Hellenic Trade Routes, 300 BCE

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Illustration

by Jan van der Crabben
published on 26 April 2012

Alexander the Great died in Babylon on the 13th of June, 323 BCE. His Macedonian-Greek empire broke apart, but Alexander’s heritage was felt throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for centuries. Three Hellenic empires emerged from the wars of succession that followed his death: The Antigonid Empire in Macedonia, the Seleucid Empire in Persia and Mesopotamia, and the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt. Hellenic culture was kept alive and spread all across the known world: often with the sword, but even more successfully through trade.

The Ptolemaic influence extended from Carthage in the Maghreb via Alexandria in Egypt to Meroë in Nubia. Ptolemaic trade routes extended as far south as Abyssinia and Somaliland in Africa, as well as to India by sea trade. The Seleucid influence extended from Antioch in the West via Seleucia in Babylonia and Persepolis in Persia to Bactra, the gateway to the Asian steppes… and to Xian in China along the Silk Road. By these routes, Greek culture was exported, and exotic goods such as elephants, ivory, pearls, and silk were imported into the Mediterranean.

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Museum/Archaeological Site Links

  • Hermann Kinder, Werner Hilgemann, dtv Atlas der Weltgeschichte (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1995)

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