Period 5 Hellenistic EmpireAlexander the Great - Dont Hate!
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Background info

In 334 B.C.E, Alexander the Great, A Macedonian king, started many huge, military campaigns. In ten years, Egypt, Persia, Bactria, and parts of India were taken over, expanding his empire. Although he was young, he was an amazing strategist who won many battles. He was clever and good at confusing his opponents in battles. His excellent military skills helped him grow his empire. Politics and peace making were the hardest elements for Alexander to maintain his empire.

Government

  • Alexander the Great was the king of the Hellenistic Empire
  • He made most of the laws with his trusted companions
  • In some colonies little local leaders were elected
  • He took some ideas from Persia
  • The military enforced all the laws

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Religion
  • Religious practices involved the worship of heroes.
  • Heroes could be mythical creatures or historical people such as the founder of a city.
  • The religion had a goal of personal improvement, which would also lead into the afterlife.
  • Many worshiped the same gods with the same sacrifices, dedications as in the classical Greek period.
  • Magic was a central part of the religion.
  • There was a lot of superstition, mysticism, and astrology in their religion.
  • There were additions to the religion from other countries- Greek religion, Egyptian gods and goddesses of Isis and Serapis,and Syrian gods of Atargatis and of Hadad.
  • Some thought the era was one of religious decline, and a rise of agnosticism and atheism.
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Economy
  • There was a wide gap between the rich and the poor.
  • The economy was very agricultural.
  • The release of a huge amount of Persian gold and silver caused a sharp rise in prices.
  • A large area of trade from the Indus to the Nile opened up because of the Alexandrian conquests.
  • A lot of land were owned by citizens who farmed with the help of slaves.
  • Slave labor made farming faster and more efficient, which meant that more food could be grown and distributed.
  • There started to be more trade and industry in their economy.

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Arts/Architecture
  • This time period is the time period when the most well Greek sculptures appeared.
  • Architecture was unique in this time period as things built usually were built to conform to the natural surroundings, not the other way around.
  • Many buildings on the acropolis show this, as they are built around the landscape.
  • Many of the more leisurely architectural works were created during this period, including things like theaters and parks.
  • The second temple of Apollo at Didyma began construction at this time, and construction continued until up to the second century AD. This temple is one of the largest ever constructed in the Mediterranean region. Very little of this temple survives today.

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    2nd Temple of Apollo
  • Sculptures at this were very beautiful, and admirable works, that could be admired from any perspective.
  • Some of these famous works are Laoco├Ân and his Sons, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Venus de Milo.
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Winged Victory of Samothrace
  • Very few paintings and the like survive today, historians have to go off of the influence the Hellenistic period had on other civilizations' artwork.
  • There are no art works that truly stand out other than sculptures, the paintings and the like are all just of events and things of that time period.


Technology
  • Since Alexander the Great was the main King during the Hellenistic Age, technology advancements were very limited in this time period. since most of Alexander's life was taken up by his endless military campaigning, he made a few military tactic improvements and most definitely improved upon the weapons at his disposal, but this is where his technological greatness ended, he made next to no other advancements.
  • Powerful siege engines were used to great effect during his conquest.phalanx.jpg
  • One advancement in military tactics (applying technologies) was the phalanx. The phalanx was a group of soldiers that formed a 16 by 16 square of spears and shields. This is just one example of the wise application of technology that allowed Alexander to be so successful.
  • Long sarissa spears were used in conjunction with the phalanx to create an unstoppable army.




Social Class Structures
Most Greeks in the Hellenistic empire usually became apart of the upper class, called the eranoi, and organized various social events, such as banquets and funerals. Participation in these events showed high social status. People who were not Greeks could gradually become members. This means it was possible for relationships and bonds between different population groups to start.

The middle class, the politeumata, were immigrants of small cities and villages that moved to the bigger cities. They had a big political role, and they also helped to keep the traditions, religions, and cultures from the nationalities that formed them. Most of the Jewish people from the empire were apart of this social class.

Natives from Syria and Mesopotamia became the lower class, or the thiasoi. They focused a lot on their religion. They were controlled by the king and worked for his royal officials. Some of them worked in the mines, but there is still one more class lower than them.

The lowest class of course are the slaves that were taken from won battles and from slave children born into slavery. Having slaves was a very recent trend in this time period. The number of slaves increased because of so much piracy in the Hellenistic empire. At first, slaves were very maltreated, but then special rules were made to protect the slaves. The rules were made so there would be less rebellions and better quality work produced by the slaves, for a longer time.


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