MAPS: 0500BC – 0200BC Middle East

Middle East 500BC – 200BC


The past few centuries[1] have seen the huge Persian empire conquered in a series of brilliant campaigns by the young Alexander the Great,[2] king of Macedonia, between 333 and 323 BC. These campaigns involved armies largely recruited from amongst the city-states of Greece.

Alexander’s empire failed to survive his early death, and his generals, together with some local princes, divided his conquests amongst themselves. These rulers and their descendants – the Ptolemies in Egypt,[3] the Seleucids in Syria,[4] Mesopotamia[5] and Iran,[6] and various dynasties in Asia Minor[7] –  have founded numerous Greek-style cities, which can now be found scattered across the Middle Eastern world as far as India, and from which the ruling classes of these kingdoms are drawn. In them, Greek cultural traditions mix with more ancient native elements to form a fascinating hybrid civilization which modern scholars label “Hellenistic”.[8] It is at this time that some of the most spectacular “Greek” artistic and intellectual achievements occur.


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