The ancient world that Alexander the Great transformed in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death. The imperial dynasties of his successors incorporated and reorganized the fallen Persian empire, creating a new land empire stretching from the shores of the Mediterranean to as far east as Bactria. In old Greece a fragile balance of power was continually disturbed by wars. Then, from the late third century, the military and diplomatic power of Rome successively defeated and dismantled every one of the post-Alexandrian political structures.The Hellenistic period (c. 323-30 BC) was then one of fragmentation, violent antagonism between large states, and struggles by small polities to retain an illusion of independence. Yet it was also a period of growth, prosperity, and intellectual achievement. A vast network spread of trade, influence and cultural contact, from Italy to Afghanistan and from Russia to Ethiopia, enriching and enlivening centres of wealth, power and intellectual ferment.From Alexander the Great's early days building an empire, via wars with Rome, rampaging pirates, Cleopatra's death and the Jewish diaspora, right up to the death of Hadrian, Chaniotis examines the social structures, economic trends, political upheaval and technological progress of an era that spans five centuries and where, perhaps, modernity began.
Five hundred years of power, politics and culture in the Hellenistic period and the Roman East
Angelos Chaniotis brings the Hellenistic age to life with remarkable learning, mastery of evidence, and sensitivity. His book offers a brilliant picture of the cosmopolitan Greek world and shows why it still matters to us today. -- Phiroze Vasunia, author of 'The Gift of the Nile: Hellenizing Egypt from Aeschylus to Alexander' The period that begins with the conquests of Alexander the Great and ends with the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian is one of the most important and tumultuous in world history. Jesus Christ, Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Nero are only a few of the figures who lived during this era. Greeks and Greek-speakers played a crucial role during these years and bear witness to a number of astonishing phenomena - the emergence of Christianity, the consolidation of the Roman Empire, the founding of the library in Alexandria, and lasting developments in philosophy, literature, political thought, and technology. Angelos Chaniotis brings the Hellenistic age to life with remarkable learning, mastery of evidence, and sensitivity. His book offers a brilliant picture of the cosmopolitan Greek world and shows why it still matters to us today. -- Phiroze Vasunia, author of 'The Gift of the Nile: Hellenizing Egypt from Aeschylus to Alexander' The oikoumene was the name the ancient Greeks gave to what they saw as the inhabited world. In Age of Conquests, Angelos Chaniotis tells the story of the Hellenistic oikoumene - its staggering cultural diversity, as well as the people, ideas, and events that unified it for centuries. Chaniotis boldly breaks with the traditional chronological divisions of ancient history and writes of the long Hellenistic era from the reign of Alexander to Hadrian. Anyone interested in the great cultural achievements of the ancient Greek world will profit greatly from this ambitious book by a leading historian. -- Alain Bresson, author of 'The Making of the Ancient Greek Economy: Institutions, Markets, and Growth in the City-States'
Angelos Chaniotis is Professor of Ancient History and Classics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.