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History of the Greek World, 323-146 BC by M.…

History of the Greek World, 323-146 BC

by M. Cary

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Alexander the Great gets all the press. But the really interesting characters were his successors.

Alexander created an interesting situation: He ruled the largest empire the world had ever seen. But, although he scattered Greek cities and citizens all over the place, he never really set up an administrative machine to govern that empire. When he died, there was nothing to hold it all together. So, naturally, it fell apart.

This is the story of the pieces left over.

It is an unsatisfactory story in a lot of regards, simply because we have so little information about the "Hellenistic" world -- there are fragments in Polybius, and from Diodorus is an epitome of sorts (but one that often does not comprehend what it was written about), and that is about it. So we must piece together the history of the era from hints here and there. The result must always be wrapped in uncertainty.

It shows, sometimes, in this book. There are places where it is brilliant, and places where one simply gets lost because there isn't enough data. The first two times I tried to read this book, I gave up at the same place both times. Then I realized that I should just skip a few pages. Believe me, it picks up again! It took most of a lifetime for it to be determined that Alexander's Empire would break up into three main parts: The Antigonid Kingdom (Greece), the Ptolemaic Kingdom (Egypt), and the Seleucid Kingdom (much of the old Persian Empire). The men who created these nations were fascinating -- proud, militant, uncompromising. This book cannot tell us all about them, but it tells us most of what there is to know. ( )
1 vote waltzmn | Mar 14, 2012 |
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Preface -- After a long period of neglect, the Hellenistic age has in recent years become an object of intensive study, and by the combined efforts of many scholars the main lines of its history have now been fixed with a considerable measure of certainty.
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