Middle East 200 BCE

The conquests of Alexander the Great have reshaped the map of the Middle East, and Greek-speaking kingdoms, founded by Alexander's generals, now cover the region.

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What is happening in Middle East in 200BCE

Alexander the Great

The past few centuries have seen the huge Persian empire conquered in a series of brilliant campaigns by the young Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, between 333 and 323 BCE. These campaigns involved armies largely recruited from amongst the city-states of Greece.

The spread of Greek culture

Alexander’s empire failed to survive his early death, and his generals, together with some local princes, divided his conquests amongst themselves. Their descendants now rule powerful kingdoms – the Ptolemies in Egypt, the Seleucids in Syria, Mesopotamia and Iran, and various dynasts in Asia Minor. They have founded numerous Greek-style cities, which can now be found scattered across the Middle Eastern world as far as India, and from which the ruling classes of these kingdoms are drawn.

These cities have become the center for the spread of Greek culture and language (which is replacing Aramaic as the lingua franca of the region). Greek cultural traditions mix with more ancient native elements to form a fascinating hybrid civilization which modern scholars label “Hellenistic”. It is at this time that some of the most spectacular “Greek” artistic and intellectual achievements occur, in countries far away from the Greek homeland.

Next map: Middle East 30 BCE

 

Dig Deeper

The Ancient Middle East

The Persian Empire

Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Kingdoms

The Seleucid kingdom

Ptolemaic Egypt

Ancient Palestine

The History of Ancient Turkey

The History of Ancient Syria

The History of Arabia

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