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Lecture 9

HIS 104 Lecture 9: Lecture 9

Course Code
HIS 104
Daniel J. Gargola

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~ History 104 Lecture #9 ~
o Alexander the Great, when he did in 323 BCE, had not really created anything.
o He had destroyed the most powerful empire of the day, he put together a great military
force, but he hadn’t stopped moving long enough to create anything.
o However, out of his death, a very definite political and cultural world will arise,
This is called Hellenistic (“Geek-like”)
o Greek culture ceases to be a matter only for Greek and something you only encounter in Greece.
o You find works written in Greek written across an area more than 3,000 miles across.
o Greek provided a medium in which a lot of other societies can interact.
The Bible was first translated into Greek because it was the most widely
o It’s a very culturally diverse world, and it is probably unwise to put too much uniformity on it, other
than language at the top.
o There is some uniformity, and that uniformity comes from kingship.
o When Alexander died, there was no clear successor.
o Who’s going to be king?
His disabled half-brother or his infant son?
Both will be proclaimed king, but neither will rule.
After less than a decade, they’re both dead, too.
o There is a scramble for power among his generals.
Macedonian nobles were rather harsh and brutal.
At first, they tried to stay together and rule collectively until a king would come
along, but over time, the rivalry among them could not be contained.
o The Rivalry of the Successors
o A scramble for power between Alexanders generals that lasted 40 years to determine who
would rule.
o Over time, it became clear that no one general was going to succeed.
o Eventually, they will settle into divided kingdoms.
The kings of these kingdoms never gave up their belief that they were the rightful
ruler of everything, so they will constantly be in conflict.
o They were ruling as successors, essentially imitating Alexanders rule.
o The most intense warfare was in those first 40 years, but it never really stopped.
o There were many colorful stories told about these battles.
o Visual representations of kings and important individuals in societies became much different that the
propaganda-esque representations of them in the years prior.
o Kings rule because they have an army, and you can only have an army is you have money which
comes from taxes.
o The royal court is also important in this culture.
o People need other reasons than traditional loyalty in this new, diverse culture to pledge allegiance to
a king.
o Hellenistic kings are always on the margins of going broke because they want to display their luxury
through general excess to assert your wealth, because no one wants to serve a poor king.
o The fabric of the Hellenistic world was quite a cultural display that was kind of all over the place.
o The Romans condemned the luxury.
o The Greeks were still attached to the idea of the city-state.
o The courts are one of the organizing institutions of the world, but that doesnt mean that everyone
regarded it as positively.
o There is a great sense of competition in this world and it was clearly displayed in courts.
o Courts become cultural centers.
o Artists make works for the kings
o Poets produce songs of praise for kings
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