General characteristics of Hellenism.

Hellenism is the widespread spread of Greek culture, religion, philosophy, art, economics, politics and lifestyle to the East and their close interaction with the local social order. As a result, a special syncretic culture emerged, in which the Greeks were no longer an ethnic, but a socio-cultural phenomenon.

The Greek language - koine ("common"), created on the basis of the Attic dialect, which became the language of the New Testament, has spread widely. In parallel to koine, there was another international, but already eastern language - Aramaic.

In the Hellenistic era, a new worldview was born, which received widespread and philosophical formalization - cosmopolitanism, awareness of oneself as a "citizen of the world". The destruction of people's civic thinking continued, but in a foreign land, the Greeks, even from hostile cities, were aware of spiritual unity in the face of a different culture; scattered throughout the ecumene, they felt that they belonged to the Hellenic world.

The decline of the polis ideology led to the rapid development of individualism. The experiences, feelings, and thoughts of an individual turned out to be at the center of religion, literature, and art.

Instability of life, social instability, wars, coups resulted in widespread fatalism reflected in philosophical and religious systems. Cosmopolitanism, individualism and fatalism vividly characterized the Hellenistic era in terms of serious spiritual changes.

Greece in the Hellenistic period.

Depopulation began in Greece: the Greeks went to the East, attracted by the unexpectedly discovered wealth and luxury of these areas, and regular wars with Macedonia also played a role. In Balkan Greece, after Alexander's death, uprisings constantly broke out, the cities of the Northern Peloponnese, in particular Sikion and Argos, were particularly active, so it became increasingly difficult for the Macedonians to hold certain areas.

Ethnic unions have intensified in Greece, among which the Aetolian Union, which occupied the west of Central Greece and, unlike the Athenian and Peloponnesian, was a federation based on the sovereignty of its constituent regions, that is, it was quite democratic. In the north of the Peloponnese, the Achaean Union was revived on an anti-Macedonian basis, which had an oligarchic orientation and subordinated almost the entire peninsula. He actually assumed the functions of the hegemon that the Peloponnesian Union had previously performed.

In the III century BC there were attempts to reform the state system of Sparta. The young Spartan king Agis IV (245-241) advocated the revival of the Lycurgus system. Gerusia spoke out against innovations that were reduced to the redistribution of land, equalization of ownership, civil rights, etc. Agis made a proposal in the People's Assembly to divide the lands of one hundred of the richest spartiates, including himself, in order to endow the poor with plots. The aristocracy achieved the abolition of reforms, and Agis was executed.

Sparta was still relatively independent when King Cleomenes III (235-221), inspired by the same ideas, came to replace Agis. He acted more aggressively, making a political coup with the help of mercenaries and abolishing the institution of ephors. Supported by the People's Assembly, Cleomenes dispersed Gerusia and endowed citizens with land, canceling large debts. His actions sparked a broad democratic movement in the Peloponnese, as in other areas people wanted to repeat the reforms of the tsar. The Achaean Alliance, with the help of a recent enemy, Macedonia, defeated the troops of Cleomenes, who claimed to unite Sparta and restore its power on the peninsula. Cleomenes fled to Egypt and committed suicide there, and Sparta became part of the Achaean Union, and all reforms were canceled.

Thus, in Greece during the Hellenistic era, internal strife and the struggle of alliances continued, constantly and destructively exhausting the forces of the Greeks.


During the Hellenistic period, extensive construction of cities unfolded, in which buildings of utilitarian civil purpose played an important role. During the construction of cities, the correct regular layout was used, and residential quarters were created by crossing streets at right angles: the city was divided into rectangular or square sectors, which in Alexandria, for example, were designated by the first letters of the Greek alphabet. This is the so-called system of Hippodamus, the architect of the V century BC. Introducing regular planning, he proceeded from the idea of a special division of land between citizens, when each sector was intended for plots of different legal status - such a system attracted by its practicality and rationality. In cities there were water pipes, sewers, baths in houses, special park ensembles were created in the centers (for example, the Museum in Alexandria), artificial landscapes, grottoes, small mounds. In the Syrian Antioch, night street lighting was introduced.

The upper strata of society had an irrepressible craving for luxury and comfort, which was reflected in clothing: citizens, especially women, dressed brightly - it was in this era that fringe appeared as an element of dress. In some cases, the rulers even introduced laws against luxury. In the eastern cities, gymnasiums and palaestras were arranged according to Greek models. Gymnasiums were a kind of intellectual centers where classes in rhetoric, literature, philosophy and other sciences were held, while palaestras were intended for physical exercises, but they were also a place of free pastime.