Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age

Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age

Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age

Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age

Excerpt

In 331 B.C.E., Alexander of Macedon conquered the Persian Darius III at Gaugamela and proceeded to become master of the far–flung Persian Empire. By the time of his death in 323, Alexander had left an empire stretching from the Aegean eastward to the Indus River in India and from the northern shores of the Black Sea south to Nubia and the Sahara in northern Africa.

Alexander's thirst for territory was not motivated solely by a desire for military power. He also had a goal of establishing an oikoumene, a common world, a close–knit, self–contained entity united by the Greek language and culture, but shaped and adapted to a new environment. His empire irreversibly altered the socio–political world of the Mediterranean and Near East. It brought together Greek and oriental, East and West into a culturally unified empire. Provincialism gave way to universalism and collectivism to individualism. The most diverse populations of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern world embraced this new culture. Even the Jewish people, who had always resisted external influences, were not immune from Hellenization, as the new culture came to be called.

The term “Hellenistic” is generally used to refer to the period of history from 331 B.C.E. when Alexander of Macedon defeated the Persian Darius up to Octavius's defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 B.C.E. Although politically the Hellenistic world came to an end in 31–30 B.C.E., the Hellenistic age continued to flourish under Roman political domination to the extent that it has often been said that “captive Greece captivated her conqueror.” Influences of Hellenistic culture are evident up to the Renaissance period. In the study of Hellenistic religions, however, the period . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.