44

Prior to Phillip's time, the ancient Greek world was fragmented in (often warring) city states and kingdoms, and citizenship was considered far more important than nationality or ancestry. Pericles' reforms (451 BC) exemplify the distinction: From that point on Athenian citizens would lose their citizenship if they married non Athenians, regardless of their ...


27

I'm not quite sure why you think this would be a problem. A Prytaneum was a building, with a roof, and presumably doors that could be closed and windows that could be shuttered. While modern westerners tend not to have open fires indoors, the methods of keeping a fire alight indoors during rain without suffocating had been established for thousands of years.


25

Alexander, for the most part, left things unchanged in the lands he conquered. He didn't impose Greek customs, respected (or perhaps ignored) local religions and cultures and allowed a certain degree of self government that, for several of the territories of the former Achaemenid empire, was quite a refreshing change. Not everyone under his rule accepted him,...


21

I think the first time he is mentioned as "Alexander the Great" (at least in the sources known to us) is Quintus Curtius Rufus' "Historiae Alexandri Magni Macedonis", this "Magni" has been translated into English as "Great". Here it clearly refers to his talent as a military leader which allowed him to build up a huge empire. Quintus Curtius Rufus was a ...


17

You asked if anyone could explain the joke that killed Chrysippus. I doubt that anyone can; humor is very difficult to translate across cultures. (My second language was German, and I spent far too long trying to understand German humor until I relaxed and accepted that it was just different). I believe the joke relies on the incongruity raised by an ...


15

Figs were extremely expensive and a status symbol at the time in Athens, the equivalent of good caviar now. To give someone the "sign of the fig" is still an obscene or rude gesture, as "fig" is slang for the female genital organs, and figs were the apples in some versions of the story of Adam and Eve, so again, it could be translated in several ways. ...


14

Actually, it wasn't intended specifically to set an example, but it did serve to deliver a message that he was not someone who was going to just go away. Alexander's father, Phillip, was murdered in 336 BC, leaving Alexander to rule in his place. Many states, including Thebes and Athens, rose up in revolt when they heard the news. Alexander responded ...


12

In hindsight, the Ancient Greek heavy infantry were vastly superior to the Persian armies. It was precisely their battles - Marathon, Thermopylae, Plataea - that demonstrated this. Before those battles, no one knew that the Greeks had a superweapon in the form of the Hoplite Phalanx in their hands. The Greeks were busy fighting each other. As great as the ...


11

The Greeks had demonstrated military superiority over the Persians for many years. Both Cimon and Agesilaus had led successful expeditions into Persian territory. That Persia maintained its dominant position over Greece had not so much to do with their own military capabilities, but rather because of the incessant warfare amongst Greek cities. Their focus on ...


10

I voted up lins314159's answer. I would like to add a couple of things though. The vast majority of Alexander's empire actually started his tenure as the Persian's empire. So a great deal of credit (and attention) should be paid to all the work they did to put that empire together. However, Persia's loss of the Persian-Greek wars 100 years earlier had ...


10

Alexander apparently received that epithet from the Romans, who admired him. The oldest surviving reference of the title is found in the Mostellaria ("The Haunted House"), a play written by Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BC). This roughly a century or so after Alexander's death in 323 BC. Tranio: Alexandrum magnum, atque Agathoclem, aiunt maxumas Duo ...


8

As one more piece of evidence, Philip Freeman in his biography Alexander the Great judges thus: The question of Macedonian language and ethnic identity is one of the most contentious topics in classical scholarship, the debate often driven more by modern Balkan nationalism than the small amount of ancient evidence we actually possess. I incline to ...


8

Question: Why didn't the Persians create good infantry units? The defeat at Marathon, Platea, march of the 10,000, and the hold up at Thermopylae would really suggest the need for some heavy infantry that can fight on a par with the Greek Phalanx. How much of your infantry really needs to be very mobile? The battle of Gaugamela also displayed the ability ...


7

Today I stumbled across Machiavelli's answer to this question (at least with reference to the Persian Empire) in chapter 4 of The Prince, where he writes, Considering the difficulties which men have had to hold to a newly acquired state, some might wonder how, seeing that Alexander the Great became the master of Asia in a few years, and died whilst it ...


7

Here's a picture of the fallen columns at Olympia: Here's one from Ephesus: Those puppies look pretty solid to me.


6

According to the main authoritiy on ancient astronomy and astrology, Otto Neugebauer, astrology was introduced to Hellenistic world from Babylon. (If you not know who he is, look at this Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Neugebauer). Here is what he writes on Egypt in general: Egypt provides us with the exceptional case of a highly ...


5

Depictions of bow hunting were prevalent in Minoan art, even prior to 2000 BCE when the Minoan culture was thought to have started flourishing (until 1500 BCE). While the bow is an effective hunting tool, it's also a good defense weapon for sea-faring cultures. The Minoans traded extensively with Egypt and mainland Greece, among other Mediterranean cultures ...


5

Ptolemy Egypt was ultimately Hellenistic in origin and fell into the wars of succession after Alexander the great died. Ptolemy III was the height of their reign, after that the Ptolemies faced several issues...infighting and succession being the largest. Their challenges: 1) War with Seleucid. There were several conflicts (6 in total https://en.wikipedia....


5

Against the Romans, Alexander would have lost. Several hundred years later, when Perseus of Macedon fought the Roman army, the Macedonians found it hard to keep the line strait and their ranks unbroken, so once there was a gap, the Romans would rush in and massacre the people left and right. The Macedonians with a ridged command structure and armed with ...


5

Alexander was called "the Great" by historians shortly after his death in his early 30s. During his short life, we conquered essentially all of the modern Middle East and Egypt, starting with a base of Macedonia, a kingdom near Greece. In the process, he defeated much larger, mostly Persian armies, in an unbroken series of battlefield victories and ...


5

I think I found the source of this theory. Google scholar has turned up this 1930 book: From Orpheus to Paul a History of Orphism. One recent publication that cites it is a 2008 thesis of Stian Sundell Torjussen from the University of TROMSØ. I'll quote a passage from p.40 there: Orphism was thus seen as taking a step beyond Greek religion, forming the ...


5

In terms of surviving records, it seems there are almost none. In the paper, Recreating the Ancient Greek Javelin Throw: How Far Was the Javelin Thrown?. The authors observe: We have no direct records of how far the ancient Greeks could have thrown the javelin in their athletic festivals. To our knowledge ... the only reference to the distance that the ...


4

Artillery comprises large, heavy engines throwing large, heavy missiles. Size is important in an artillery crew because a larger man can perform the same tasks of loading and aiming the engine faster, and longer without fatigue, than a smaller man. These are plain physical attributes of the technology being discussed. Artillery propels missiles on a ...


4

The three Greek philosophers were: Carneades ex Academia (Cyrene 214/3–129/8 BC), Critolaus Peripateticus (Phaselis c.200-c.118 BC) and Diogenes Stoicus (Seleucia c.230 – c. 150/140 BC). Some sources are listed in Wiki: Plutarch, Cato Maj. 22; Aulus Gellius, VII. 14; Macrobius Saturnalia i. 5; Cicero, de Orat. ii. 37, 38.


4

He was part of the common Greek collection of tribes and cities. He was from Greek parents Olympias who came from a Molossian royal family that traced its origins to Neoptolemus, the son of the greatest hero of the Trojan War, Achilles. Philip came from a Macedonian family that traced its origins to the Peloponnesian Greek city of Argos and Hercules/Heracles....


4

The Persian army at Marathon was (as at Thermopylae) at a serious disadvantage because of the terrain, which favoured the much smaller defending force tremendously. Their failure to win in both cases is more to blame on the leadership insisting on frontal assaults on a narrow front against a force trained and equipped specifically to deter such an assault ...


3

Another question is why did the Greeks develop good heavy infantry. Heavy infantry required a lot of discipline, mutual trust, and nerve--if part of the line broke, everyone's life was at risk (whereas in a cavalry rout individuals could still get away). If you look at other good heavy infantry units in history, such as Flemish or Swiss pikemen, they all ...


3

The Charisma - Macedonian soldiers were ready to go with Alexander, because they loved their leader and didn't just go with him because of fear of him. The War techniques - Alexander was "great" at designing new techniques at war. For example, He let the war chariots go inside his line and made his warriors attack the chariots from behind. The chariots then ...


3

You have the right idea, but it is a little off base. I can explain. You probably already know about Alexander the Great and his conquests. Throughout the Afro-Eurasian continent, Alexander set up garrisons, or small military towns, to rule over a certain area and claim it for Macedonia. The soldiers in these areas set up their own societies, with Greek ...


3

The atlatl is a Mesoamerican tool for spear throwing that has been used in war, hunting, and fishing alike. The use and effectiveness of thrown spears were attested by the chronicler of Mexico's conquest, Bernal Diaz del Castillo. An article from 1891 which I have not obtained, The Mexican Atlatl or Spear-Thrower, includes "several descriptions of the manner ...


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