The world that Alexander remade in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death in 323 BCE. His successors reorganized Persian lands to create a new empire stretching from the eastern Mediterranean as far as present-day Afghanistan, while in Greece and Macedonia a fragile balance of power repeatedly dissolved into war. Then, from the late third century BCE to the end of the first, Rome’s military and diplomatic might successively dismantled these post-Alexandrian political structures, one by one.
During the Hellenistic period (c. 323–30 BCE), small polities struggled to retain the illusion of their identity and independence, in the face of violent antagonism among large states. With time, trade growth resumed and centers of intellectual and artistic achievement sprang up across a vast network, from Italy to Afghanistan and Russia to Ethiopia. But the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE brought this Hellenistic moment to a closeor so the story goes.
In Angelos Chaniotis’s view, however, the Hellenistic world continued to Hadrian’s death in 138 CE. Not only did Hellenistic social structures survive the coming of Rome, Chaniotis shows, but social, economic, and cultural trends that were set in motion between the deaths of Alexander and Cleopatra intensified during this extended period. Age of Conquests provides a compelling narrative of the main events that shaped ancient civilization during five crucial centuries. Many of these developmentsglobalization, the rise of megacities, technological progress, religious diversity, and rational governancehave parallels in our world today.
About the Author
Angelos Chaniotis is Professor of Ancient History and Classics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Table of Contents
List of Figures xxvi
1 How It All Began: From Macedonia to the Oecumene (356-323 BC) 10
2 The Successors: Adventurers and Architects of Kingdoms (323-275 BC) 31
3 'Old' Greece in the Short Third Century: Struggles for Survival, Freedom and Hegemony (279-217 BC) 56
4 The Ptolemaic Golden Age (283-217 BC) 74
5 Kings and Kingdoms 85
6 The City-state in a World of Federations and Empires 122
7 Entanglement: The Coming of Rome (221-188 BC) 148
8 The Greek States Become Roman Provinces (188-129 BC) 175
9 Decline and Fall of the Hellenistic Kingdoms in Asia and Egypt (188-80 BC) 193
10 A Battlefield of Foreign Ambitions (88-30 BC) 207
11 A Roman East: Local Histories and Their Global Context (30 BC-AD 138) 233
12 Emperors, Cities and Provinces from Augustus to Hadrian (30 BC-AD 138) 261
13 Socio-economic Conditions: From Greek Cities to an 'Ecumenical' Network 291
14 Social and Cultural Trends: Benefactors, Confrères, Ephebes, Athletes, Women and Slaves 317
15 From Civic Worship to Megatheism: Religions in a Cosmopolitan World 344
16 The Greeks and the Oecumene 386
References and Sources 401