The Hellenistic Kingdoms

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Hellenistic Kingdoms

The Hellenistic period is said to extend from the reign of Alexander the Great to the throne of Macedon in 336 B.C. to the death of Cleopatra VII of Egypt in 30 B.C. Its beginning is marked by Alexander's successful invasion of the Persian Empire and its end by the division of the Middle East between Rome and the new Iranian-ruled kingdom of Parthia. For much of the intervening three hundred years the territory of the former Persian Empire was dominated by a series of Macedonian-ruled kingdoms in which Greeks and Greek culture enjoyed extraordinary domination. Art and literature flourished, the foundations of Western literary scholarship were laid, and Greek scientists formulated ideas of theories that would remain fundamental to work in a variety of fields until the Renaissance. Due to the unexpected death of Alexander the Great, the generals that were once under his rule divided up Greece into three separate Hellenistic Kingdoms in 323 BC. Egypt and parts of the Middle East came under the rule of Ptolemy; Seleucus controlled Syria and the remnants of the Persian Empire, while Macedonia, Thrace, and parts of northern Asia Minor came under the ruling of Antigonus and his son Demetrius. Ptolemaic Egypt was a vast and area of the Hellenistic Kingdom but ruler Ptolemy saw the potential and invulnerability of this land. The dynasty he established thrived for more than 300 years. Ptolemaic Egypt was one of the more durable kingdoms during the Hellenistic period. The dynasty used the wealth of the countryside to push science and the arts. Greek researchers were permitted to perform autopsies on criminals which led to many medical advances because they were able to see inside the human body and how it functioned. This also made it possible for anatomy to emerge as a scientific field of its own. Unlike Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid dynasty struggled with the problem of secession throughout its history. Seleucus ceded much...
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