more important in the performance, while the chorus became less important. By Menander's time, the chorus sang only during the parts of the play when actors left the stage to change costumes. Only males appeared in Greek plays, taking the roles of both men and women. All actors wore masks, and these were often beautifully carved and painted to represent male and female deities. The mask might wear a scowl or a smile, depending on what character the actor was portraying. Because masks covered their faces, the actors had to be very skilled in the use of hand and arm gestures to convey the play's meaning. They also had to be sure to project their voices. The masks had brass mouthpieces that helped them do this. In the stadium theaters, however, the acoustics were so good that even the people sitting in the uppermost row are said to have been able to hear a performer's quiet sigh. Out of the hundreds of plays that Greeks wrote and performed throughout the Hellenistic Age, only a few have survived. Those that have been passed down, however, have been translated into most modern languages. These plays continue to rank among the world's best literary achievements. RELIGION Religious belief also changed during the Hellenistic Age. Many people began to give up their belief in the polytheism of the Creeks. Some people adopted one of the new philosophies as a sort of religion, using it as a source of guidelines for correct and moral behavior. Others began to practice religions, such as Zoroastrianism, that had come from Asia or the Middle East. The Egyptian mother-goddess, Isis, became the center of a rapidly growing religion at this time. People began turning away from Greek polytheism for many reasons. One important reason was that they sought a more complete system of beliefs about right and wrong; than the very humanlike Greek deities could offer. They also searched for comfort in a belief in life after death. SCIENCE

In the Hellenic Age, philosophy and science had been closely related. Both had been ways of finding order in the natural world. Many leading thinkers, such as Aristotle, were both philosophers and scientists. In the Hellenistic Age, however, philosophy and science parted ways. Philosophy concerned itself with persona1 happiness, while science became more practical and technical. Building on past knowledge, Hellenistic scientists made discoveries that caused later scholars to call this period the "first great age of science." Indirectly, Alexander the Great was responsible for much of the growth of science during this time. He had always had a love for science, acquired while being tutored by Aristotle. Because of this interest, Alexander made sure that botanists, historians, geographers, and surveyors accompanied him on his military exploits, which he considered scientific explorations as well. He ordered that scientific observations and objects of interest be reported to his former teacher, Aristotle. Alexander's interest in science set an example for later rulers. After Alexander, scientific and intellectual pursuits were encouraged by other Hellenistic kings, who used some of their vast wealth to support scientists and libraries. The best examples of this effort were the libraries at Alexandria, Egypt and Pergamum in Asia Minor. The library at Alexandria, begun by Alexanders General Ptolemy, contained perhaps 750,000 papyrus scrolls and became one of the major centers of Hellenistic learning. In the Hellenistic Age, people also became more interested in new engineering and technology. They wanted to produce goods and foods more efficiently in order to increase wealth. Blending Greek culture with Egyptian and Persian science contributed to Hellenistic achievements in science and technology. ASTRONOMY The first person to understand the enormous size of the universe was an astronomer named Aristarchus (AR-ist-TARH-kuhs), who was born on the Aegean island of Samos. His most notable theory rejected the acceptance theory and instead stated that the earth revolved around the sun. This theory was not generally accepted until nearly 2,000 years later. Eratosthenes (EHR-uhTAHS-thuh-NEEZ), another astronomer, was the first to believe that the earth was spherical, not flat. He made an amazingly accurate estimate of the earth's circumference, with an error of only 1 percent. He also produced the most accurate world map made up to that time and suggested that a ship could reach India by sailing west. MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS Euclid (YOO-klid), who taught in Alexandria during the rule of Ptolemy I, is the most famous of Hellenistic mathematicians. Although he made few original discoveries, his book Elements of Geometry pulled together existing ideas. It remained the basis of geometry for nearly 2,000 years after his death. Hipparchus (hih-PAHR-kuhs), another mathematician who worked in Alexandria, made many discoveries about trigonometry. Perhaps the most famous of Hellenistic scientists was Archimedes (AR-kuh-MEE-deez), who was born about 287 B.C.E. in Syracuse, a former Greek colony on the island of Sicily. Exploring the principles of the lever, pulley, and screw, he invented a tubular screw for pumping water, lifting devices using more than one pulley, and the screw propeller for ships. Once, using a system of levers and pulleys, Archimedes single-handedly pulled a loaded ship from water onto land. He supposedly once said, "Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand on, and I will move the world." Although Archimedes was famous in his time for his inventions, he considered his theoretical works in mathematics and astronomy to be more important. One of the first scientists to base his ideas on experimentation, Archimedes made discoveries about the laws of physics and the principles of mathematics that still remain valid today. MEDICINE Herophilus (heh-RAHF-ih-luhs), who did his research in Alexandria in the 200s B.C.E., was probably the first physician to practice human dissection. Through this process he made discoveries about the blood, arteries, heart, and brain. His best-known successor was Erasistratus (AIR-a-SIHS-tra-tuhs), a Greek who also lived in Alexandria. Erasistratus established physiology, the study of the life processes and functions of living things, as a separate science. He discovered the valves of the heart, found two different kinds of nerves, and fought the common practice of bleeding people in order to heal them. HISTORY IN FOCUS (A REVIEW) Alexander the Great's dream of uniting the known world under one rule and one culture was never realized. His attempt to do so, however, changed a large part of the world. Because of the expansion of trade and the exchange of ideas through cultural diffusion, many people in the eastern Mediterranean could, for the first time, experience a world larger than their own city-state. With its economic growth and blending of cultures, Hellenistic civilization hinted at what would develop nearly 2,000 years later. Businesses grew, cities swelled, slums developed, and the divisions between rich and poor widened. Interest grew in technological development, material wealth, individualism, and realistic art. These trends and developments molded the civilizations that followed. In the Mediterranean region, Hellenistic civilization carried on the achievements of Hellenic civilization and brought elements of Middle Eastern culture to the West. It also provided the environment in which a new and even more influential civilization arose and grew to power. That civilization was Rome.

Athens Citizen=male, 18 years old, born of citizen parents Laws proposed and voted on directly be assembly of all citizens Leaders chosen by lottery Executive branch composed of council of 50 men Juries varied in size No attorneys, no appeals, trials last one day

Athenian and United States Democracy Both Political power in the hands of citizens

United States Citizen=born in U.S. or complete citizenship process Representatives elected to propose and vote on laws President elected Executive branch made up of elected and appointed officials Juries composed of 6 or 12 jurors Defendants and plaintiffs have attorneys; long appeals process

Three branches of Government Legislative branch passes laws Executive branch carries out laws Judicial branch carries out trials with paid jurors

Roman and United States Republics Rome Executive Two consuls, elected by the assembly for one year, they are chief executive of the government and commander-in-chief of the army

United States A president, elected by the people for four years, they are chief executive of the government and commander-in-chief of the army

Legislative

Senate of 300 members, chosen from aristocracy for life, controls foreign and financial policies, advises consuls

Senate of 100 members, elected by the people for 6-year terms, make laws, advises president on foreign policy House of Representatives of 435 members, elected byt the people for two years, make laws, originates revenue bills

Centuriate Assembly, all citizen-soldiers are members for life, select consuls and make laws

Tribal Assembly, citizens grouped according to where they live and are members for life, elected tribunes and make laws Judicial Preators, eight judges chosen for one year by Centuriate Assembly, they oversee civil and criminal courts Twelve Tables, a list of rules that were the basis of Roman legal system Supreme Court, nine judges appointed for life by the president, hears civil and criminal appeals cases U.S. Constitution is the basis of law in the U.S.

Legal Code

Citizenship

All adult male landowners

All native-born or naturalized persons

THE CHANGING HELLENISTIC WORLD questions: 1. What is Hellenization? Give three specific Examples.

2. What was Alexanders plan for ruling his large empire?

3. EXPLAIN what happened to the empire after Alexanders death.

4. What happened to democracy?

5. Describe how the economy prospered during the Hellenistic Age.

6. How was Hellenistic philosophy different than Hellenic?

7. How did Hellenistic art and literature change from the previous era?

8. What is Zoroastrianism?

9. In what four areas of science did Hellenistic scientists make notable contributions? Who are the most famous scientists in those areas?

(Graded Discussion will cover more than just these questions, read thoroughly.)