chapter  2
26 Pages

Alexander and his successors to 276 BC

The hellenistic period embodies a paradox: the extension of the culture and influence of Hellas (Greece) into the non-Greek-speaking world took place after the decline of major Greek states such as Athens, Sparta, and Thebes, and as a result of the rise of what some southern Greeks considered a nonGreek kingdom, Macedonia. (Greek culture had, of course, spread to new areas earlier through colonization, but Alexander’s conquests accelerated the process and gave it a new dynamic.) This chapter will first look back briefly to the condition of Greece before Alexander’s reign, and then at his conquests and their effects. Wars among Alexander’s successors led to the creation of new monarchies and dynasties. Two of Alexander’s commanders did not become founders of dynasties, but their careers are for that very reason revealing and worthy of study in their own right: Eumenes and Lysimachos. There follows consideration of the other non-Greek enemy to penetrate the Greek world in this period, the Gauls, and of the possible effects of Alexander’s campaigns and the wars of the Successors on the demography of Greece.