Notes for Classics 190--Alexander and the Growth of Hellenism

I. Who is Alexander the Great?

A. To the 19th Century view of J.G. Droysen, "Alexander stands

at the end of one period in the history of the world and the

beginning of another.

1. Ancient reaction to the Political Failures of the Hellenistic

World and the rise of Rome led to an ancient rejection of

a) Art (Laocoon vs. Parthenon sculptures),

b) Literature (disparaging of of Argonautica)

c) History (destruction of Hieronymous, Theopompous, by

Alexandrian librarians

2. Renaissance thinkers accepted this concept

a) Italy had once ruled the world but by Petrarch's time it was a

largely powerless backwater

b) The last holdout of the Hellenized Roman Empire had fallen in


c) Calvinistic tendency to hold physical failures as proof of moral

decline--Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall (written in Calvin's


3. Modern scholars adopted it afterwards

a) British--Puritan ethic, produced Gibbon

b) Germans--"Golden Days" of Charlegmagne followed by horrible

wars and political disunity

c) French--Post-Napoleonic consciousness of decline.

4. Upshot--Alexander marked the END of study of the Greeks,

and a marker of where to begin the study of the "successful"

Romans. Explain traditional course divisions--

a) Herodotus/Thucydides/Alexander "Classic,"

b) Livy/Cicero, "Republic,"

c) Suetonius/Tacitus, "Empire,"

d) What Gibbon did to the Byzantines, who called themselves


5. 20th Century Backlash

a) French, anti-Napoleonic "Annales" school--Individuals do not

matter, but only the people and impersonal forces behind them.

b) SOME German reaction to "Great Leader" disasters of World

War I and II.

c) British resistance--Idealists like Tarn, Character

Assassins/Journalists like Peter Green, Storytellers like Robin

Lane Fox.

6. Either as Marker or Tool, Alexander got studied, but not so

much the enviornment that created him or what happened

afterward--Failure, again, and lack of resources dating back to

that early Greek rejection of the Hellenistic Age.

B. What is boils down to is another of Droysen's Comments

(Droysen teacher of Wilcken): "Every student has his

own Alexander."

C. For you to answer that question for yourselves, you're

going to need some building material

1. The facts, as we have them, but even these are open for


2. "Bias" in the sources--upon which you impose your own.

3. Warning of my biases--I believe there is much to learn from

studying what led to Alexander's career, and what happened

to the millions and millions of people upon whom the decisions

of this single individual had an effect.

II.Alexander III: King of Macedon--What does that Mean?

A. Who were the Macedonians?

III. Interruption--The Driving Force of European History, as

Far as the Eye Can See

A. Climate during the Ice Age had allowed large numbers of

mammalian species to flourish

1. Mammoths, Bison

2. Humans drawn northwards for the good hunting

3. Intelligence allows survival in the cold

4. Success leads to extinction of earlier species (Aurochs--large

elk--exterminated within recorded history.

B. Dynamic--Too many monkeys, not enough bananas

1. Our species kills itself off--other species (Kaibab deer) starve

to death.

2. Differentiated groups become desperate, (fierce) in varying

degrees in the far North.

a) Climactic changes prompt move south

b) Fiercer groups drive less fierce groups before them

c) They hit the less fierce groups who did well in the warmer

Southern climes

d) Cycles of Invasion--All the way down to 1989 and...? Fulda Gap

3. B.C.--People from Northern Europe and Asia begin mass

migrations southwards into the Greek Peninsula. We call

them "Indo-Europeans," speaking a common language and

sharing some common traits.

a) Iliad--Oldest written (spoken, originally--Rhapsodes and their

Repertory) describes three-layered society of a king, who led the

nobles as long as they agreed with him, and the

tribesmen/warriors/women and children with less power.

Fundmental tribal unity vs. outside world.

b) Fierce, warrior culture. Ranging South, they encountered what

we today call the Minoan culture, earlier arrivals who had traded

and been influenced by the older civilizations of Egypt and the

Middle East.

(1) Checked for a time

(a) Legends of King Minos conquering Athens/Minotaur

(b) Thucydides telling us of Minos holding back the pirates; that

is, the new arrivals

(i)Impressive structures at Knossos on Crete, frescoes of

Dolphins, ships

(ii) Ruins on Thera, artifacts from all over Ancient East

(2) Collapse of Minoan Culture

(a) Thera explosion of around 1500--Plato's Atlantis?

(i)Modern distrust of patent theories have led to chronological

objections, saying that the Minoan culture lasted for

centuries after the explosion,

(ii) Disasters do take it out of you--ask the Japanese.

(b) Tidal waves to ravage coastal cities

(c) Heavy layer of ash to poison crops and people

(d) Proto-Greeks captured Minoan cities, adopted culture,

Ventris's Linear A tablets.

4. Mycenean Culture: Hybrid of Invaders/Invaded

a) Palaces of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

b) Warrior Culture--signs of revolts and fighting in the Cretan


c) "Heroic Age," 1200-1100, Height of Mycenean Civilization,

Trojan War to open trade routes/colonies to the Black Sea. Troy,

Mycene, Pylos, ancient Argos found by Scliemann and other

Archaeologists--golden Age.

d) Common Myth in nostoi of heroes suffering doom soon after


5. The Sons of Heracles--Legend of Heracles' Wanderings,

Invaders of 1100 ethnically similar to the Myceneans.

6. Dorian Invasion (Dorieus, s/o Heracles) tremendously


a) Myceneans good warriors in defended palaces

b) Dorians fierce and iron weapons CHEAPER, not BETTER, than

Bronze used by Myceneans.

(1) Bronze required tin, which you had to trade for.

(2) Iron more plentiful, but harder to forge and took more


7. Stalingrad a dozen times over--

a) Mycenean Palaces destroyed--Pylos tablet, "Watchers have been

sent to the coast to look for..."

b) First Great overseas migration--Aeolians and Ionian Greeks flee

to Asia Minor

c) "Sea Peoples"--Dorians and/or Myceneans, unleashed--Odysseus

on the Way Home.

(1) David's Philistines

(2) The Greek Pelasgioi?

(3) Ramses III's battle of 1180 with the Peleset--Pyrrhic

Egyptian victory

(4) Collapse of Overseas trade (so no bronze),

(5) Loss of literacy--Greek "Dark Ages."

8. Resurrection of Greek Literacy (ergo, the record).

a) Areas off the Invasion routes--Athens, Ionia, old culture, legends

b) Surviving sense of common language and identity

c) Common god--Zeus at Olympia

d) 1st Olympic Games (and a system of dating) 776 B.C.

e) Conditions stabilizing--waves of Dorian colonization from 750-


(1) Mechanics of Colonization

(a) Metropolis

(b) Oracle

(c) Oikist

(2) Greeks in the West: Sicily, (Syracuse, 734, Mother City-

Corinth; Massilia

(3) Greeks in the Islands: Rhodes, the Aegean

(4) Greeks in North Africa: Cyrene

(5) Greeks in MACEDONIA: Nine Ways (470's); ,

Amphipolis, 437-5

9. Greek System of lifestyle--the Polis

a) Mycenean ancestry--urban locus

b) Fortifiable height, acropolis

c) Surrounding territory--chorea

d) Residents living together for defense and common religion

e) Strains within the Polis:

(1) Landowners vs. un-immigrated excess population

(2) Solon's Strategy (Aristotle, Atthides) of reconciliation, 600

(3) Peisistratus's Strategy (Tyranny), 550

(a) Weakening of rival noble families to tyrant & people's gain.

(b) Exile of the Peisistratids--Hippias at Marathon

(4) Cleisthenes' Strategy--Democracy, 500

(5) Other Poleis--monarchies, oligarchies, tyrannies

f) Sparta's System--Dorian settlement of an established Mycenean


(1) Original inhabitants became "helots," serfs who could not

leave the farms they worked, others perioikoi, 2nd Class


(2) Instead of Expanding, Spartans conquered Messenia after

horrible war.

(3) One colony--Taras/Tarentum--Parthenai, c. 710

(4) Messenian Revolt of 650--Twenty years of Horror

(5) "Lycurgan" reforms--dated to 9th Century

(a) Children raised by the state

(b) Krypteia

(c) susstia--Age 20-30, and Army, equipment.

(d) Family rights at 30

(e) Women practiced athletics to bear strong children,

(f)Women expected to run houses, farms, when men at war

(g) Tyrtaeus--laws and literature in Marching Songs

C. Macedonian System: Feudal/Tribal monarchy

1. Kings of Macedonia, dominant region of a larger area, ruled

by consent of the nobles and people, not so much subservient

as less-powerful=Vintage Dorian culture

2. A few large cities--Pella, Pydna, Aigai/Vergina (old capital);

Greek colonies, e.g. Amphipolis.

3. Recall Earlier Dynamic--Macedonians had not advanced as

far South as earlier groups

a) Partial reversal of earlier dynamic--sometimes civilized societies

better fighters

b) Macedonians throughout their history under pressure from

Illyrians to the North, Epirotes from the Northeast, Gauls,


c) Stayed fierce.

d) Thessalians blocked the Macedonians from advancing South

4. (Some) Greeks TO THIS DAY do not consider Macedonians


a) Varying dialect, or something, not mutually intelligible

b) Barred from Olympic Games

c) Alexander I "Philhellenos"

(1) Supported the Greeks during the Persian Invasion of 480-


(2) Allowed to prove that his family was directly descended

from Heracles himself

(a) Heracles from Argos

(b) Family name: "Argead."

(c) His family allowed to compete in the Games

(3) Archelaus (413-399) used increasing power of monarchy

(a) Built roads to increase trade

(b) Built fortifications to allow defenses

(c) Patronized Greeks such as Euripides to increase his family's


(d) All was not QUITE well--Archelaus was assassinated in 399

(e) Alexander was a member of this family

IV. END 1/17/95

V. The Historical Background for Alexander's Career

A. Very Similar Events to those taking place in Greece (and

Italy, too) were going on in the Middle East and Asia Minor

1. Two related tribes, the Medes and the Persians, had settled

central Asia Minor.

a) True to the pattern, the Medes in the North dominated the

Southern Persians, the Persian chief-kings vassals (explain?) to

Persian overlords.

b) Both were subjects to the Assyrian Empire until the Medes,

Persians, and the Babylonians revolted and destroyed the

Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612.

c) Babylon moved east and conquered Palesitne, Jerusalem falling in


d) A Persian king, Cyrus II "the Great" revolted against the King of

the Medes in 550.

2. The "Persian Empire" began to expand.

a) King Croesus of Lydia--oracle at Delphi story--defeated by Cyrus

and his kingdom conquered in 547.

b) "Mene Mene Tekel Upsharin"--Babylon (Nebuchanezzar) falls in


c) Cyrus killed in a river skirmish,BY WHOM? tomb still stands.

d) Cambyses, nutso successor, conquers Egypt (free from Assyrians

since 655, 530-525.

e) Darius conquers in the East all the way to the Indus river

(nominal subjugation of the tougher hill peoples) from 522-486.

3. Mechanics of the Persian Empire

a) Vasselage of some rulers--hence the title Shahan Shah, "King of

Kings", Greek "the Great King."

b) Excellent Road Network

(1) King's Messengers via relay stations

(2) Movement of armies and taxes

c) Khashtrivan--Satrap--"Protector of the Territory," largely left

alone in his province so long as the taxes kept coming.

(1) Way of running an empire without a huge bureaucracy

(2) "King's Eyes and Ears," overt and covert supervisors,

kept an eye out for rebellion. As long as not too many

revolted at a given time...

4. When Persians conquered Lydian Empire, they conquered the

Ionian and Aeolian Greeks.

a) Croesus had been a "philhellene," easy to get along with--more

patron than conqueror (Reputation of "Lydians").

b) Persians had only made sure that friendly Tyrants controlled

Greek cities and kept the taxes coming in.

c) Same upheavals at work in Greece at work in Ionia

(1) Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus, sought to stay popular by

appealing to Greek dislike of external control.

(2) Pre-existing religious city leagues allowed alliances

(3) Ionia used status as refuge of old Greek culture (like

Athens!) to beg for aid.

(a) Athens sent 20 ships, heavy infantry

(b) Eretria sent 5

d) Initial success led to the burning of Sardis, seat of the local


e) Persian counterattack (at sea using the Greeks and the

Phoenicians they still controlled) devastating--Miletus falls in


f) Herodotus's story--"Who are these Athenians?"

5. Persian 'defensive conquest' of Greece, initiated.

a) Darius had conquered Thrace in 513, gold, territory across the


b) Thracians and storm defeat son-in-law Mardonius's army in 492.

c) In 491, Darius demanded submission--not, yet, taxes--of Greek


(1) Macedonia knuckled under, Alexander I becoming

Darius's Vassal

(2) Many Greek cities "medized"--gave the king water and

earth, symbols of his absolute control

(a) Aegina, within eyeshot

(b) Thebes; Phocis--forever dishonored after performances at


(3) The Athenians buried the envoy in a pit (earth); the

Spartans drowned theirs (water).

d) Persian amphibious force (600 ships) under Datis and

Artaphernes dispatched in 490

(1) Aegean Islands seized--Delos, Rhodes, Chios

(2) Eretria besieged, betrayed, burned.

e) Persian landing at Marathon, assisted by exiled tyrant Hippias.

VI. Greeks Resist Persians--Beginning of Alexander's War

A. Athenian triumph at Marathon

1. Militiades son of Cimon convinces Athenian people to attack

Persians on the beach

2. Spartans too late to help

3. Persians fight bravely, but lose and withdraw.

B. No Mr. Nice Xerxes--

1. In 483, Persians build canal across the Isthmus of Mt. Athos,

where Mardonius had lost his fleet in 492.

2. In 481 with what Modern estimates put at 180,000 (knowing

better than Herodotus, who puts it at 5,000,000) soldiers and

camp-followers, Xerxes moved north against the Greeks.

3. Hellespont bridged with ship-pontoons (twice) to allow

passage of army.

C. Athenians had gotten ready on their own.

1. Silver mines at Laurion led to Themistocles' 200 triremes

2. Relations with Sparta, other Greek States

3. 1st Pan-Hellenic Alliance at the Isthmus

D. The War--

1. Battle of Cape Artemesion--Greeks try to hold the Euripos


2. Thermopyle--Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, some Thespians

3. Thebes formally surrenders, Athens sacked and temples


a) Athenians evacuate to Salamis, force fight

b) New Parthenon contains carvings of Lapiths vs. Centaurs, war

with the Savages.

4. Role of Macedonia

a) Alexander I sent to ask Athenians to betray other Greeks

b) Alexander was supposed to have warned the Greeks that the

Persians intended to fight at Plataea

c) Supplied wood for Athenian fleet

d) Accused of having bribed Cimon

5. War Concluded and Won

a) Persian fleet destroyed at Salamis by Themistocles

b) Xerxes withdraws with 1/3 of army

c) Remainder defeated primarily by Spartan army at Plataea, under

Pausanias in 479.

E. Greek Counterattacks

1. Pausanias at Byzantium, 478, Fall of Pausanias

2. Athens' own Counterattack--League of Delos

a) Three Goals

(1) Protect Delian League to protect Greek islands and cities

of the Aegean coast from Persians

(2) Contain Persian Expansion into Europe

(3) Secure Peace in the Aegean

b) Annual contributions, ships or men

c) Gradual Athenian "Empire."

d) Cimon's Campaign against Persia

(1) Good relations with Sparta, no need to watch back

(2) Attacks on Persian territory

(a) Capture of Eion, 476-5

(b) Conquest of Scyros, retrieval of Theseus

(c) Victory at the Eurymedon, 468

VII. Persians Strike Back

A. Antagonism of Athens and Sparta

1. 3rd Messenian War, 464--Fall of Cimon

2. Pericles

a) Long Walls

b) Naupactus full of Spartan enemies

c) Peace of Callias with Persia in 448

d) Greek resentment of Athenian "Empire, revolts suppressed,

e) Spartan Anxiety

3. "1st" Peloponnesian War, Tanagra, 457.

4. Peloponnesian War of 431-404--Tiger vs. the Shark

B. Macedonian involvement in P.W.

1. Perdiccas II, 454-413 vacilated between friendship and enmity

with Athens

2. Athenian control of Byzantium (408)

3. Athenian recruitment of Thracian mercenaries

a) Encouragement of Thracians to arm

b) Removal of "volatile youth."

4. Inscription recording sale of naval stores to Athens before

Arginusae in 406

5. Perdiccas II, picking a winner, led 3,000 cavalry and 1,000

allied Greek hoplites to help Brasidas's Army in 423,

6. There had been renegades: Pausanias's "kingdom,"

Alcibiades' enclave by 405.

C. Persian Involvement--Kerosene on a fire

1. Support of Spartan navy begins in 410.

2. Athens defeated in 404 at battle of Aegospotami

3. Terms of peace aimed at Athenian navy--Persian goal.

D. Spartan Insecurity

1. Fear of Democracies and future walls required garrisons and

garrison commanders (harmosts--joke o.k.)

2. Allies restive--Corinth and Thebes forced back into the

Peloponnesian League at Spearpoint in 418 during "Peace of

Nicias" in P.W.

3. Unstable conditions in Greece

a) Normal trade and farming condition disrupted by Peloponnesian

and Subsequent Wars

b) Excess Male population/soldiers from past wars posed danger

c) Athenians restive and resilent

E. Confirmation of Persia's Fears: The 10,000

1. Since Persian Wars, Persians had become convinced of the

inferiority of their own military practice and the superiority of

the Greeks.

a) Persian light infantry, in a confined space, could not withstand

Greek heavy infantry (hoplites) in a pitched battle.

b) Persian archers had not stopped Spartan charge at Plataea

c) Persian Cavalry (still prized) not useful in Greek mountains.

d) Average Persian citizen lacked the equipment and morale of his

average Greek counterpart

2. Persians began to use Greek Mercenaries

3. Greeks fought in a Persian Civil War

a) Artaxerxes succeeded Darius in 401

(1) Plutarch's Life

(2) Emulation of Xenophon, Memorabilia?

b) Their mother Parasatis encouraged her favorite younger son

Cyrus to revolt against his brother, gave him money for


c) Cyrus hired Clearchus, (deposed as harmost for trying to seize

Byzantium) to recruit soldiers

d) Spartan government hoped to curry favor and sent him 700 troops

e) Greeks, 10,060 hoplites

f) Xenophon, student of Socrates, went along to see the war

g) Battle of Cunaxa, 401

(1) Cyrus killed while chasing his brother

(2) Greek officers killed by Persian treachery

h) Soldiers fight their way through Persians to the Coast by 400

i) Xenophon briefly commands, writes narrative

j) Some killed, others hired by Spartan commanders in Asia Minor

4. Upshot--The 10,000 had defeated everything the Persians

threw at them and Xenophon's narrative made that very well

known news.

5. Agesilaus and Spartan Guilt--

a) Thimbron hires some of the 10,000--conquers Troad in 399

b) 1st Invasion of Phrygia, 396

c) Lydia in 396

d) Persian Tactics--Fund Athens, Thebes

(1) Battle of Cnidos--394

(2) Battle of Corinth

(3) Restoration of Athenian Long Walls--the old status quo

6. Athens involved in "Satrap's Revolt" of 390

7. Iphicrates, Athenian commander, fighting Spartans near

Hellespont (Athenian lifeline!)

8. Compromise: Persians Back Spartans, Spartans Pacify


a) Direct response to League of Delos

(1) Persians get Aegean Islands and Aegean Coastal cities

(2) The King shall intervene in Europe as he sees fit

(3) Secure Peace in Greece

F. BUT: Persian Monarchy as shaky as a 90 year old


End as of 1/24/95

To Notes as of 1/31/95