Hellenistic Architecture and Art - 1600 pixels photos
After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was divided between his generals, each one founding a kingdom. In the next period, many political changes happened and the borders of these kingdoms changed much, new smaller kingdoms appeared etc.
Except the Greek Peninsula and islands (broadly the today Greece), most of this territory were inhabited by peoples speaking various languages and representing a great variety of cultures and religions. The Greek speaking Macedonian aristocracy imported the Greek language and culture and from the mix between the Greek culture and the cultures of the native peoples resulted the Hellenistic culture. Considered in past and even today a degenerative form of Classical Greek culture, the Hellenistic culture is in fact far more diverse and interesting, as inheriter of so many influences and traditions.
The Hellenistic kingdoms were conquered one by one by the Roman empire. Conventionally, the end of Hellenistic period in art and culture is considered the year 31 BCE, when the Romans conquered the Ptolemaic Egypt (the Hellenistic kingdom of Egypt, ruled by the dinasty of Ptolemies).
As result of Hellenisation of the eastern half of the Mediterranean basin, the territories from Near East became Greek-speaking in various degree:
- in Anatolia all the languages of the native peoples disappearead, being replaced by Greek
- in Egypt a considerable part of population became Greek speaking (through migration of Greeks here or by adopting of Greek language by the Egyptians) but most people mantained the Egyptian language, which later will be called Coptic language
- in Syria and Judeea most people continued to speak Aramaic and Hebrew languages.
Thousands of cities appeared in the regions of the Hellenistic kingdoms, which were ornated with splendid buildings, as happened too with the older cities, that existed since before the Macedonian conquest. Today, only in Turkey there are hundreds of archaeological sites with colossal ruins (or, in some cases integrally preserved structures) of theatres, temples, fortresses etc. The magnificence of these ancient vestiges, often situated in breathtaking natural setting, is beyond description.