In 337 B.C. Greek alliance declared war on Persian Empire, and Greek army began to cross Turkish Strait. But when Philip calmed down, he was accidentally stabbed to death. Alexander, who was only 20 years old, came to throne, he quickly suppressed uprising of states and proceeded to fulfill Philip's last wish. In 334 BC Alexander brought 30,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry to launch Eastern Expedition. After a 10-year expedition, Alexander destroyed Persian Empire and occupied vast regions of Asia, Africa and Europe from Indus River in east, Egypt in west and Amu Darya in north. In 324 BC Alexander settled in Babylon, which marked creation of Macedonian Empire.
After victory of Eastern Expedition, Alexander began to implement a large number of Orientalization policies in order to accelerate integration of Eastern and Western cultures. He considered himself successor of king of Egypt and emperor of Persia, and adopted opulent oriental court etiquette to play role of an oriental emperor. He married nobles of East, married daughter of nobles of Bactria and Darius, and ordered his generals to marry nobles of East. Alexander is said to have staged a large-scale wedding celebration in Susa, attended by over 10,000 people. To strengthen his control over great empire, Alexander inherited Persian provincial system and divided local administrative, financial and military powers. In religion, he followed a policy of tolerance and even used local religion to deify himself.
Aleksandrovsky city lighthouse
After settling in Babylon, Alexander was not satisfied with his achievements and planned to conquer Carthage and Rome, but died in his second year. The empire subsequently disintegrated and finally formed three Hellenistic kingdoms of Macedon, Ptolemy, and Seleucids. The Three Kingdoms continued Alexander's policy by adopting oriental despotism to govern vast territories.
Greeks are constantly absorbing achievements of Eastern civilization, and at same time they are also spreading Greek culture throughout Western Asia and North Africa. After Eastern campaign of Alexander, about 70 Hellenistic cities were founded in East, which became bases for spread of Greek civilization. The most famous of them is Alexandria in Egypt, which became cultural center of Hellenistic era. During this era, Greek became official language of Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe, and this was the peak of Greek cultural influence. Nevertheless, Eastern culture did not disappear due to Hellenization, it is an era of integration and pluralism, an era of narrow nationalism and broad cosmopolitanism.Second, turning point of Greek culture
Alexander was also a lover of culture, but his military achievements eclipsed his achievements in field of culture. Combined with his non-stop conquests, it is difficult to achieve his cultural achievements. However, he created a huge empire and removed obstacles to cultural exchange between East and West, which can be seen as a great contribution to Greek culture. As part of his expeditionary corps there were a large number of engineers, philosophers, scientists, astronomers and geographers who collected information along way, drew maps, communicated with local philosophers, which actually expanded horizons of Greeks and contributed to development of Greek culture. The turning point is well prepared.
The cultural center of Hellenistic era moved from Athens to east. The famous Ptolemaic dynasty is a country that advocates founding of a country by force, but is also artistic. They established a museum and library in Alexandria with a collection of 700,000 volumes. They generously paid cultural scientists and attracted noble people from all over Mediterranean to Alexandria. Having widely assimilated Eastern culture, they made a breakthrough in astronomy, geography, biology, physics, mathematics and history.
In literature, tragedy declined, and new dramas depicting upper-class nobles achieved great success with Mylanda and Philemon as representatives. In terms of architecture, oriental architectural techniques and magnificent architectural styles were widely adopted by Greeks. They built magnificent buildings such as Colossus of Sun God, Laocoön Group, Temple of Artemis and Lighthouse of Alexandria. In terms of history, historians have paid attention to long history of East, and types and topics of known history have increased rapidly, such as "Memoirs", "History of Egypt", "History of Babylon" and so on.
The most glorious thing in this era is science. Having absorbed advanced science of East, Greeks produced an extensive synthesis of various fields and pushed science to top of classical civilization. The most brilliant phenomenon in this era was astronomy. The famous Aristarchus and Hippakos both referred to astronomical data of ancient Babylon and created a new era of astronomy. With development of science, geographers were able to draw a larger "map of world" and have a deeper understanding of earth; physicists combined Eastern technologies and made breakthroughs in mechanics; mathematicians combined Greek deduction Combining achievements of mathematics and eastern mathematics, comprehensive mathematical works were written; in field of biology - study of people about animals and plants entered a systematic stage, and Ptolemaic dynasty allowed autopsy, which contributed to progress of medicine.
Scientific achievements of Hellenistic era
With decline of Greek city-states, philosophy of ancient Greece began to change. Marx said that "ancient Greek philosophy declined after Aristotle had reached its apogee". In Hellenistic era, humanistic and rationalistic philosophy of classical era began to fade. Faced with a huge empire, philosophers began to borrow latest scientific knowledge to give a reasonable explanation for new world system. Therefore, philosophy of Hellenistic era had features of ethics, focusing on real world, morality and social order. Stoicism and Epicureanism were representative schools of this period, and Stoicism became main thought of late Roman Empire. Thanks to absorption of Eastern religious culture, philosophy in Hellenistic era began to be mystified. The rise of skepticism and spread of Judaism to West laid ideological basis for emergence of Roman Christianity.
Three schools of philosophy in Hellenistic eraIII. Hellenistic Rome
Roman civilization and Greek civilization are inextricably linked. The Romans are said to have been a branch of Trojans and Etruscan culture has been heavily influenced by Greek culture since founding of Rome. During archaic and classical period, Greeks established many colonies on Italian peninsula, turning southern Italy into "Greater Greece". After founding of city of Rome, it continued to absorb Greek culture. The Latin alphabet was transplanted from Greece, and Roman religious figures were also imported from Greece. For example, Zeus in Rome was called Jupiter, Athena was called Minerva, and Aphrodite. The tips are known as Venus et al. In early days of Roman Republic, scholars were sent to Athens to study law, and on their return home they promulgated famous "Law of Twelve Bronze Tablets."
After stabilization of Roman Republic, it embarked on a path of expansion. In 272 BC territory of "Greater Greece" was annexed to Rome, and speed with which Greek culture was introduced into Rome accelerated. The Greek poet Andronicus of this period first translated Homeric epic into Latin and then adapted Greek drama, allowing Greek drama to spread in Rome. Later, Nivius and Aeneas continued to translate and adapt Greek dramas and create new dramas based on them, which contributed to rise of Roman culture.
In late period of Republic, Romans inherited ideas of main philosophical schools of Greece. The Romans were more user-oriented than Greeks, so they adapted Greek ideas to suit needs of Roman society. Rome abandoned disputes between schools of Greek philosophy, embraced eclecticism, unified different ideas, and accelerated integration of Greek culture. A typical figure is Cicero, who mixed thoughts of Stoicism, Platonism and Skepticism together to create a unique ideological system. Lucretius inherited atomistic theory of Democritus and Epicurus and advocated living according to principle of reason.
If they say that Hellenization in East is like a river flowing to east, powerfully advancing, then Hellenization in West is like a stream, silently moistening things. In short, throughout Hellenistic era, cultures of entire Mediterranean were in a state of mutual integration: center of east was Alexandria, and center of west was Rome, and these two cities echoed each other. With further expansion of Rome, a war broke out between Rome and Macedonian countries. Since beginning of Macedonian War in 215 BC. until fall of Seleucid dynasty to province of Syria in 64 BC. Rome basically unified Hellenistic world. The emergence of Rome faced same dilemma as Greece: in end, democratic republican system was abolished, and imperial system was established in Rome.
The unification of Rome marks end of Hellenistic era and a new chapter in Western civilization. In a sense, Rome was final final stage of Hellenistic era. Thoughts, arts and sciences of Roman era basically continued to develop in Hellenistic era, for example, Stoicism gradually became dominant trend, Jewish culture further merged with Greek culture, forming Christianity, philosophy continued to become religious. Rome combined Greek culture, Phoenician culture, Eastern culture and Jewish culture. The main components of modern Western civilization were mainly formed during Roman era.Conclusion
The Hellenistic era was end of development of Greek city-states and beginning of great Western empire. We can say that this is era of connecting past and future together. What he undertakes is Greek, Persian, Jewish and other cultures of classical era, and what is revealed is integration of era of great empires. In this process of development, Athenian democracy and Roman Republic were replaced by despotism of East, because they were out of step with times. How can a democratic republic be established in a large country? How can glory of a big country and freedom of a small country coexist? How to balance social responsibility and personal happiness? How can religious faith and pursuit of scientific rationality converge? They have turned into big problems that Western civilization has to constantly solve.