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Hellenistic

Pottery types characteristic of this archeological period:




It was Alexander the Great of Macedonia who conquered Persia and ushered in the Hellenistic age of Greek culture. The Hellenistic period brought both cultural and religious influences to the entire ancient world. It influenced not only the pottery types but the style of dress, architecture, and the native languages of the region. Hellenism impacted the existing Jewish community in Judea in two ways. First, it established an aristocratic society that mostly affeced the future of Jerusalem. Second, in reaction to this, a segment of the population clung to traditional Judaism and rejected Hellenism. When Alexander the Great died in his thirties from an illness in Mesopotamia, he left his empire to his military generals. The Greek Ptolemaic dynasty ruled over the land of Egypt and Judea, and the Seleucid family ruled Mesopotamia from Antioch, Syria. It was not until 198 BCE that the Seleucids won over the Ptolemies and gained Judea. Soon after the conquest of Judea, Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) denied the Jews the right to worship according to their own beliefs. Antiochus desecrated the Holy Temple by converting it into a shrine to the Greek god Zeus. In 164 BCE, the Jews revolted under the leadership of the Maccabee family, who introduced the military strategy of guerrilla warfare, and their victory was commemorated as the celebration of Chanukah. After 25 years, an independent Jewish kingdom known as the Hasmonean dynasty was finally established.

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