ch 5 sec 3x - Mineral Point School

Alexander’s Empire
Section 3
Setting the Scene
• Terms to Define domain 
• People to Meet Philip II, Demosthenes,
Alexander the Great, Zeno, Menander,
Eratosthenes, Euclid, Archimedes 
• Places to Locate Macedonia, Alexandria 
• In the early 400s B.C., the Persians under
Darius I and Xerxes tried but failed to
conquer the Greeks.
• Some 150 years later, the Macedonians
made a similar attempt–and succeeded.
Rise of Macedonia
• The Macedonians, like the Spartans, were
descended from the Dorians, and the Macedonian
language incorporated many Greek words.
• In 359 B.C. Philip II became
king of Macedonia and was
determined to do three things:
create a strong standing army,
unify the quarreling Greek citystates under Macedonian rule,
and destroy the Persian
Rise of Macedonia (cont.)
• In 336 B.C. Philip was murdered–either by a
Persian agent or by an assassin hired by his first
wife, Olympias.
• Olympias’ son Alexander,
later known as Alexander
the Great, became king.
Rise of Macedonia
• Philip increased his army’s fighting power by
organizing his infantry into Greek-style phalanxes.
• The Greek city-states, weakened
by the Peloponnesian War, would
not cooperate in resisting Philip.
• Despite the great Athenian orator
Demosthenes’ appeal to his
fellow citizens to fight for their
liberty, Philip had conquered all of
Greece, except for Sparta, by 338
Alexander’s Conquests
• Alexander was only 20
when he became ruler of
Macedonia and Greece.
• Highly respected for his
courage and military skill,
Alexander was also
extremely well educated,
having been tutored by
Conflict with Persia
• In 334 B.C. Alexander led 30,000 soldiers and
5,000 cavalry into Asia to open his campaign of
“West against East.”
• Alexander’s first battle–and first victory– against the
Persians took place at the Granicus River in
western Asia Minor.
• The second major battle–another victory for
Alexander–took place at Issus, Syria, in
333 B.C.
and forced the Persian king Darius III to flee.
Conflict with Persia
• Alexander and his forces moved south. They
captured the seaports of Phoenicia and cut off the
Persian fleet from its main supply bases. The
Persian fleet soon surrendered.
• Next they invaded Egypt
where the people,
discontented under Persian
rule, welcomed them and
declared Alexander a
pharaoh. Here Alexander
founded a new city and
named it Alexandria after
Final Campaigns
• In 331 B.C. Alexander invaded Mesopotamia and
smashed Darius’s main army in the battle of
Gaugamela near the Tigris River.
• Alexander went on to capture the key cities of the
Persian Empire: Babylon, Persepolis, and Susa.
• Darius was killed by one of his own generals,
and Alexander declared himself ruler of the
Persian Empire.
Final Campaigns
• In 327 B.C. Alexander led his soldiers into India, and
after three years they reached the Indus River
valley. Alexander wanted to go farther, but his
veteran soldiers refused.
• Alexander reluctantly
went back to Babylon,
which he had made the
capital of his empire.
He then fell ill with a
fever, probably malaria,
and died in 323 B.C. at
the age of 33.
Map Supplement
Imperial Goals
• When Alexander first set out with his army, his
goal was to punish Persia for its invasion of
Greece 150 years earlier.
• As he gained more and more territory, his new
vision was to create an empire that would unite
Europe and Asia and combine the best of Greek
and Persian cultures.
Imperial Goals
• Alexander adopted Persian dress and customs to
promote their acceptance.
• He also founded about 70 cities that served as
military outposts and as centers for spreading the
Greek culture and language throughout his
Divided Domain
• Following Alexander’s death, three of his
generals–Ptolemy, Seleucus, and
Antigonus–eventually divided his vast empire
into separate domains, or territories.
• Ptolemy and his descendants ruled Egypt,
Libya, and part of Syria. The most famous
Ptolemaic ruler was Cleopatra VII, who lost
her kingdom to the Romans in 31 B.C.
Divided Domain
• Seleucus and his descendants–the
Seleucids–at first controlled the rest of Syria,
Mesopotamia, Iran, and Afghanistan. After a
while, however, they were forced to give up
their eastern territory and withdraw to Syria.
• In 167 B.C. Jewish guerrillas led by Judah
Maccabee challenged the Seleucid control
over Palestine.
• Two years later he succeeded in reoccupying
Jerusalem, which would remain independent
until the Romans defeated it in 63 B.C.
Divided Domain
• The domain of Antigonus and his heirs
consisted at first of Macedonia and Greece,
but the Greek city-states soon declared
their independence and started fighting
each other again.
• In the 100s B.C. the Roman Empire would
conquer Macedonia and Greece.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Hellenistic Culture
• Although political unity disappeared after
Alexander’s death, the Greek language and
culture continued to spread in the lands he
had conquered. 
• As Greek culture and Hellenic ways mixed
with cultural elements of the Middle East, a
new culture called Hellenistic emerged.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
City Life
• Hellenistic culture was concentrated in the
cities. The largest and wealthiest of these
was Alexandria in Egypt. 
• Alexandria’s economic position benefited
from a double harbor that could hold 1,200
ships at a time.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
City Life
• Alexandria was also a major intellectual
center. 
• Its museum was the first ever and included
a library of nearly a million volumes, an
institute for scientific research, a zoo, and a
botanical garden. 
• Around 250 B.C. Jewish scholars translated
the Hebrew Bible into Greek. 
• This translation, known as the Septuagint,
was later used by the apostle Paul and is
still used by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
City Life
• Greeks formed the upper class in
Hellenistic society, and professional Greek
soldiers and bureaucrats moved from place
to place depending on where there were job
opportunities. 
• In Alexandria and other Hellenistic cities,
the social status of upper-class Greek
women improved over their traditional
status in Athens.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Hellenistic Philosophers
• Hellenistic philosophers focused on
personal behavior, especially the question
of how to achieve peace of mind. 
• Three systems of thought attracted most
Hellenistic intellectuals: Cynicism,
Epicureanism, and Stoicism.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Hellenistic Philosophers
• The best known Cynic was Diogenes. He
criticized materialism and asserted that
people would be happier if they gave up
luxuries and lived simply, in accord with
nature. 
• The scholar Epicurus started the
philosophy of Epicureanism. He argued
that people should avoid both joy and pain
by accepting the world as it was, ignoring
politics, and living simply and quietly with a
few close friends.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Hellenistic Philosophers
• Zeno founded Stoicism. The name
Stoicism comes from the Stoa Poikile, or
“painted porch,” in which Zeno lectured.
The Stoics believed that what happened to
people was governed by natural laws. 
• Stoicism later affected both the Roman
intellectuals and early Christian thinkers.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Hellenistic Art and Literature
• During the Hellenistic era, artists departed
from Hellenic styles by showing people
gripped by powerful emotions, not the
idealized individuals of earlier times. 
• Hellenistic playwrights usually wrote
comedies rather than tragedies. 
• Menander, the most famous Hellenistic
playwright, wrote comedies about everyday
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Science, Medicine, and
• Although limited by simple instruments,
Hellenistic scientists performed many
experiments and developed new theories.
• Aristarchus of Samos concluded that the
sun is larger than the earth, that the earth
rotates around the sun, and that the stars
lie at immense distances from both
heavenly bodies.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Science, Medicine, and
Mathematics (cont.)
• Eratosthenes estimated the earth’s
circumference to within 1 percent of the
correct figure. 
• Hellenistic doctors dissected human
corpses. They discovered the nervous
system, studied the brain and the liver, and
learned how to use drugs to relieve pain.
Section 3 Lecture Notes
Science, Medicine, and
Mathematics (cont.)
• Euclid of Alexandria wrote The Elements
of Geometry, a book that organized all
information about geometry. 
• Archimedes invented the compound
pulley, which moves heavy objects easily,
and the cylinder-screw, which is still used to
lift water for irrigation. He also discovered
the principle of buoyancy and demonstrated
the principle of the lever.

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