THE SCENES OF THE MACCABEAN STRUGGLE
Alexander's Conquests . The Persian Empire, founded as a result of the conquests of Cyrus and the organizing ability of Darius, after two centuries had become weak, corrupt, and ready for conquest. On the other hand, the Greek civilization, which had been developing for centuries in the little land of Hellas and the coast lands of the Ægean, demanded an outlet that it might expand naturally (cf. p. 10). At this critical moment in the world's history, Alexander, the Macedonian, animated by the lust for adventure and by an ambition to make the world more glorious by disseminating Greek art and culture, set out on his eastern campaigns. Within less than a decade he carried the standards and culture of Greece across south- western Asia beyond the banks of the Indus. After a year of active campaigning in Asia Minor, he completed its conquest in 333 B.C. at the great battle of Issus at the northeastern end of the Mediterranean. With the exception of the cities of Tyre and Gaza, which were captured only after prolonged sieges, the people of Palestine readily submitted to the new conqueror. Egypt likewise proved a comparatively easy conquest. By 331 B.C. Alexander was able to turn eastward, and at the great battle of Arbela, which was fought that year on the plains near the Tigris, he broke the power of Persia and advanced to seize its eastern possessions.
The Impression Upon Southwestern Asia . Although Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C., before he was able thoroughly to consolidate and organize his great empire, his con