On this page you can find a list of of the most important terms connected to the Hellenistic World as well a short definition. Terms will be added on a regular basis to this glossary, so keep coming back!
|Part of Greek History, spanning from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC to Cleopatra and Marc Anthony’s defeat at the battle of Actium in 31 BC when the Romans conquered the remaining territories once ruled by Alexander.
|The term derived from the German “hellenistisch” by the 19th-century historian J. G. Droysen. It denotes the period when Greek culture spread beyond Greece to non-Greek regions following Alexander’s conquests. Note that this is a modern concept, and the ancient Greeks didn’t use this term. Additionally, its use suggests a successful spread of Greek culture throughout Alexander’s empire, which wasn’t entirely the case.
|The Wars of the Diadochi
|A series of conflicts among Alexander the Great’s successors as they vied for control over his vast empire during the Hellenistic era. Between 322-281 BC.
|The cultural blend of Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Indian, and other Near Eastern influences that emerged during the Hellenistic period due to the conquests of Alexander the Great and the subsequent interactions between diverse societies.
|The blending of different cultural and religious beliefs and practices, commonly observed during the Hellenistic era as Greek culture interacted with other civilizations.
|The city of Alexandria in Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great, became one of the most significant centers of Hellenistic culture, learning, and trade in the ancient world.
|An ancient Greek city and later a prominent Hellenistic kingdom located in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It was known for its magnificent library and impressive architecture, including the Altar of Zeus.
|The political system that emerged during the Hellenistic period, with powerful kings and queens ruling over large territories and adopting aspects of Greek culture and administration.
|The ruling dynasty of Egypt established by Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander’s generals, following Alexander’s death. The Ptolemaic dynasty lasted until the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BCE when Egypt became a Roman province.
|One of the major Hellenistic kingdoms founded by Seleucus I Nicator, another of Alexander’s generals. It encompassed much of the territory of the former Achaemenid Persian Empire and parts of the eastern Mediterranean.
|The dynasty founded by Antigonus I Monophthalmus, another of Alexander’s generals, which ruled over Macedonia and parts of Greece in the Hellenistic period.
|A term that refers to a series of dynasties and kingdoms located in Central Asia, established after the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was known for its interactions with Indian culture and the spread of Hellenistic influences in the region.
|A Hellenistic kingdom covering various parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India by the descendants of Greco-Bactrian rulers. It played a role in fostering cultural exchanges between Greece and India.
|The process through which the Greek language, culture, and traditions spread and influenced the non-Greek regions and societies under the rule of Alexander the Great and his successors.
|The common dialect of the Greek language that emerged during the Hellenistic period and became the lingua franca across the Hellenistic world.
|Philosophical schools and movements that flourished during the Hellenistic period, including Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism
|The religious developments and interactions that occurred during the Hellenistic period, including the spread of mystery religions and the blending of Greek and local religious practices.
|Library of Alexandria
|A renowned ancient library and center of learning located in Alexandria, Egypt. It was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world.
|The art produced during the Hellenistic period, which often combined Greek artistic styles with influences from the diverse cultures encountered in the conquered territories. Characteristics include dramatic compositions, extreme movement and emotion and focus on the realistic and everyday individual.
|A philosophical school founded by Antisthenes, which advocated living a life of virtue and simplicity, rejecting material possessions and social conventions.
|A philosophical school that emphasized the questioning of knowledge and the limitations of human understanding during the Hellenistic era.
|A philosophical school founded by Epicurus, which emphasized seeking pleasure, tranquility, and the absence of pain as the ultimate goals of life. Epicureans advocated for a simple and self-sufficient life, avoiding unnecessary desires and fears.
|A philosophical school founded by Zeno of Citium, which taught that the path to happiness lies in living in harmony with nature and accepting fate with wisdom and virtue. Stoics believed in self-discipline, rationality, and the pursuit of moral excellence.
|A federation or league of cities or regions that united for common interests and defense, a prevalent form of political organization in the Hellenistic world.
|A federation of city-states in the Peloponnese, primarily led by the city of Achaia. It was one of the most successful and influential koina during the Hellenistic period.
|A confederation of Aetolian city-states in central Greece, known for its military and political activities during the Hellenistic era.
|A federation of Boeotian city-states, including Thebes, that aimed to protect regional interests and maintain independence during the Hellenistic period.
|A league of Chalcidian cities in the northern Aegean region, formed to protect their interests and maintain peace.
|A federation of city-states in the region of Arcadia, located in the central Peloponnese, Greece. The Arcadian League was established in the 4th century BCE as a means of fostering unity and cooperation among the various Arcadian city-states.