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Macedonia, Alexander the Great, and the Hellenistic World
Free Printable Outline with Review Questions for History Students and Teachers - Scroll Down to Print (PDF)
 
 
I. Macedonia
a. Macedonians were culturally and ethnically related to the Greeks
i. Actually looked upon as sort of “barbarian cousins” by the Greeks of Athens, Sparta, etc.
b. King Philip II of Macedonia
i. Expanded his territory north to the Danube River and south into the Greek peninsula
ii. Conquered all city-states except Sparta by 338 BCE
iii. Killed while planning to attack Persia (336 BCE)

II. Alexander the Great

a. Tutored by the philosopher Aristotle
b. Precarious position because his mother was not Macedonian (making Alexander half Macedonian), and his father took a Macedonian as a new wife
c. Wanted to conquer Persia like his father
d. Wanted to spread Greek culture throughout the world
e. Philip was killed by companions of Alexander
f. Alexander came to the throne at age 20 (336 BCE)

III. Conquests of Alexander the Great
a. First put down local revolts, including destroying Thebes
b. Invasion of Persia and beyond
i. 35,000 troops
ii. Granicus (334 BCE)
iii. Issus (333 BCE)
iv. Arbela (331 BCE)
v. City-states along the Mediterranean Sea
1. Phoenician Tyre
vi. Egypt
1. Founded Alexandria
vii. India
1. Reached Indus River
viii. Set up capital in Babylon (located in modern-day Iraq) in 324 BCE
c. Died of a fever in 323 BCE at age 33

IV. Alexander’s empire
a. Fell apart after Alexander’s death
b. Generals fought for control of empire
c. Empire divided
i. Egypt – Ptolemy
ii. Most of Asian empire – Seleucus
iii. Macedonia and Greece – Antigonus
d. New dynasties ruled for hundreds of years until conquered by Rome

V. Alexander’s impact on world history
a. Spread Greek culture beyond the Greeks
i. “Pan-Hellenism”
ii. Founded numerous cities
iii. Married a daughter of Persia’s King Darius
1. Encouraged his soldiers to take Persian wives
iv. Worshiped foreign gods and goddesses
1. Recognized as foreign incarnations of Greek gods
v. Encouraged trade throughout his empire
vi. Settled Greeks throughout his empire
1. Greek culture became “Hellenistic” as it spread and mingled with other cultures

VI. Alexandria, Egypt
a. City in Egypt founded by, and named after, Alexander the Great
b. Ptolemy came to rule Egypt after Alexander’s death
c. Ptolemies built a university in Alexandria – “Library of Alexandria”
i. Included 700,000 volumes written on papyrus
ii. Center of research and scholarship

VII. Hellenistic science
a. Many practical, useful inventions
b. Euclid (lived circa 300 BCE)
i. Greek who lived and worked in Alexandria, Egypt
ii. “Father of geometry”
1. Theorems in plane geometry (“Euclidean geometry”)
c. Archimedes (circa 287-212 BCE)
i. Greek who lived and worked in Sicily
ii. Principle of specific gravity
iii. Law of floating bodies
iv. Used levers, pulleys, and screws to build things such as catapults
d. Eratosthenes (circa 276-195 BCE)
i. Greek born in modern-day Libya
ii. Geographer and librarian of Alexandria, Egypt
iii. Closely determined the earth’s diameter
iv. Measured earth’s distance from the sun with 99% accuracy
v. Used lines of longitude and latitude on a map
vi. Believed earth is round
1. One could sail to India by sailing west
e. Aristarchus of Samos (circa 310-230 BCE)
i. Heliocentric model – first to advocate that the earth revolves around the sun
f. Hipparchus (circa 190-120 BCE)
i. Invented plane and spherical trigonometry
ii. Predicted eclipses of the moon and sun

VIII. Hellenistic art and architecture
a. Architecture
i. Built many impressive public buildings
ii. Baths, libraries, palaces, theaters
iii. Pharos – lighthouse of Alexandria – 400 feet high
b. Art
i. More lifelike – showed more expression
ii. Action, grief, motion, pain
iii. The Death of Laocoon, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo

IX. Hellenistic philosophy
a. Cynics (Cynicism)
i. Diogenes (412-323 BCE)
ii. Hatred of power and worldly possessions
b. Stoics (Stoicism)
i. Zeno of Citium (334-262 BCE)
ii. Acceptance, courage, patience
iii. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE) was a Stoic philosopher (wrote Confessions)
iv. Stoic belief in human brotherhood influenced Christianity
c. Epicureans (Epicureanism)
i. Epicurus (341-270 BCE)
ii. No life after death
iii. Pleasure and pain measure what is good and bad
iv. Life is to be enjoyed, particularly by searching for knowledge

X. Hellenistic literature
a. Few Hellenistic works had enduring value
b. Preserved classical Greek heritage
i. Spread throughout Alexander’s former empire
ii. Particularly at Alexandria, Egypt
iii. Middle East kept and preserved Greek heritage during the fall of Rome and Europe’s Dark Ages
1. Europeans rediscovered this Greek heritage during the Crusades

XI. Hellenistic culture in the Roman world
a. Greek cities of southern Italy piqued Roman interest in Greek culture
i. Many southern Italian, Sicilian, and other Mediterranean cities which came under Roman control had been founded by Greeks
b. Romans spread Greek culture throughout their own empire
i. Much Roman art generally copied Greek art

XII. Hellenistic civilization declines
a. Endured for approximately 300 years
b. Wealth and power in the hands of a few
c. Reliance on slavery
i. Free persons could not find work
ii. Slave labor cheaper (in the short-term) than investments in new inventions and technologies
iii. Slave revolts
d. Continuous warfare among city-states
e. Easy target for Roman conquest

XIII. Review questions
a. Under what circumstances did Alexander the Great come to the Macedonian throne?
b. Name at least three modern-day countries which were conquered by Alexander the Great.
c. What does the term Hellenistic mean?
d. Describe the work of a Hellenistic scientist or mathematician.
e. Describe a Hellenistic philosophy.
f. What caused the fall of Hellenistic society?
g. Imagine that you are a Babylonian living during the time of Alexander. How might you view Alexander’s conquests? Would you consider him “great”?
 
 

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