Philip, Alexander and the Hellenistic period - Research Paper Example

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This marked the onset of Greek’s influence across Asia and other city-states which he had conquered during his reign and which later were ruled by his closest generals…
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Philip, Alexander and the Hellenistic period
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Key words: Hellenistic period, Alexander the Great, Greek civilization, Middle East, Euclid’s geometry Philip, Alexander and the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period refers to the three centuries that followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. This marked the onset of Greek’s influence across Asia and other city-states which he had conquered during his reign and which later were ruled by his closest generals (Coffin et al. 123). This was because at the time of his death Alexander the Great did not have a son to succeed him and to ensure the stability of the entire empire. In addition, the generals who took over the empire did not have the necessary experience and power to sustain its cohesion, so afterwards it collapsed and split into three dynasties. Presently, numerous historians have associated Hellenistic period with the influence of Philip’s and Alexander’s regimes. This is because of their wisdom and exemplary leadership which they then exhibited, prompting the thriving of Hellenism and spreading of Greek’s influence to the Middle East. This period has also witnessed the emergence of creative art, literature, scientific breakthroughs and scholarly works by diverse philosophers.
Philip and his son Alexander the Great contributed immensely to the shaping of the Hellenistic period’s culture. This is especially through the leaders who came after them though they were incompetent (Coffin et al. 157). Initially, Philip, due to his wisdom and exemplary leadership strategies, has managed to sway Greeks to attack Persia, but he has not managed to accomplish this mission during his lifetime. Afterwards, his son Alexander the Great managed to achieve this mission by waging massive campaigns during which he not only conquered Persia but also annexed Greece, Near East and Egypt. In 323 B.C, Alexander’s unexpected death at the age of 33 created a power vacuum, which prompted his closest generals to take over the empire’s leadership. However, due to internal wrangles which developed among them coupled with their leadership incompetence, the empire collapsed and split into three dynasties: Egypt under the Ptolemy’s leadership, Seleucia ruled by Seleucus, and Macedon (Coffin et al. 178). These dynasties varied considerably in their leadership styles, but they still maintained Alexander’s ideals, which contributed immensely to the spread of Greek civilization in the Middle East.
Hellenistic period comprised two main features which differed from other civilizations. One of them was the large-scale aspect, which was contrary to the Polis’ period. The aspect entailed the deployment of large armies that consisted of 60,000-70,000 men instead of the old Greek’s militia usually consisting of about 10,000 people. Also, they utilized tamed elephants to unleash destruction. Therefore, they were able to overpower and trample their enemies during the wars (Coffin et al. 203). Besides, this period witnessed the emergence of the large-scale commerce due to people’s increased interactions with other dynasties. Second feature or aspect was the spread of Greek’s influence widely across the empire, which Alexander had annexed while still alive and extended to the Middle East. For example, the empire’s city-states dwellers mostly used Koine Greek language. Hellenistic period comprised numerous advancements which at present they are extremely essential (Coffin at al. 145). These included intellectual breakthroughs (in the fields of medicine, philosophy, and mathematics), art and scientific mechanical advancements. In addition, many of the current innovations and breakthroughs in diverse subjects – for example, Euclid’s geometry – have descended from Hellenistic period.
Besides being precursors of Hellenistic period, Alexander and Philip were responsible for its strong influence. This is because their reign entailed unification of diverse city-states, which later adopted Greek language as a mode of communication. Therefore, people were able to interact effectively while trading and performing other activities, which led to the rapid spread of Greek’s influence across the empire and to the Middle East. In addition, Hellenistic period was extremely essential as compared to other civilizations due to its remarkable accomplishments. These included wealth, art, scientific and intellectual (medicine, philosophy and mathematics) advancements which are essential in the present world, for example, the Euclid’s geometry presently taught in schools, apart from being used in diverse fields such as civil engineering for resolving of structural problems.
Work Cited
Coffin, Judith, et al. Western Civilizations: Their History & Their Culture. New York: W. W.
Norton & Company, 2011. Print. Read More
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