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The Hellenistic Age
Guide: The Hellenistic World

This collection of resources explores the Hellenistic era that followed Alexander the Great's death and the dissolution of his empire. Primary and secondary sources illustrate the cultural, religious, and scientific achievements of this era. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Geography impacts a civilization's ability to communicate and unify
  • Centralization allows for culture to flourish and disseminate
  • Oral history and tradition perpetuate cultural norms and religion
  • Societal celebrations and norms can glorify and support warfare
  • Political structure influences the economic stratification of a society
  • Democratic systems value the rights and opinions of citizens
  • Internal rivalry leads to competitive rather than collaborative systems
  • Art and architecture depict society's values and histories
  • Philosophy, or the love of wisdom, contributes to the betterment of society through academic research, reasoning, and discovery
  • Strong leadership leads to success of political and military campaigns
  • Cultural diffusion can lead to romanticism of past civilizations and culture

Key Questions

  • Why did so many new ideas and cultural developments arise in the Hellenistic world? How did local traditions survive alongside the spread of Greek influences?
  • How did religion interact with the state in Hellenistic kingdoms? Why do you think mystery religions became popular in Hellenistic societies?
  • How did science advance during the Hellenistic age? How was learning encouraged in the Hellenistic kingdoms?
  • How did the Hellenistic world influence later civilizations and cultures?


  1. Overview: The Hellenistic World
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Spread of Hellenistic Culture
  6. Lesson: 2-Hellenistic Religions and Philosophy
  7. Lesson: 3-Hellenistic Learning and Science
  8. Lesson: 4-Legacy for Western Culture
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Glossary Terms: Hellenization
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Antikythera Mechanism
  12. Photos & Illustrations: Archimedes Palimpsest
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Pompeii: Villa of Mysteries fresco (Libations)
  14. Reference Articles: Alexandrian Library and Museum
  15. Reference Articles: Hellenistic Ruler Cult
  16. Reference Articles: Hellenistic Science
  17. Reference Articles: Ptolemaic Dynasty
  18. Reference Articles: Mystery Religions
  19. Letters & Narratives: Epicurus: letter on happiness (ca. fourth–third century BCE)

MLA Citation

"The Hellenistic World." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2158352?cid=256. Accessed 21 Jan. 2020.

Entry ID: 2158352

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