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Culture, Science, and Philosophy of the Hellenistic Empire

Hellenistic Empire

The Hellenistic territory consisted of various dynasties, namely the Seleucid in the East, the Ptolemies in Egypt, Macedon, and Pergamon in Asia Minor. These empires were dominated by the Greek civilization after Alexander’s conquest. His reign and intention aimed at facilitating the spread of “Hellenazation” throughout the kingdoms. Generally, during King Alexander the Great’s rule, several Mediterranean cities accommodated different people from various cultural backgrounds (Anni 80). The unification of the regions made it easier for the conquerors and the conquered to coexist peacefully following the practice of intermarriage amongst them. The formation of the Hellenistic empire contributed to the cultural diffusion in different aspects, such as arts, literature, and knowledge, where people could understand and appreciate the norms and values of others with limited distinction.

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The Arts

Various sculptures were developed to reflect the classical tradition while inducing new techniques in the Hellenistic age. With the support of their Patrons, most skillful artists created different categories of arts to glorify renowned leaders such as politicians. Various paintings were used to commemorate Alexander the great king and other famous kings in the history of the empire (Palagia 150). For instance, statues of the Altar of Zeus indicate the victory Attalid attained over Gauls, whose demise pathos brought pathos and respect amongst the people. The monuments were made in such a way that they show the dramatic nature as classified by the community about the subject. The sculptors adopted the use of varied styles of making the models to enable them to discover every aspect of the people.

Scientific and Medicine Practice

During the Hellenistic Age, Greek science advanced to greater heights. The research development was prompted by Alexander’s conquest of the regions that facilitated the collection of data. Among the cities of the empire, both Athens and Alexandria were prolific scientific centers. Athens majorly supported education temples that improved the learning system for the community. The Lyceum structure was developed by Aristotle to aid in the advancement of knowledge amongst the people.

Similarly, the city of Alexandria supported the medical findings where most Alexandrian physicians engaged in the study of the human body and other organ functions. The practice and involvement promoted scientific knowledge amongst the people, which boosted their overall understanding. Furthermore, mathematical achievements such as the Euclid synthesized added more information to the community. For instance, mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse formulated various properties of the static fluid and also invented different devices.


Philosophers in the Hellenistic empire deduced various ways to manipulate the people’s issues in relation to the kingdoms to the individual problem in the world. The theorists based their reasoning on four main ideas that grant different paths to personal accomplishment (Kotsori). Their point of view instilled a practice amongst the communities that enabled them to have an independent and productive lifestyle. The perspectives proposed approaches include stoicism, skepticism, epicureanism, and cynism.


Stoicism is a Hellenistic philosophy that was preserved in both the roman and Greek ancient times. The ideology was put forward by Stoic, a philosopher who believed that human virtue plays a vital role in promoting an effective existence. The academic argued that every individual could achieve harmony if they focus on mastering their urges via motives. The idea also encouraged people to involve in public life to influence peaceful well-being amongst the societies.


The skepticism philosophy held that there are several ways to attain happiness in society. The approach induces doubts and distrust amongst people, thus eager to find more about the causes of personal fulfillment. It encouraged individuals to focus majorly on morality and the limits of reasoning. The idea discouraged leaning on fixed principles of the community but embraced the practical experience to enhance an enjoyable lifestyle.

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This system of philosophy is based on the Greek teachings of the philosopher Epicurus. The idea was formulated around 307 BC to discard the determinism perception and promote hedonism. According to the ideology of Epicurus, the main goal of life is to achieve pleasure. He proposed that for individuals to have a pleasurable living, they have to cultivate and embrace the culture of honesty and be wise throughout. Generally, epicureanism suggests that to attain happiness, individuals should not involve in public life. It also adds that by freeing oneself from all forms of anxiety, people can be delighted. The opinion is inclusive of all gender and practicing the reasons facilitates personal contentment.


During the Hellenistic Age, a philosopher called Cynics based his arguments on the Diogenes ideology to support the fact that self-sufficiency is vital to the well-being of the people. According to the academic, Cynic believed and taught people that what matters to individuals is the realization of oneself through discovering natural endowments. He dismissed nationality or social status as factors that guarantee a person’s peace. The philosophy aimed at freeing humans and encouraging them to focus on their nature while refusing any kind of power. In the process, he called for the enhancement of moral values to enable the achievement of personal fulfillment.


The Hellenistic period prompted the development of unique architectural plans. During this age, most of the temples constructed were more secular and took the Corinthian style. The buildings were huge in size; for instance, the Olympian Zeus is about 41 to 109 meters on the base ground. Similarly, most of the theatres had similar massive structures, such as the Megalopolis, which could hold over 20,000 individuals. The planning and designs of the constructions were developed in such a way that it becomes difficult to distinguish them.


In the Hellenistic empire, the achievements of the ancient Greeks reflected both the social and political status of civilization. During the replacement of the city-states by the kingdoms, the literature focus changed from politics to understanding the sophisticated reality of the common people. For instance, Menander, the new comedy writer, channeled the attention to rich people living in the city to examine their private life. Similarly, historians such as Polybius aimed at establishing rational reasons for human activities.

In conclusion, through its great king Alexander, the Hellenistic empire managed to bring people of different cultural backgrounds together. The civilization facilitated understanding and embracing of various practices among the subjects. Even though most of the cultures were from ancient Greek, individuals were able to adapt and use them, for example, science and medicine knowledge, literature, varied philosophies, arts, and architecture. Hellenistic kingdom promoted togetherness even after the death of Alexander, the great king, thus making the practices and beliefs remain activated. The diffusion was immense to the extent that most of the distinction between the Greeks and other communities dissolved.

Works Cited

Aneni, Monica Omoye. “Cultural Diffusion and the Unification Policies of Alexander the Great.” African Research Review, vol. 12, no. 4, 2018, pp. 77-86.

Palagia, Olga. “The Reception of Alexander in Hellenistic Art.” Brill’s Companion To the Reception of Alexander the Great. Brill, 2018, pp. 140-161.

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Kotsori, Ioanna-Soultana. “Hellenistic Philosophy in Greek and Roman Times.” Open Journal for Studies in Philosophy, vol. 3, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1-6.

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