Essay on Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Era

Published: 2021/12/07
Number of words: 1314

Alexander III of Macedon (356-323 BCE), universally recognized as Alexander the Great, was king of Macedon’s ancient Greek kingdom. The Hellenistic world was forever changed during Alexander the great’s triumphal reign. At the age of 20, Alexander succeeded his father, Philip, to the throne. The unprecedented scope of his conquest, which spanned continents. He ushered in the Hellenistic age. The Hellenistic era lasted from 323 BC to 31 BC. This is from the demise of alexander the great to the Roman Empire’s arrival after the battle of Actium[1].

The Hellenistic era ended when the Roman troops conquered the last territories owned by Macedonian kings. Some of the aspects which marked the Hellenistic world included—first the spread of Greek culture. The Hellenistic civilization was sparked when the Greek people come into contact with non-Greek people outside Hellenic areas such as Greece and Asia minor. Through Alexander’s conquests, the people from Greece spread integrated their culture with other people’s culture. Some of the people who combined their cultures included Asians and Africans[2]. They formed a blended culture. Though his lengthy and extremely successful campaigns. Alexander the Great played a very large role in the blending of different cultures. This transmitted Hellenistic culture to areas as far as Western Indian and China. The blending of cultures had a positive effect on the Near East and Asia’s ancient peoples as it brought all different kinds of developments and spelled of a more open-minded and cosmopolitan age.

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For example, Alexander the great impacted art globally as he and his soldiers spread Greek styles of architecture, dress, and sculpture. His influence changed the Hellenistic world and the whole known world at large. The dissemination of Hellenistic art by Alexander the Great benefited Greek architects and sculptors more as they exposed the conquered like the Egyptians and Persians to many new art forms during the founding of new cities like Alexandria in Egypt and rebuilding the ones that already existed. During that time, the spread of Greek art educated the conquered in north Africa and the near east in Greek culture. The people who were chosen to offer art education benefited a lot from getting paid after providing the knowledge to the structured areas such as Macedonia, Egypt, Pergamum, and Syria. The Greek art positively impacted the people as most of them gained knowledge, and they were employed in a different area to do artwork[3].

There were also improvements to the economy during the Hellenistic era. The progress of the economy also changed the Hellenistic world forever. History shows that agriculture was significantly practiced by people from the Greek cities and the native population of the Hellenistic world. Greek people practiced their old agrarian pattern in agriculture, and they used slaves to assist them in agriculture[4]. Research shows that all the methods used in agriculture were not changed. To improve agriculture, which was the main economic activity during that era, Alexander the Great introduced new farming methods such as crop rotation, domestication of plants and animals, the introduction of organic farming, among others during that period. He also spread those new farming methods to the conquered area like Asia. Hellenic Centers for manufacturing spread to cover a wide geographical area. Many industries in Greece were spread to the east to places like Egypt, Rhodes, and Asia. In the wake of the Macedonian armies, Greek merchants established new textile industries, which were located at Pergamum in Asia Minor. Simultaneously, glass and silver crafts were also introduced in Syria[5].

The leading center of manufacturing was Alexandria in Egypt, which was made to be the center of production. This was because most metalworkers, glass, textile, and linen, among other products, were produced in that place. The improvement which was made in the field of agriculture encouraged many people to participate in the trade. This made the people from Greece and others who lived during the Hellenistic era to be exposed to various goods and services and furthered trade with other countries like Spain, which traded with gold and silver. North Armenia, which dealt with iron, and Asia, sold with many products like timber, purple, and ebony[6]. The trade enabled most people who were not employed to earn their living through marketing[7]. Due to trade, which was carried out, people had the opportunity to interact during the process; hence peace was promoted.

The improvement of literature and science also marked the Hellenistic era. The period saw the new comedy’s rise, which was divided into three categories the old, middle, and new comedy. All comedies were vital as they were satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness. Alexandrian poetry was also a form of literature in the Hellenistic era; it acted as a form of entertainment to people and the educated majority of the people as it had many lessons. Epicureanism was also taught in literature and science; it had a lesson to the people as though Epicurus people’s goals were taught the importance of living, which were living to find happiness through friendship, living humbly, and avoiding pain and anxiety[8].

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The Greek science was majorly advanced by the mathematician Euclid and the polymath Archimedes’ work. Science and literature underwent a very significant change in the Hellenistic world as it enabled many people to be innovative[9]. Due to the diffusion of science and literature, many people of the Hellenistic age became innovative and invented drugs to prevent many types of diseases like epidemics of malaria, tuberculosis, and cancer. The invented drugs were significant as they prevented people from various diseases; hence, people’s life expectancy increased[10].

In conclusion, the Hellenistic era began with the conquest of vast territory by Alexander the Great with his soldiers. It brought people together and enabled them to interact and learn about some foreign cultures. Another example which clearly shows that the period had a more positive impact is the widening of trade. It enabled many people to acquire more varied products and earn their living. Lastly, people were exposed to Greek education methods and trained in different art forms, which become a source of living for many. The Hellenistic age made the world a ‘smaller place’ as it ushered in a new cross-cultural transmission period.


Celotto, Giulio. “Alexander the Great in Seneca’s Works and Lucan’s Bellum Civile.” In Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Alexander the Great, pp. 325-354. Brill, 2018.

Christaki, Maria, G. Stournaras, Panagiotis T. Nastos, and Nikos Mamassis. “Water supply associated with the development of the Athens’sy of A the Hellenistic era until the end of the 19th century.” Water History 9, no. 4 (2017): 389-410.

Goldhill, Simon. “The naive and knowing eye: ecphrasis and the culture of viewing in the Hellenistic world.” In Greek Literature in the Hellenistic Period, pp. 213-240. Routledge, 2018.

Wallace, Shane. “Alexander the Great and Democracy in the Hellenistic World.” The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought, Oxford (2018): 45-72.

[1] Wallace et al. (pg. 45-72).

[2] Celotto, G. (pp. 325-354).

[3] Celotto, G. (pp. 325-354).

[4] Christaki, (pg. 400).

[5] Christaki & Maria (pg. 389-410).

[6] Goldhill & Simon. 2018 (pp. 213-240).

[7] Celotto G. 2018. (pp. 325-354).

[8] Goldhill & Simon. 2018 (pp. 213-240).

[9] Goldhill & Simon. 2018 (pp. 213-240).

[10] Goldhill & Simon. 2018 (pp. 213-240).

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