chapter  3
14 Pages


At the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Philip II of Macedonia defeated a coalition of Greek states, and established control over the peninsula. He was succeeded in 336 BC by his son Alexander, soon to be known as Alexander the Great, who embarked on a military campaign and, in the space of a few years (he died in 323), brought down the already shaky Persian Empire and appropriated its immense former domains, stretching as far as Northern India, and including Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt. What in Alexander’s intentions, had he lived long enough, would probably have been a unified mega-empire was eventually divided up among his successors, most of whom had been officers in his army. The members of the new ruling elite (the monarchs, their families, their associates) were prevalently Greek or Greekspeaking and promoted the settlement of Greeks on their newly-acquired territories – hence the term Hellenistic kingdoms for their states, and of Hellenistic age for the period in which they flourished, roughly third to second century BC, when Rome gradually established predominance in the Mediterranean basin.