The Hellenistic Age: Intellectual developments from Pericles to Alexander III to Cleopatra VII Timeline Classical Period ca. 480-323 BC Archaic Period Hellenistic Period Roman Period ca. 700-480 BC ca. 323-31 BC Battle of ca. 31 BC-500 AD Alexander dies Actium 323 BC 31 BC 359-323 BC 146 BC Rise of Macedonia Roman Rule of Greece begins ca. 440-429 BC Age of Pericles Ptolemaic Alexandria Ptolemy I Soter: syncretism codified Library at Alexandria: scholarship begins Ca. 300: Creation of the Bibliotheke (“book warehouse”) in Alexandria adjoining the Musaion (“home of the Muses) Philologoi (“lovers of language, philologists”) combine textual criticism and scientific methodology with epic poetry music dance lyric poetry comic poetry astrology choral poetry tragic poetry history (Athens/Rome) methods of collection of papyri; divisions of works Pergamon, center of gymnastic life, 281-133 •education of boys, young men, adults •focus on literature, athletics, music, agon •rise of gymnasiarchoi (sg. gymnasiarchos) •philanthropy on a large scale •allowed Greek cities some independence •Altar of Zeus 180-150: 100’ x 100’ •gods vs. giants (gigantomachy) •life of Telephus son of Herakles •emphasis on stoic virtues: •harmony with nature •good vs. evil Key events in the Hellenistic era Ca. 290: Establishment of Achaean and Aetolian Leagues Ca. 275: Antigonid, Seleucid, Ptolemaic basileiai (sg. basileia) 267-261: Chremonidean War Chremonides leads Athens, Sparta et al. vs. Antigonus II Gonatas loss of Athenian independence forever 241: Attalus I of Pergamon founds the Attalid basileia 229-222: Cleomenes of Sparta vs. Aratus of Sicyon/Achaean League Tory on revolutionary movements; Elyssa on Sparta Reforms: division of land; enfranchisement of perioikoi; restoration of agoge and syssitia; Macedon intervenes, annexes Sparta Key events in the Hellenistic era •221-212 •Philip V controls nearly all of Greece •allies with Carthage (2nd Punic War) •Rome + Achaeans, Rhodes, Pergamum •212-205, 197-188: Macedonian Wars •Rome defeats Philip, conquers Greece •196: Titus Quinctius Flamininus, victor •Rome declares Greeks free at Isthmia •aristocracies replace democracies •168: Rome abolishes Antigonid monarchy •149-146: last Macedonian rebellion •Rome destroys Corinth & Carthage •creates provinces – Macedonia, Africa •ends Achaean/Aetolian Leagues Cultural & intellectual developments: from polis to cosmopolis democracy oligarchy & monarchy: Plato’s philosopher-king duty to polis individualism & introspection rise of urbanism, professionalism, hellenism and koine Athenian comedy shifts from the political to the personal Athens university town and center for philosophical schools Academia (369, Plato) Lyceum (335, Aristotle) Epicureanism Stoicism Cynicicsm Scepticism Neo-Platonism Cultural & intellectual developments: from polis to cosmopolis Epicurus/Epicureanism (307/6): shift from public life to inner peace, life of pleasure & contemplation, avoidance of pain (ataraxia); Democritus’ atomic theory (absence of divine interest, not gods); mêden agan (“nothing in excess) Zeno/Stoicism (300): universe of logos (“divine reason”), brotherhood, and individual happiness as a response to alienation and fragmentation; virtue = harmony with gods and nature, reality based on perception Pyrrho/Scepticism (310): rejection of true knowledge, contradiction; embrace of change (“can’t step in the same river twice”), no happiness possible Diogenes/Cynicism (330): rejection of wealth, power, fame; embrace of simplicity Neo-Platonism: God as suprarational and accessible via ekstasis: mystery cults Isis & Osiris Mithras Eleusinian Mysteries Scientific developments fostered by the Library at Alexandria Ca. 300-250 floruit (“flourished”) Medicine: Herophilus (systematic anatomy) Erasistratus (circulation), Philinus (clinical) Astronomy: Aristarchus (heliocentrism, measurement of size/distance of sun/moon) Hipparchus (epicyclical studies; stars) Eratosthenes (librarian; circumference of earth) Antikythera Mechanism (2nd-1st c. BCE) Euclid of Alexandria (axiomatic theories; geometry, astronomy, optics, surfaces, mechanics; Elements) Archimedes’ tomb: topped with “a cylinder enclosing a sphere, with an inscription giving the proportion by which the containing solid exceeds the contained” (Plutarch Life of Marcellus) Εὕρηκα (Heureka) (attrib. Archimedes) Archimedes (287-212) Physics (screw pump, buoyancy) Mechanics (leverage) Siege-engines, claw; later, ballistae Astronomy Mathematics (“exhaustion” π) volumes, areas, surfaces: calculus Archimedes Palimpsest (πάλιν ψάω, “scrape again”): 10th c. CE, 1229 euchologion •Equilibrium of Planes •Spiral Lines •Measurement of the Circle •Sphere and Cylinder •On Floating Bodies •Method of Mechanical Theorems •Stomachion – angles and shapes Making and reading the palimpsest Panelists’ questions; slaves & baunasia John: Major cities in different parts of the Hellenistic world adopted scholars, poets and philosophers, who were sponsored and funded by rulers of these cities. Why were the rulers so willing to sponsor artists and scholars, or research on Homer or the creation of pastorals? Were these patrons looking for a way to define themselves and their cities in the wake of Alexander and, if so, why did they allow outsiders to provide the cultural output? Why did Alexandria and Pergamum focus on scholarship and poetry, while Athens focused on philosophy? Is this due to patronage or a separate reason? Matt: Did Hellenistic scientific, philosophical, and technological advancements occur naturally with the passing of time, or did these advancements came more rapidly due the new political and societal environment? What governmental, educational, and societal differences in the Hellenistic age helped facilitate these advancements? Peter: Where do you think future generations would have stood, and what sort of education would we have today, if these advances had not occurred? How long would it take for them to be discovered, if at all? Say, if Eratosthenes did not calculate the circumference of the earth in the third century BCE, how long might it take for it to happen in the future? Jillian: Walbank argues that technological progress depends on the “interplay of many factors” and that advancements in one field lead to advancements in another. The Greek outlook on technological advancement limited progress. Some would say that the U.S. is currently in a technological slump. Fewer Americans study and pursue science. Is there anything about the Greek outlook toward technology that is similar to the American outlook today?
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