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Essay: Exploring the Hellenistic Period and Alexander the Great's Legacy

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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
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  • Words: 798 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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The Hellenistic period is known as the time between the death of Alexander the Great, the leader of the Greek Kingdom of Macedonia, in 323 B.C. and the conquest of the territory by Rome in 31 B.C (Simonin, 2011). I think that it is extraordinary that Alexander built the an empire that stretched from Greece to India because it is the largest empire that is known by the ancient world. Although Alexander’s empire was fragile, I believe that he greatly influenced ideas and culture for the East Mediterranean to Asia long after his death- the Hellenistic Period. The word “Hellenistic” means “to speak Greek or identify with the Greeks” (History).

It astonishes me that he became the ruler of the Greek Kingdom of Macedonia at only 20 years old when his father, Philip, II was assassinated (History, 2018). Upon hearing about Thebes’ revolt, Alexander led an army that destroyed Thebes. I am currently 20 years old and can not imagine claiming the Macedonian throne and killing my rivals at such a young age. According to legend, whoever untied the knot connecting the pole of Gordius’ chariot with the yoke would rule all of Asia. After many failed attempts, Alexander the Great cut the knot with his sword- claiming victory. This brought me so much shock and disbelief because it seems like he cheated his way through the challenge. In my opinion, it seems silly that he conquered Asia through the slicing of the knot with his sword. Alexander the Great led and won many battles including the battles against Issus, Tyre, and Persia. I believe that Alexander is a shrewd and ruthless leader who craved Macedonia’s world domination. Although his soldered were severely injured from the war against India, Alexander wasted to continue and try to conquer all of India. This makes me feel upset and angry that his insatiable urge for world domination has caused so many wars, injuries, and deaths.

Under the reign of Alexander the Great, sculptures transitioned from the time before the Classical Period to the time of the Hellenistic Period. In my my opinion, I prefer the sculptures from the Hellenistic period because they resemble a human body more accurately. My point of view is that the sculptures from the time before the Classical Period looks awkward and unrealistic. I think that the order and logic in Greek sculpture is portrayed well because the body parts are in proportion to one another and the body is standing in a more natural pose. Greeks may have celebrated human form. However, Greeks believed that showing emotions was uncivilized. If I were to do something differently, I would include emotions into the Greek sculptures because I believe that emotions are what makes individuals humans.

The first Greek sculpture of a fully nude woman was created by Athenian Praxiteles (Dargahi, 2018). Although females nudes remain standard throughout antiquity, I do not prefer them because nude female sculptures bring up uncomfortableness in me. Furthermore, I do not prefer the Nike of Samothrace sculptural style that depicts a windblown gown against the figure’s body because it reminds me of a scary ghostlike figure that I would see in a horror movie. Although Rome ruled Greece, I feel like Greece culturally ruled Rome because the Romans copied a lot of original sculptures that were created by Greeks. I believe that Greece has a powerful cultural impact on Rome’s artistic ideals.

Plato’s idealism states that the truth lays in an abstract ideal, meaning that the truth exists more clearly in our minds than in the natural world. Unlike Plato’s Idealism, Aristotle’s empirical philosophy states that true statements about the natural world could be made through methods of observation. This is called the empirical investigation. (Dargahi, 2018). I strongly agree with Aristotle’s empiricism in which we gain knowledge through the experiencing of events through our senses. I believe that after an individual perceives a sense, he or she may form his or her own ideas about the truth of the natural world. Aristotle stated that our knowledge is based on our reasoning from what we observe (a posteriori) (Dargahi, 2018). I believe that the best way to learn about the world is through seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. For instance, when a child is born, they are creating their own truths about the natural world by actively exploring with their senses. I learn that the rain is cold through touching and feeling and being in the rain. I think that empiricism is a good thing for me because I can learn what to permit or what to avoid by experiencing positive or negative events. Overall, I think that Aristotle’s empiricism is extremely important to science because it asked that knowledge should be tested empirically rather than through philosophical contemplation.

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