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100 Interesting facts about the Hellenistic World

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Topic: 100 Interesting facts about the Hellenistic World
Posted By: Paul
Subject: 100 Interesting facts about the Hellenistic World
Date Posted: 21-Nov-2007 at 23:10
On this forum we have lots of post like 10 best and so on...... On another forum I'm on they do the non-comparative 100 interesting facts about. It works well. So I thought I'd see if it works on this forum.... I'll start.
 
1. The ancient Greeks excavated Dinasaurs and exibited their fossils on display in temples for the public to see.
 
2. There were three battles of Thermopolae not one. Each ended the same, with the defenders outflanked by the enemy using the same path.
 


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Replies:
Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 11:51
3) Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemies, was also the first to learn to speak Egyptian.

4) A Roman embassy raised Antiochus IV's siege of Alexandria by drawing a circle around him and telling him not to step out until he had decided to withdraw.

5) Cassander could not pass a statue of Alexander without shuddering from fear, so greatly had Alexander intimidated him while alive.

6) The Hellenistic period saw the introduction of war elephants into the west. Seleucus had the largest herd, supposedly numbering 500.

7) War elephants deployed by Pyrrhus in Italy were supposedly frightened away by a herd of pigs. A coin with a pig was minted in Rome to commemorate the event.

8) Poor Pyrrhus was killed campaigning in Argos after an old lady hit him in the head with a roof tile.

9) Alexander razed Thebes to the ground, but spared the home of the Boeotian poet Pindar.

10) Ptolemy II married his full sister Arsinoe, adopting the Egyptian practice of royal incest. Greek inhabitants of Alexandria were scandalized. He therefore acquired the name "Philadelphos"--sibling lover









Posted By: Cadmus
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 14:06
Pyyrhus did not die due to the roof tile , but was dazed when it hit his head , and subsequently a enemy soldier took advantage of Pyrrhus his state and killed him ...

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The Enchelians a forgotten Hellenic tribe


Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 20:23
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

 
1. The ancient Greeks excavated Dinasaurs and exibited their fossils on display in temples for the public to see.
 


Paul is this a joke or something i've never heard of? If it is true i have to say you've surprised me like noone has done lately. Shocked


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Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2007 at 20:30
11) Alexander the Great and Diogenes meet in Corinth. Alexander asks him if he can do any favour for him and Diogenes replied "Yes, please stand out from my sunlight". Alexander replied "If I was not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes".

12) Koine Greek, an extention of Attic, is being introduced as an official writting language.




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Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 23-Nov-2007 at 12:29
13: Khandahar Afghanistan is one of the many Alexandarias--the city's name itself is a botched pronunciation. Al Iskandaria in Iraq is another such Alexandria that has retained the name to this day.
 
14. The Roman name Atticus is first attested in 147 BC, evidence of growing Philhellenism in Rome.
 
15. The mummified body of Alexander the Great, in a massive glass and gold coffin, was intercepted by Ptolemy on its way back to Macedonia, and subsequently put on display in Alexandria. 
 
16. Diadochoi, as they assumed the diadem, began to self-consciously imitate Alexander's mannerisms, even cocking their head to the left, mimicing a trait that may have been caused in Alexander by a mild birth defect. As Alexander went clean shaven, his successors started shaving, even into old age, and the clean shaven face became a new fashion across the Mediterranean.
 
17: Sparta saw a dramatic revival of military power in the 3rd century under the reformer king Kleomenes. By redistributions of land he increased the number of eligable Sparatans (homioi), and revived (or more accurately re-invented) the institutions of the mess and agoge. With his new army he badly battered the Achean League, but was defeated when its general Aratus reluctantly sought the aid of Macedon, whose forces were decisive at the battle of Sallasia in 222 BC.
 
18. The price Aratus paid for the Macedonian alliance was the Arco-Corinth, one of the "fetters of Greece," which he turned over to a Macedonian garrison.
 
19. "Freedom for the Greeks" was a slogan used by all the Hellenistic kings, promising liberty (elutheria) to the Greek city states. When Rome defeated Phillip V in the 2nd Macedonian war, her general Flamininus, proceeded to preside over the Ishmian games, where, appropriating a long tradition of sloganeering, he dramatically promised "freedom for the Greeks."
 
 
 
 
 


Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 23-Nov-2007 at 17:25
Originally posted by dexippus dexippus wrote:

 
19. "Freedom for the Greeks" was a slogan used by all the Hellenistic kings, promising liberty (elutheria) to the Greek city states. When Rome defeated Phillip V in the 2nd Macedonian war, her general Flamininus, proceeded to preside over the Ishmian games, where, appropriating a long tradition of sloganeering, he dramatically promised "freedom for the Greeks." 


Dexippus was this reported by Diodorus or am I wrong?


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Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 23-Nov-2007 at 20:48
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:

Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

 
1. The ancient Greeks excavated Dinasaurs and exibited their fossils on display in temples for the public to see.
 


Paul is this a joke or something i've never heard of? If it is true i have to say you've surprised me like noone has done lately. Shocked
 
It was on a discovery channel show on dinasaurs, revealing the true  history of paleontology. Displacing the urban legend about people finding them and thinking they were dragons.


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Light blue touch paper and stand well back

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http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk - http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 12:55
20: The Hellenistic era saw grotesque art come into high fashion. Sculptural depictions of drunken, toothless women, hermaphrodites, masturbating hunchbacks and winged phalli are some of the unusual pieces of art that have survived from this era.

21: It was also an era in which genteel literature flourished. The Comedy of Manners was virtually invented by Menander, whose "New Comedy" replaced the politically charged raunchiness of Aristophenes. The Alexandrian poet Theocrites, meanwhile, developed forms of pastoral poetry that would heavily influence Virgil and Horace, and European writers for the next 2000 years.


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 13:03
23: One of the forms of Greek culture spread far and wide was the institution of the gymnasium, a place for the mental and physical education of young men--epheboi. The gymnasium was highly popular, but one aspect proved controversial: naked exercise, and the homoerotic atmosphere it created (although gymnasia strictly forbade pederasty). In Jerusalem, the opening of a gymnasium in the 170s lead to massive unrest, and contributed to the tensions that erupted into revolt in 168. In Rome, Scipio Africanus was heavily criticized when it was reported that he exercised in a Sicilian gymnasium wearing only a cloak.


Posted By: Petro Invictus
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 15:08
24.The Ancient Macedonians spoke a form of a pre-Slavic language! Take the Rosetta stone middle text for reference!
25. The Roman exodus of Macedonians north across the Danube caused the creation of the proto-Slavic tribes,who returned to the Balkans after the Hun invasion.



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...BRINGER OF THE DAWN...


Posted By: Petro Invictus
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 15:10
26. Koine Greek was not the langauge of the common people. It was rather the language of the elite, and the administration. An Esperanto of the ancient time. It was influenced by more than 40 languages (lexiacally and syntactically).

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...BRINGER OF THE DAWN...


Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 15:46
Originally posted by Petro Invictus Petro Invictus wrote:


25. The Roman exodus of Macedonians north across the Danube caused the creation of the proto-Slavic tribes,who returned to the Balkans after the Hun invasion.


LOL

Yeah I know the latest theory...The Slavs went to Siberia and then returned again to the balkans. Clap








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Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 15:50
Originally posted by Petro Invictus Petro Invictus wrote:

It was influenced by more than 40 languages (lexiacally and syntactically).


Oh really? Do you know how to read Koine and make that assumption? Why do I think it is simplyfied Attic? From the Ionian dialect to Koine the development seems to be very very natural. At least for people who read classical and archaic Greek.

Furthermore, why was Koine used in theatrical works that common people attended if as you say it was only for the elite? Why did the non native speakers make breathing mistakes in Koine writtings (e.g Syria) while Macedonians and the rest of the Hellenes didn't?

Petro, this is a history forum, not a pan-slavism gathering point.


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Posted By: Athanasios
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 22:02
Ok,let's continue from number 23 and so on...

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Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 24-Nov-2007 at 22:47

1- The Hellenistic world directly influenced the philosophy of Buddhist and some aspects of modern indian culture

2- the word "parchment" comes from english and italian corruptions for the word Pergamum - the capital of one of the smaller Diodochi states which was famed for it's huge library, friendliness to Rome and intellectual wealth
 
3- one of the ancient world's largest ever pieces of siege equipment was used by a Hellenistic general - Demetrius, son of Antigonus the one-eyed. The "Agepolis" was a vast construction which stood more than 10 stories high and could mount multiple siege weapons
 
4- Decendents of the priests of the Didymaion temple in Ionia live in Afghanistian


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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 00:35
"parchment" is not an English or Italian corruption of the word "Pergamum". At first, it was a derivation in Ancient Greek and Latin, a word meaning "of Pergamum" (Pergamon -> pergamenos/on/a, brought into Latin as pergamenus/um/a). From this one (possibly influenced by "Parthica pellis"  - Parthian skin - also known as "parche", "parge") eventually a term "parchemin" was developed which became today, in English, "parchement".
 
 
Some accounts from Plutarch lives must be taken cum grano salis. Plutarch is the one who mentions a single episode (by hearsay, as he confesses) with Cassander shuddering while seeing a statue of Alexander in Delphi. The death of Pyrrhus is told by Plutarch as Cadmus described it, however Pausanias writes that Pyrrhus died from that tile's blow. The latter account also brings also an obviously mythical dimension. The Argives said that Demeter, the goddess, it was actually the one who hit him and they had a sanctuary for her built in the place where that battle took place. 
 
 


Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 00:41
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

 
It was on a discovery channel show on dinasaurs, revealing the true  history of paleontology. Displacing the urban legend about people finding them and thinking they were dragons.


Damn, If i only knew where they found that account. It sounds surreal or even funny. LOL

In any case you gave me some homework. Smile


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Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 01:24
Quote Some accounts from Plutarch lives must be taken cum grano salis. Plutarch is the one who mentions a single episode (by hearsay, as he confesses) with Cassander shuddering while seeing a statue of Alexander in Delphi. The death of Pyrrhus is told by Plutarch as Cadmus described it, however Pausanias writes that Pyrrhus died from that tile's blow. The latter account also brings also an obviously mythical dimension. The Argives said that Demeter, the goddess, it was actually the one who hit him and they had a sanctuary for her built in the place where that battle took place. 
 
The legend would seem to agree with the Diodochi obsession with seemingly trying to impersonate the homeric hero and Alexander - Pyhrus would almost certainly have not actually have fought in the siege - that would have been foolish for so good a commander and thoughtful a man.


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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: calvo
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 12:31
According to a Osprey book about Greek hoplites, most of the surviving records regarding the military service system came from either Athens or from Xenophon.
 
It stated that conscripts underwent basic training in gymnasiums and then had to perform a year's garrison duty at the age of 17. Curiously, many younger conscripts were "adopted" by an older, more experienced hoplite to form a pair that contemporary sources named as "lovers".
 
However, the word "lover" should not be taken for the modern intepretation of the meaning; it could simply mean buddy-buddy. As a fact, Xenophon spoke about a ban on "sexual relationship between lovers".
 
This meant that "lovers" were not supposed to sleep with each other, but sexual relations must have been rather common for a ban to be made necessary.
 


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 13:22
27. The Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek for use by the Jewish population of Alexandria. According to legend, the translation (no doubt a controversial one for conservative Jews) was commissioned by the Pharoh for display in the Library of Alexandria. 70 rabbis (some say 72) were seperately cloistered, and then all seperately produced an identical, miraculous translation, which has been dubbed the "Septuigent."  The widespread use of the Septuigent suggests that Hebrew was waning amongst some populations of Hellenistic Jews, at least as a primary language.
 
 
 
 


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 13:42
28. The great bogey-man of the Hellenistic era was the Celt. In the instability of the wars of the successors, Celtic incursions from the north became common, and one great migration of Celts even settled permanently in Anatolia, giving their name to "Galatia." Starting with Attalus I, various kings of Pergamon proved their legitimacy by bashing the Celts around every now and then, and victories over the Celts inspired some of the most famous pieces of Hellenistic art: The Pergamonese Alter which celebrated the triumph of Eumenes II, and  the iconic "Dying Gaul."  When the Romans entered Anatolia in the 188, the Roman commander Vulso, acting in high Hellenistic fashion, proceeded on a Celt-bashing expedition of his own. The greatest ethnographer of the Celts was Posidonius of Apamea, who visited Southern Gaul in the 90s BC, producing an ethnography that influence the Celtic and German ethnographies of Caesar and Tacitus. 


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 21:10
...And interestingally enough, the area is still called Galatia to this day. Another interesting fact was that Antigonus the one-eyed used them as merecenaries in his vast armies against the three nations of Macedon, Selecuia and Ptolemaic Egypt

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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 22:06

The name of the Greek translation of the Pentateuch is "Septuagint" (in Latin "septuaginta" means "seventy"). The number 72 is justified as 6 elders from each tribe x 12 Hebrew tribes. Some testimonies are quite bizarre, Flavius Josephus gives the 6x12 calculation but he sums it into 70. I suspect some numerological reason behind it, rather than a blunt approximation. Quite probably a motivation for Septuagint was not only the use in Jews religious practice and education but also proselytism. (some of the sources do not say anything about Septuagint being translated for Jews, but for it was worth translating and that the king and his Greek scholars would appreciate such valueable wisdom).

The Celts were far from being "the great bogey-man" of the Hellenistic era, but certainly were a new and dangerous entry in the array of the traditional "barbarian" enemies of the Hellenistic world. Celts entered Anatolia actually as allies being commissioned by the Bythinian king Nikomedes.



Posted By: akritas
Date Posted: 25-Nov-2007 at 22:28
29. The establishment of the Library of Alexandria,the plans and place of which Alexander himself might have approved - completed later by the Ptolemies with the help of Demetrius of Phalerum - made it possible to study the Greek classical writers. Despite the great fire thousands of volumes were recued, later trnslated by the Arabs, disseminated through the Iberian peninsula and thence to the whole of Europe.

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Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 26-Nov-2007 at 00:10

Quite...if it wasn't for those ingenius and enlightened Arab dynasties such as the Abbasids and Ayyubids, we wouldn't have many of the classical texts which we have today.



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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 26-Nov-2007 at 15:08
30. The library of Alexandria, at its height, had roughly 500,000 volumes.
 
31. Curiously, one of our best sources of documents and lost texts from the Hellenistic era have been Hellenistic mummies. Mummy wrapping incorporated used book papyrus, and cracking into mummy wrappings has revealed many valuable fragments.
 
 


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 26-Nov-2007 at 16:08
Actually the size of the Alexandrian library is disputed. For instance, Roger Bagnall analysed the mythically large dimensions (in volumes/papyri contained) of this library (article: http://www.aps-pub.com/proceedings/1464/403.pdf - http://www.aps-pub.com/proceedings/1464/403.pdf  , review: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2007/2007-05-16.html - http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2007/2007-05-16.html  ) and proposed some common sense calculations for the actual size of the library - 30,000 in one estimate, 10-15,000 in another (which turn incredibly smaller than numbers like 400,000, 500,000, 700,000 repeated with no critical sense at all of the sources).
 
When I first read Paul's proposal for this thread I thought this was supposed to be unlike "top-of" or "best-of" threads. Instead of rushing for 100 and list stereotypes (like most "best-of" threads do), perhaps it would be wiser to step back a little and research (or eventually discuss here) a bit more on each entry.


Posted By: Justinian
Date Posted: 27-Nov-2007 at 03:23
Originally posted by Aster Thrax Eupator Aster Thrax Eupator wrote:

Quite...if it wasn't for those ingenius and enlightened Arab dynasties such as the Abbasids and Ayyubids, we wouldn't have many of the classical texts which we have today.

Don't forget the east roman refugees fleeing to Italy after the fall of Constantinople to the turks.Wink


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"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."--Thomas Mann



Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 27-Nov-2007 at 16:32
32. The son of Antigonus One-Eyed, Demetrius, earned the name "The Beseiger" (Poliorcetes) due to his loved of overwrought seige machines. Despite his moniker, his greatest seige, that of Rhodes, was an abject failure. The Rhodians, aided by Ptolemy, endured his titanic machines to remain an independent polis, whose well trained navy served as the coast guard of the Eastern Mediterranean. In honor of their benefactor, the Rhodians erected a statue of Ptolemy as a savior god.


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 27-Nov-2007 at 16:47

33. During a seige of Athens, the philosopher Epicurus rationed beans to his disciples to prevent them from starving to death. Epicurus taught that the purpose of life was to maximize pleasure and reduce pain, believing in gods that were distant and indifferent to human behavior. Despite this, Epicurus was no craven hedonist. He practiced sexual restraint and lived on a meager diet of bread and water. "Pleasure" for him consisted largely of the warmth of friendship and the joy of intellectual discourse. Despite this, future Epicurians would gain the reputation as voluptuaries.



Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 27-Nov-2007 at 17:04

The bean-sharing is another anecdotical (by hearsay) account from Plutarch. However, Plutarch says that Epicurus shared the beans with his disciples, which means he ate also beans, not only bread and water Smile

 


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 27-Nov-2007 at 22:10
34. The primary formation of Hellenistic warfare was the Macedonian Phylanx of Phillip II and Alexander, a mass of heavy infantry, armed with 14-20 foot pikes, moving in close formation, a nightmare bristle of iron. Liberally supported by cavalry, elephants and light troops, it dominated ancient warfare for over a century. However, the stunning victory of the looser, more flexible Roman legions at Cynocephalae and Pydna led the Seleucid empire to reform its army along Roman lines, most notably Antiochus IV, who re-armed several large contingents of his polyglot army in the Roman fashion. 
 
35. The Hellenistic world saw the widespread adoption of ruler worship amongst Greek populations. Alexander had been worshipped as a god by the Persians, although he joked to his Macedonians that it was blood, and not divine ichor, that flowed from his wounds. However, as communities increasingly found themselves utterly dependent on the successful flattery of warlords, the initiation of ruler worship became common as a way a indicating dependence on the benevolence of a particular diadoch. Thus Demetrius Poliorcetes was hailed a savior god in Athens, while Ptolemy was named the savior god of Rhodes. It is unclear whether anyone on either side of the worship actually believed these savior gods actually had divine powers, however, for example Demetrius went from Soter to persona non grata in Athens following the defeat of his father at Ipsus.
 
 


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 29-Nov-2007 at 01:05
For Hellenistic king's cult you should refer to Angelos Chaniotis' "The divinity of Hellenistic rulers" in Erskine's "A companion to the Hellenistic world". The author shows quite clearly it is not about divine powers but about certain expectations - Soter ("the savior") = protection, Epiphanes ("the one with the manifest power"), Kallinikos ("the winner of fair victories"). A joint inscription to Dionysos and king Attalos I is quite clear in that: "may both of you take care of the dedicator". Another inscription is dedicated "to gods, king, queen and their children" (thus the king is not among the gods, theoi). The author also says the attribute Theos ("the god") was attributed posthumously.


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2007 at 18:48
36. Alexander the Great, in one of history's greatest acts of vandalism, set fire to the palace complex at Persepolis follwing a night of carousing. However, this act may not have simply been the product of royal mischief. The burning of the temple occured during a looming Spartan revolt, with the real fear that Athens would join in. A coalition of the two most powerful city states would have caused a major crisis for Alexander's regent Antipater. By burning Perseplois, Alexander sent a message of friendship and solidarity to Athens, with what was presented as the just retaliation for the sack of Athens by Xerxes in 480. Alexander also returned statues and artwork that had been looted from Athens. This gesture had its effect: Athens did not revolt, and the Spartan uprising was handily surpressed.
 
 


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 01:23
Actually some scholars doubt Alexander ordered that fire. But isn't this thread about Hellenism factoids, that is after Alexander's death?


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 11:37
The "Hellenistic world" is of course the creation of 19th century German scholars, and as such has no definative start--naturally people didn't just wake up one day to discover they were Hellenistic, and not classical Greeks. For me, Hellenistic history should perhaps begin with the Battle of Chaironeia in 338 BC. With the hegemony of Macedon established, we have left the Greek world dominated politically and militarily by the Greek city-states, and entered a world where larger political entities, kingdoms, empires and leagues, will rule (although the polis itself continued as a thriving civic entity). It is true that many histories of the Hellenistic era begin upon Alexander's death, but the era of Alexander contained many of the themes that would echo throughout Hellenistic history: relations between empire and polis, Hellenization of non-Greek populations, royal and dynastic intrigues, city foundations and the opening of a wider world beyond the provincial collection of poleis huddled around the eastern Mediterranean.


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 13:53
Quote should perhaps begin with the Battle of Chaironeia in 338 BC
 
True, although the absolute legacy of Hellenistic politics begins after the battle of Ipsus, 301BC. That battle and connected wars set up the stage for the major political entities in the Hellenistic period. But  I see where you are coming from - the Hellenistic period is really defined by the principle of Universal Hellenism, which does ultimatley come with Alexander's conquest of the east.


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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Chilbudios
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 17:44

Dexippus, may I remind you the thread in this forum entitled "Hellenistic history - why viewed as obscure" where you together with several forumers contributed in a discussion about a relative lack of interest on Hellenistic rulers, from which Alexander is obviously an exception. This thread was an answer to that one.

However I'd understand much better Aster's point (301 BC marks the practical beginning of the Hellenistic states). The Hellenistic world is bound to these Hellenistic states and Alexander's empire hardly was, especially in its early years. Echoes you'll find everywhere, almost no process in history started overnight. But here we do not discuss such naive visions, but operative taxonomies. I have not encountered any book on Hellenism putting 338 BC as a start. I've encountered few starting their discussion with the reign of Alexander and some more starting with the death of Alexander. Let me give you examples from the latter category:

In Erskine's "Companion to the Hellenistic world":

Part I, Chapter 2 signed by David Braund is entitled "After Alexander: the Emergence of the Hellenistic World, 323-281". Let me quote a bit from it:
"These years show first the consequences of the great imperalist adventure in a a world which, from a Greek perspective at least had now expanded massively. [...] Moreover, it is in these years that monarchy re-emerges as the dominant form in Greek history, after a marked hiatus, with its roots both in Macedonian and local practices. The Hellenstic world which Alexander had instigated was to be a world with great cities - including his own foundations - but it was above all to be a world of kings. Perhaps most exciting and yet most elusive is the rich cultural mix that developed (and not without controversy) in the aftermath of Alexander."

The prestigious Cambridge Ancient History series compiled its volume on Hellenism (VII.1) starting with Alexander's death (however it traces Hellenistic kingdoms only to 217 BC, their last years being included in their volumes on Rome). The second chapter, "The succcession to Alexander" by Edouard Will starts with 323 BC. The chronological table which closes the volume starts again with 323 BC.


 



Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 18:23
This being a free country, Chilbudios can start your book on Hellenistic history in 323, Aster can start his in 301 and I, with tremendous panache and a modicum of academic daring, will start mine in 338. I think we all agree the Hellenistic world politically, culturally geographically a very different place from the classical world of the 5th and 4th century. The transition from a world dominated by poleis to a world dominated by empires begins with the rise of Macedon under Phillip II, is established geographically by the anabasis of Alexander III which ends in 323, and gelled with the death of Antigonus One Eyed in 301. Chilubios is correct in that 323 is the most common date for starting general histories of the Hellenistic world; Aster's date is a bit more controversial, as it ignores the wars of the successors that usually form the first chapters of such works. But again, the Hellenistic era is the creation of modern historians, who are free to define it according to their own needs.


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 18:42

That I appreciate, but that still doesn't change the fact that the key defining point of the Hellenistic era is the spread of world Hellenism - for this purpose, the Hellenistic period can only really be said to have begun when this begins to be fulfilled. In that respect, all of our three dates concide except for Choerona, because for decades afterwards, Greek culture was still only confined to the Medditeranian basin and not beyond. Although, Dexippus, your point does lie very much on the crossover point between this idea behind Hellenism. To disagree with it would be pedantic, because it was only a few decades later that the key principle of Hellenism began to be fulfilled. I think that all of our three dates are defensive and have a great deal of points behind them, but I might consider re-evalutating mine because of the many other successor wars that occured before the battle of Ipsus. Also, I've always wanted to write a book...



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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 22:53

It is unclear to me that there is a single "key defining point" of the Hellenistic world. I do believe you are correct that the spread of Greek culture and language is a major "theme" of the period--but it is not the only trend.

For me, several trends "define" the distinct period we refer to as the Hellenistic era, to include:
 
1) The displacement of a political and diplomatic system revolving around powerful city states (primarily Athens, Sparta and Thebes) by a system dominated by larger entities : the three large empires, a number of smaller kingdoms and the two major Federal Leagues. This trend starts with Phillip II crushing victory over the allied poleis at Chaironeia.
 
2) The intorduction of Hellenistic culture, to the Iranain plateau and beyond, coupled with the thorough Hellenization of regions that had long had contact with the Greek speaking world, such as Anatolia and Syria. This is defined by both the spread of Greek institutions like the polis, athletic competitions, temples and gymnasia but also by the spread of "koine" Greek throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
 
3) Engagement with the twin powers of the Western Mediterranean, Rome and Carthage, and the Greek reaction to the surprising advent of Roman domination.
 
4) Important intellectual developments, often prompted by the wider horizons created by the Alexandrian conquests. The birth and expansion of the philosophic schools of Stoicism, Epicurianism and Cynicism, and the flourishing of the Peripatetic school.
 
5) The dramatic state-sponsored scholarship, with its locus at Alexandria, but with plenty of scholars operating elsewhere (Athens, Rhodes and Pergamon in particular), which both preserves the achievements of the classical past, and in the process invents the genre of literary criticism and textual analysis. Coupled with this, the impressive art and monumental architecture funded by large state entities that could afford to funnel far more funds into public works than all but the richest of poleis. 


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 01-Dec-2007 at 23:51
37. Athens failed to support Aigis III of Sparta in his abortive revolt of 330, but with the death of Alexander, the Athenians, prompted by the great orator Demosthenes, now rose in rebellion, in what was dubbed the Lamian War. The Athenians ran into trouble, as despite having a free male citizen population of 50,000, classical Athens could only field roughly 5000 hoplites, men wealthy enough to arm and equip themselves. To open recruitment to the poorer classes, Athens began to issue out equipment for the first time, and minted chits featuring pictures of swords, spears and armor as a form a receipt. The Athenians managed to give Antipater a rough time, beseiging him in the town of Lamia, from which the war takes its name. However, the tide turned when the Macedonian lieutenant Craterus returned from the east with approximately 10,000 veterans, to crush the revolt and end the war. The result was a Macedonian garrison in the Pireaus, one of the "fetters of Greece."


Posted By: Sun Tzu
Date Posted: 03-Dec-2007 at 13:08

weren't there steam powered engines in the Hellenistic age?



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Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception - Sun Tzu


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 03-Dec-2007 at 14:00
There was an experimental engine, which was merely a globe on an axis with two exit points. It was filled with steam from an adjacent boiler and when it was full, it would spin on the axis. It hardly qualifies as a useful engine, though.
 
Moreover, to everyone here, I know what the fetters of Greece were, but where exactly were they?


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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 03-Dec-2007 at 14:22
38: The "fetters of Greece" varied depending on who one talked to, but traditionally they were the Arco-Corinth, Chalcis, Demetrias and the Pireaus--with the Pireaus not always making the list. The garrison at the Pireaus, Athens' primary port, was already evacuated by Macedonia when Rome ordered Phillip V to remove his garrisons from the remaining fetters at the conclusion of the 2nd Macedonian war. The garrison on the Arco-Corinth controlled the entire Isthmus and the entry into the Pelopennese, the garrison at Demetrias dominated central Greece, while the one at Chalcis policed Boeotia and Euboea.


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 03-Dec-2007 at 17:42
...What of Argos? That was given to Nabis of Sparta by Philip V near the conclusion of the war, but I suppose that it can't have been considered a fetter of Greece because the Macedonian threat from Philip V had dwindled away quite sharply at that point.

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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 06-Dec-2007 at 19:12
39. With the defeat of Athens in the Lamian war, the Athenian democracy was destroyed, and initially replaced by a pro-Macedonian oligarchy. After a bout of stasis between the supporters of Cassander and Polyphercon in which Cassander was ascendant, Cassander appointed a tyrant over Athens in the form of the philosopher Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle and Theophrastis, and an accomplished peripatetic philosopher in his own right. Demetrius was controversial in Athens for his imperious airs, his stern sumptuary legislation, and rumors of voluptuary habits in his private life. He was also pivitol in displacing private euergtism with state-sponsorship, most notably by terminating the private liturgies that had funded the famous dramatic festivals, and instead funding them with public monies.
 
In 307, another Demetrius, Poliorcetes, liberated Athens, and Demetrius of Phaleron was forced to flee to Alexandria. There he was instrumental in establishing the museion in Alexandria, from which the Library of Alexandria would develop. Demetrius of Phaleron fell out of favor with Ptolemy II, however, and died in exile.


Posted By: Vorian
Date Posted: 06-Dec-2007 at 20:20
40.  Two of the seven wonders of the ancient world were built during this period.

The Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 08-Dec-2007 at 16:23
41.  The Collosus of Rhodes was a statue to the sun god Helios, who was paid special cult on Rhodes. It was built to celebrate the breaking of Demetrius Poliorcetes' failed seige, and was funded in part by the sale of his abandoned seige machines.  


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 08-Dec-2007 at 16:40
42. Seleucus, in creating a vast empire for himself, relied heavily on the military services of his talented adult son, Antiochus. However, when father Seleucus married young daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes, Stratonike, son Antiochus promptly fell in love with his comely new stepmother. Seleucus, however, used this infatuation to cement his plans for dynastic succession, as he divorced Stratonike and married her to his son. This unorthodox marriage seems to have been motivated by real romantic feelings on the part of Antiochus and calm political calculation on the part of Seleucus. Its outcome highlights the bonds of trust and affection that made father and son such as successful empire-building team. 


Posted By: Sparten
Date Posted: 08-Dec-2007 at 17:36
42.In S Asia, the Greeks ruled an area approximatly equal to Pakistan. They were sworn enemies of the people across the Sutluj and often went to war. Not much has changed.
 
43. A lot of the Mauryan empire was Greek influenced. Ashoka for example was fluent in Greek and furthermore made many public announcements in it. It was the presence of these announcments of his pillars that allowed for the deciphering of the anicent language used by the Mauryans. Morever, Ashoka's mother was Greek.
 
44. The place where Alexander's horse died, is now the home of the Pakistani 6th Armoured Division which has him as its formation sign.
 
45. The Greeks in Pakistan made their capital at Taxila and the surrounding areas. Until the Mongols destroyed the area and it irrigation system in the 13th century it was the richest area in S Asia. In 1960 the Pakistan government selected this place to be Pakistan's new capital, and several old canals from that time were reused for the water supply. So in one very small way the Hellenistic world is still alive in Pakistan.


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The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".


Posted By: Vorian
Date Posted: 08-Dec-2007 at 22:40
Sparten do you know any site about the Indo-Greek kingdom?

I recently discovered that the eastern end of the Seleucid empire had a much more interesting story than the rebelion of natives and separation from the empire I imagined.


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 08-Dec-2007 at 22:42
Quote
45. The Greeks in Pakistan made their capital at Taxila and the surrounding areas. Until the Mongols destroyed the area and it irrigation system in the 13th century it was the richest area in S Asia. In 1960 the Pakistan government selected this place to be Pakistan's new capital, and several old canals from that time were reused for the water supply. So in one very small way the Hellenistic world is still alive in Pakistan.
 
Did Pakistan have any of it's own Diadochs (who were merely limited within modern-day Pakistan and perhaps a little bit outside?
 
Also, can someone please make a list of all the Diadochi states? 'Cause I'd like to study them in greater detail, but I would like a list if anyone could give me one.


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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Justinian
Date Posted: 09-Dec-2007 at 02:20
Some fascinating stuff guys.
 
Aster - how detailed of a list would you want?  I mean how do you define Diodoch?  Just the major ones or all those that succeeded in the remnants of alexanders empire?  Are you including Pontus or Armenia?
 
Edit:  Not to say I have a list sitting just waiting to be used, but I think I could come up with one thats fairly inclusive.


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"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."--Thomas Mann



Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 09-Dec-2007 at 02:57

For Diadochi, I would define:

A - a dynasty that was initially founded by one of Alexander's associates, this includes states like the Attalids of Pergamum, as their founder was himself a decendent of one of these family lines.
B - one which had a large enough Greek/Macedonian population and/or influence in the ruling caste
C - one which developed from the Hellenistic culture above the local culture and stuck to it rigidly (even the Ptolemies adhere to this rule...)



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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Sparten
Date Posted: 09-Dec-2007 at 07:35
Selecus ruled this area. He lost it to the Mauryans, it was regained by the Greeks a few generations later. The penetrated all the way to the Bengal at one point.

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The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".


Posted By: Vorian
Date Posted: 09-Dec-2007 at 13:07


Checked wiki for a quick review of it. King Menander seems like an interesting personality


Posted By: Aster Thrax Eupator
Date Posted: 09-Dec-2007 at 13:15
So there is only one Diadoch in this area of the world?

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"Don't raise your voice - we all know how lovely it is!"
Triano, in "Mosterella" by Plautus! Read it...now!


Posted By: Vorian
Date Posted: 09-Dec-2007 at 14:13
You could add the Bactrian kingdom as well. So two Diadochoi


Posted By: Sparten
Date Posted: 10-Dec-2007 at 11:28

Of the latter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucratides_I - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucratides_I


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The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 16-Dec-2007 at 10:42

45. Antiochus IV "Epiphenes" was a great aficionado of the gladatorial games, having spent time in Rome as a hostage following the Peace of Apamea. During his reign, he introduced gladatorial style combat into the Seleucid empire. While the bulk of cultural exchanges of the Hellenistic era involved the transfer of Greek culture to the west, the introduction of Roman/Italian style games east shows that the exchange could work in the other direction.



Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 29-Dec-2007 at 15:31
46. Of all the diadochoi, the one who cames the closest to reunifying Alexander's Empire was Seleucus I "Nicator. " He had begun his career as one of the most sad-sack of successors, cowering under Ptolemy's skirts in Egypt, without a kingdom or Army. Ptolemy lent him a small force that allowed him to secure a small fief around Babylon, in the shadow of the empire of Antigonus Monophthalmos. Shrewd campaigns and diplomacy in the East, during which he acquired a large heard of Indian elephants, expanded his empire, and he was subsequently a prime beneficiary of the division of spoils in the wake of Ipsus. In 281, he defeated Lysimachus,  and landed triumphantly in Europe, with visions of ruling an empire spaning from Macedonia to India. There he was promptly assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus (the Thunderbolt) the estranged son of his former benefactor, who proclaimed himself king of Macedonia, only to be in turn killed in the Celtic invasions in 279.
 
 
 


Posted By: dexippus
Date Posted: 01-Jan-2008 at 18:25
47. The heroes of the Celtic Invasion of 279 were a unlikely lot: the Aetolians, who had the reputation of being little more than pirates and brigands, but who provided the forces which saved Delphi from being sacked by the Celts. Consequently, the Aetolians assumed protection of the Delphic Oracle, helping to soldify their stature as a major player in Hellenistic politics.



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