What’s in a name: Bucephalus, Alexander’s Horse

When you mention the Hellenistic period, people immediately think of Alexander the Great. This is no surprise as his military conquests and travels shaped the Hellenistic era in a way which no other individual has done. Yet far fewer people know the name of one of his most trusty companions, his horse Bukephalus. In a …

Hellenistic sculpture

The art of the Hellenistic period differed greatly from that of the period before. In this post we will be exploring some of the typical characteristics of Hellenistic sculpture via some of its most famous statues. Alexander’s conquests and the creation of the Hellenistic kingdoms created a cosmopolitan environment which influenced the art as well. …

The Ptolemies

How many Ptolemies were there? Why was Cleopatra number seven? Where did the custom of brother‑sister marriage come from? This guides delves into the Ptolemaic dynasty who ruled over Egypt from the early years after Alexander’s death in 323 BC until the fall of Cleopatra in 31 BC. Distinct aspects of Ptolemaic rule will be …

The many faces of Alexander the Great

Thinking about antiquity, there can be no one more iconic and famous than Alexander the Great. Even though he died at a very young age, he managed to create one of the biggest empires seen to this day. His conquests of the east were defining for the Hellenistic period as it allowed Greek culture to …

Hellenistic People II: Philopoemen of Megalopolis

The second figure I want to shine a light upon in the series on notable figures of the Hellenistic Period: Philopoemen of Megalopolis. Together with Aratus of Sikyon, he has to be seen as one of the most famous statesmen of the Achaian League. Ῥωμαίων δέ τις ἐπαινῶν ἔσχατον αὐτὸν Ἑλλήνων προσεῖπεν, ὡς οὐδένα μέγαν …

Hellenistic People I: Polybius of Megalopolis

One of the most prolific historians of the Hellenistic Age was without a doubt Polybius of Megalopolis. His Histories not only provide us with a plethora of information on ‘Rome’s rise to power’, but the wider political reality of the Hellenistic World of the third and second centuries BC. Our series on the ‘great’ Hellenistic figures …