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3rd Period: Graeco-Macedonian Age, down to Roman Conquest (338-146 b.c.).

Ancient history, from the beginning of historical information to the downfall of the Western Roman Empire (? B.C. - 476 A.D.). The Western Nations: Greece.
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Two years after Chaeronea the murder of Philip by a Macedonian noble in 336 b.c. left the throne to his son, one of the greatest heroes, military commanders, conquerors, and statesmen in the whole range of history. Alexander was but 20 years of age when he inherited the means of retorting upon the East, with complete and phenomenal success, her invasions of the West. His magnificent army of 40,000 men included the phalanx; the guard, a body of infantry armed with the ordinary Greek spear and shield; two cavalry-divisions, one heavy-armoured and one more lightly equipped; a body-guard or staff of young nobles, - all the above composed of native Macedonians. There were also regiments, both foot and horse, of Greeks, and bodies of light-armed troops from the barbarian regions adjacent to Macedonia. An artillery-corps worked engines for hurling stones both in sieges and in battles, and on the battle-field, apart from sieges, Alexander was the first to employ such troops. The whole force made up a regular professional army in the modern sense, not fighting as a citizen-militia, but as strictly disciplined soldiers thoroughly devoted to the consummate general who, with the additional authority of sovereign, led them to war. Nothing like it had ever been seen in the world. Space is lacking for a full consideration of the character of Alexander the Great. Pope's summary "Macedonia's madman" is of course absurd, only applicable to certain outbursts of fury caused by excess in wine, or the intoxication of marvellous success as in the homicide of his friend Cleitus, and in the firing of Persepolis. It is lamentably true that this pupil of the great philosopher Aristotle showed the half-barbarian in some acts of cruel injustice perpetrated on men who incurred his suspicion, and he cannot be compared, morally, with such men of virtuous self-control as Epaminondas and Pericles. Supremely great he was in the vast compass and the persevering ardour of his ambition; in the qualities of intellect and soul which enabled him to crowd so many memorable actions within his brief span of life; and in the collateral aims of his career, which ennobled and purified it, and made him a benefactor of the human race. Of Alexander's merits as a strategist and tactician in war it is sufficient to state that some good Roman generals in ancient days held him to be superior to all commanders except Hannibal, and that Napoleon selected him as one of the seven greatest generals from the study of whose campaigns the principles of war should be learned. His energy was indomitable, and his mastery over his men complete. Like Wellington's troops after the Peninsular War, "they were fit to go anywhere and to do anything."

In the first two years of his reign Alexander subdued barbarous nations, the Getae, Illyrians, and others, to the north and west of Macedonia. A march into Peloponnesus at the head of his army awed the states there into quietude. A revolt of Thebes was punished by the complete destruction of the city, and -the selling of the people as slaves, the house and descendants of the great lyric poet Pindar alone being spared. In the spring of 334 he crossed the Hellespont at the head of 30,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. The Persian army, whose best troops were hired Greeks, under Memnon of Rhodes, a skilful general, was routed by hard fighting at the river Granicus, in the Troad. Asia Minor was quickly overrun, with the freeing of all the Greek cities and islands from Persian rule. In 333 an enormous army collected by the Persian king Darius III. (Codomannus, "Darius the Persian" of Nehemiah) was routed near Issus, on the borders of Cilicia and Syria. The gentle, handsome monarch fled in a panic, and his family fell into the victor's hands. The conquest of Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, and the long siege of Tyre, have been given in a former part of this work. Egypt was entered without opposition, and the city of Alexandria, destined to become so famous and long-enduring, was founded in 332. Alexander then passed through Palestine and Syria, crossed the Euphrates, Mesopotamia, and the Tigris, and won a final and decisive victory at Arbela, not far from the ruins of Nineveh (For the details of this great battle, readers are again referred to Creasy's Fifteen Decisive Battles). Darius fled northwards, to be slain by a treacherous satrap, and the conqueror took Babylon, Susa, Persepolis, and other great Persian cities. In 330 Alexander reached Hyrcania, and traversed Parthia. His progress constantly saw the foundation of new cities as centres of Greek culture. In 329 Bactria was reached, and two years later the swift and sweeping conqueror was in India, where, in 326, he defeated Porus, an Indian king, in the Punjab, at the river Hydaspes (Jhelum). Eastwards again he sped, until his wearied soldiers declined to follow, and in 325 a fleet constructed for the purpose took the army and its leader down the Indus to the ocean, where they were surprised by seeing the ebb and flow of the tide. The admiral, Nearchus, coasted westwards and discovered the entrance to the Persian Gulf, while his master, with terrible suffering to the troops and much loss, led the army through the desert of Gedrosia (Beluchistan). In 324 Alexander was again in Susa (capital of Persia proper), and made known his great plan of spreading Greek civilisation throughout the East, and founding a Macedonian-Persian universal empire, in which there should be entire political equality of the Eastern and Western populations. This scheme shows the greatness of Alexander's conceptions, as a statesman of comprehensive views and of prudent toleration. The religion of all the conquered was. respected, and the civil administration was largely left to native rulers. Many Macedonian officers married Persian ladies of good family, and 10,000 of the soldiers took Persian wives. The execution of this magnificent plan of civilisation was cut short by the great man's death of fever at Babylon, in the summer of 323 b.c., when he was 32 years of age.

The effect of Alexander's conquests was very important and long-enduring. In the Greek settlements which were planted and the cities which were founded by himself and his successors, the Hellenic element soon became predominant, and thus schemes of civilisation, of commercial intercourse, and of literary and scientific work were blended with military enterprises and with systems of civil administration. The Greek language became that of all cultured persons in Egypt and the Eastern world, and the native tongues only retained their place as provincial dialects. The noble oratorical and literary instrument of Pericles and Plato was the language used in political affairs, in literature, and in science, as it was also the means of intercourse among merchants, travellers, and traders. Throughout Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt the Hellenic civilisation remained in full vigour down to the time of the Mohammedan conquests, and as the earliest documents of Christianity were written in Greek, the early growth and progress of the religion were greatly aided. Beyond the Euphrates the direct influence of the Greek ascendency was not so long-lasting. In the Greek kingdom of Bactria, however (the modern Bokhara), in Hindoo philosophy and science, and in the Parthian realm of the Arsacidae, much was wrought by the Hellenic culture and spirit. It is also remarkable how the Arab conquests effected by the armed disciples of Mohammed brought into western Europe, in mediaeval times, in an altered form, Greek philosophy and learning acquired by those conquerors in the East. The Arabian teachers of philosophy, and of the arts and sciences during what have been called "the dark ages" owed far more to the Ancient Greeks than to their own original mental power.

On the sudden and premature death of the great Macedonian conqueror, many years of warfare came between the contending parties of his generals and their supporters before a settlement and division of the vast dominions was reached. The details of this horrible straggle, marked by criminal bloodshed at every turn, have no interest for us. In the end five monarchies of Hellenistic character arose, two of which, those of Pergamus and Bithynia, in Asia Minor, were of little importance, and will be seen hereafter as bequeathed to the Roman republic by their respective kings Attalus and; Nicomedes. We shall deal briefly with the other three. Egypt, for about three centuries after the death of Alexander, until its conquest by Rome, was ruled by the famous line of monarchs known as the Ptolemies. Ptolemy I., under whom Alexandria became a commercial city of the highest rank, founded the museum and library there, and was a liberal patron of science, literature, and art. In his reign the great geometrician Euclid flourished, to become so well known 2,000 years later to British schoolboys. Ptolemy II., son of the former, reigned from 285 to 247 b.c., and raised to the highest point the literary and scientific institutions founded by his father. It was he who erected the famous lighthouse on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, and he greatly promoted commerce in the Red Sea, and by caravans to and from Arabia and India. One of his literary friends, who wrote several short poems ("idyls") in his honour, was the Syracusan Theocritus, the creator of bucolic poetry as a branch of Greek literature. The Syrian dominions of Alexander became a kingdom under the Seleucidse, descendants of the first king Seleucus, one of his generals, with a capital first at Seleucia, on the Tigris, and then at Antioch, on the Orontes. We have already seen, in the history of the Jews, an important part of the annals of this realm, which we shall meet hereafter in Roman times. Macedonia, the third of these important kingdoms, brings us back to the period of Greek decline in the political sense. The end of the struggle of the "Diadochi," or "Successors," saw Cassander in possession of Greece and Macedonia. This son of Alexander's trusted officer Antipater succeeded to a position of power in Greece won by his father in the "Lamian war" of 323-322, so called from a town in Thessaly at and near which the military operations were chiefly carried on. The contest arose from an attempt of Greek states, headed by Athens, to free the country from Macedonian supremacy immediately after the death of Alexander. The democratic leaders at Athens, the immortal Demosthenes, and his pupil in oratory Hyperides, induced the states of central and northern Greece, except Boeotia, to take up arms in the common cause of Hellenic freedom. The struggle was short, sharp, and decisive, and involved tragic issues to the lives of the two Athenians whose names cast a parting gleam of glory over the period which ends in political extinction. After some success at the outset, the allies were totally defeated by Antipater at Crannon in Thessaly, and the states in succession submitted to the victor. Athens was compelled to receive a Macedonian garrison, and to give up her democratic constitution, the possession of citizenship being based on a property-census. Demosthenes fled, and, being closely pursued by the emissaries of Antipater, slew himself by poison in the temple of Poseidon, regarded as an inviolable asylum by all true Hellenes, in the island of Calauria off the coast of Argolis. Hyperides was slain at AEgina by the orders of the Macedonian conqueror, who dreaded in his eloquence, as in that of the illustrious master, the power which stirred patriotic hearts.

The oppression exercised by Macedonian kings caused the last efforts for Greek independence to be made by confederations of states, called the Achaean League and the AEtolian League. The Achaean confederacy was originally that of ten cities'on the northern coast of Peloponnesus, and we have hitherto had no occasion to notice it in the Greek history. In its new form, as revived in 280 b c a vigorous attempt was made to get rid of the "tyrants" set up in these cities, and in other states, by Antigonus of Macedonia. An important personage arose in Aratus of Sicyon, a brave general and skilful tactician, a statesman excelling in negotiation, and a thorough patriot. At the age of 20, in 251 b.c., he freed his native city from an usurper of rule, and brought it into the League, giving the confederacy thereby a great accession of power. In 245 he was elected "General," or "President," and brought into the -League many other states, including Corinth, which he delivered from the Macedonians about 240, and Athens and AEgina. Nearly all the Peloponnesian cities also joined the body except the sullen, isolated Sparta, which had entirely degenerated from her ancient simplicity of life, and was in the power of a wealthy oligarchy. Attempts were made to revive her olden system. In 244 Agis IV., one of the associate kings, thus sought to reform the state, in renewing the decayed institutions of Lycurgus, abolishing debts, and dividing the land, so as to create a large new body of citizens. The landed property had fallen into possession of about 100 families, and the number of "Spartiatse," or full citizens, did not exceed 700. At the command of the Ephors, who sought to please the corrupt aristocracy, he was assassinated by his misnamed colleague Leonidas. Cleomenes, son of this Spartan murderer, reigned from 236 to 222, and had more success in a like effort, his period of rule being a final burst of sunshine amid the clouds of his country's closing days. He had married the widow of Agis IV. Endowed with a noble soul, strengthened and purified by the best philosophy of Greece, and being a man of great energy, he gained military glory by successful warfare against the Achasan League. In 226 he turned upon the home-government, overthrew the Ephors, and made the constitution wider by admitting to full citizenship a number of the Periceci, The laws of Lycurgus were enforced, and Sparta for a very brief space of time had the semblance of her olden self. The League, under Aratus, called in the help of Macedonia, and in 221 b.c. Cleomenes, utterly defeated by their combined forces at the battle of Sellasia, north of Sparta, fled to Egypt, and died there in the following year by his own hand. In 208, after the death of Aratus, Philopcemen of Megalopolis in Arcadia, one of the few great men produced by Greece in this time of her decline, became "General" of the Achasan League. He had fought with distinguished courage at Sellasia. In 201 he again filled the post of president of the League, and defeated Nabis, "tyrant" of Sparta. After serving in the Cretan wars, he returned to Greece, and was again Strategus or General of the League in 192. The Romans were by this time assuming a position of control in Greek affairs, and Philopcemen was too prudent to provoke them to conflict. He had the credit of dealing the death-blow to the Sparta which had once been the most powerful Hellenic state. In 188 he captured the city, razed the fortifications, made an end of the institutions of Lycurgus, and compelled the citizens to live under the Achaean laws.

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Pictures for 3rd Period: Graeco-Macedonian Age, down to Roman Conquest (338-146 b.c.).

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