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Athens loses its independence - The domination of Macedonians (338-146 b.C.)

After the overwhelming victory of the king of Macedonia Philippus 2nd against the united army of the Greeks of the South at Chaeronia in 338 b.C. , Athens was forced to become an ally of the Macedonians. Thus, until the death of Alexander the Great in 323 b.C., the city follows his policy and participates to Alexander’s campaigns, although coercively. After the early and sudden death of Alexander in 323 b.C. all Greeks of southern Greece revolted against the Macedonian domination, but were totally defeated, both on earth and in the sea by Alexander’s generals, Karteros and Antipatros; as a result the Macedonian domination continued and a garrison was posted at Mounichia. It was in this period of time that the famous orator Demosthenes was expelled from Athens and killed himself, so that he would not be captured by the Macedonians.

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μεγέθυνση φωτογραφίας μεγέθυνση φωτογραφίας μεγέθυνση φωτογραφίας

From this period onwards Athens took the part of either rival who aspired to take possession of the huge dominion of Alexander. One of the most important persons involved in the quarrels of Athens with the successors of Alexander was the philosopher Demetrius Phalireus (of Phaliro), a student of Aristotle. Later on, Athens was conquered by Demetrius Poliorkitis, son of Atingonos, a general of Ptolemy of Egypt; several others followed. Throughout this period of time the Athenians revolted several times against Macedonian domination; some of these revolts proved successful, some others not. It is in these times that was constructed the famous Ptolemy’s Gymnasium, in honor of the sovereign of Egypt.

μεγέθυνση φωτογραφίας μεγέθυνση φωτογραφίας μεγέθυνση φωτογραφίας

During the reign of Philippus 5th several temples and sanctuaries in Attica, as Vravrona and Ramnounta suffered severe damages, while it is then that Rome was for the first time involved in the affairs of Greece. Despite the continuous civil conflicts, this period signs the peak of Athenian civilization, in the sense that the spirit and the ideas of the Athenians were diffused everywhere, from Rome to Central Asia; in these times the words “Greek civilization” actually meant “Athenian civilization” and wealthy men, princes and governors sent their sons to study in Athens. In fact, Athens was the seat of the most great and important University of ancient times. Several public and private buildings were constructed in this period, the most important of which was the Stoa of Attalos, funded by Attalos, the king of Pergamus who was a great admirer of Athenian civilization. Also, there was attempted to complete the huge temple of Olympian Zeus, the ruins of which are still preserved in the center of Athens.

Finally, this is the period when Athens and Alexandria in Egypt rival for the primacy in intellectual life. Letters were flourishing and Menandrus was writing his comedies. The heyday of Athens would continue for long, not only until the Roman occupation of Athens, but almost throughout the Roman period.
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