Greek thesaurus


The Hellenistic Period
• The Hellenistic age
• Hellenistic kingdoms
• Political History and Institutions
• Significant Economic and Social Developments
• Hellenistic Culture: Philosophy, Literature and Art
• The First great Age of Science
• Religion in the Hellenistic Age
• A Foretaste of Modernity?
Photo Gallery
• Marble Sculpture statues
• Bronze Art statues
• Hellenistic jewellry



Stay in Athens, Visit Parthenon with

Archaeological Areas
• The Acropolis of Athens
• Ancient Olympia the sanctuary
• The Archaeological area of Eleusis
• The Archaeological area of Delphi
Social life and activities in ancient Greece
• The Olympic Games
• The Eleusinian Mysteries
Historical periods and civilizations
• Neolithic Period
• Cycladic civilization
• Minoan civilization
• Mycenaean civilization
• Geometric period
• Classical period
• Hellenistic period
• Roman period
• Byzantine period
• Ancient Greek jewelry blog


Free map of ancient Greek theaters download it now!!!

Home | Museums | Theaters | Temples | Thesaurus | Links | Contact | sitemap
                                                     Political History and Institutions
Antiochia mosaic

When Alexander died in 323 B.C., he left no legitimate heir to succeed him. His nearest male relative was a feeble-minded half-brother. Tradition relates that when his friends requested him on his death­bed to designate a successor, he replied vaguely, "To the best man." After his death his highest ranking generals proceeded to divide the empire among them. Some of the younger commanders contested this arrangement, and a series of wars followed which culminated in the decisive battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. The result of this battle was a new division among the victors. Seleucus took possession of Persia, Mesopotamia, and Syria; Lysimachus assumed control over Asia Minor and Thrace; Cassander established himself in Macedonia; and Ptolemy added Phoenicia and Palestine to his original domain of Egypt. Twenty years later these four states were reduced to three when Seleucus defeated and killed Lysimachus in battle and appropriated his kingdom. In the meantime most of the Greek states had revolted against the attempts of the Macedonian king to extend his power over them. By banding together in defensive leagues several of them succeeded in maintaining their independence for nearly a century. Finally, between 146 and 30 B.C. nearly all of the Hellenistic territory passed under Roman rule. The dominant form of government in the Hellenistic Age was the despotism of kings who represented themselves as at least


semi-divine.  Alexander himself was hailed as divine in Egypt. His most powerful successors, the Seleucid kings in Western Asia and the Ptolemies in Egypt, made more systematic attempts to deify them­selves. A Seleucid monarch, Antiochus IV, adopted the title "Epiphanes" or "God Manifest." The later members of the dynasty of the Ptolemies signed their decrees "Theos" (God) and revived the practice of sister marriage which had been followed by the Pharaohs as a means of preserving the divine blood of the royal family from contamination. Only in the kingdom of Macedonia was despotism tempered by a modicum of respect for the liberties of the citizens.

Two other political institutions developed as by-products of Hellenistic civilization: the Achaean and Aetolian Leagues. We have already seen that most of the Greek states rebelled against Macedonian rule following the division of Alexander's empire. The better to preserve their independence, several of these states formed alli­ances among themselves, which were gradually expanded to become confederate leagues. The states of the Peloponnesus, with the exception of Sparta and Elis, were united in the Achaean League, while the Aetolian federation included nearly all of central Greece with the exception of Athens. The organization of these leagues was essentially the same in both cases. Each had a federal council composed of representatives of the member cities with power to enact laws on subjects of general concern. An assembly which all of the citizens in the federated states could attend decided questions of war and peace and elected officials. Executive and military authority was vested in the hands of a general, elected for one year and eligible for re-election only in alternate years. Although these leagues are frequently described as federal states, they were scarcely more than confederacies. The central authority, like the government of the American States under the Articles of Confederation, was dependent upon the local governments for contributions of revenue and troops. Furthermore, the powers delegated to the central government were limited primarily to matters of war and peace, coinage, and weights and measures. The chief significance of these Leagues is to be found in the fact that they embodied the principle of representative government and constituted the nearest approach ever made in Greece to voluntary national union.

Bookmark and Share     





Click here to join Olympic-games
Click to join Olympic-games