The Hellenistic Period
Many ancient historians (the most important being Arrhianus), wrote about the expeditions of Alexander the Great. Many modern historians and military critics have dealt with them too, and quite justly he has been considered as the greatest military leader in history.
However it is his work in spreading civilization that is of particular significance. By carrying the torch of
Greek culture and the Greek language to the sources of the Nile and the Indus rivers he widened the horizons of civilized Man. Modern excavations in the Middle East and India have corroborated and proved the facts concerning the educative work of Alexander the Great, mentioned by contemporary writers.
After his untimely death, due to a fever, he left no heirs, and his empire was divided among his generals who are known as the Epigoni. During the age of the Epigoni the cultural work of Alexander the Great was firmly established and completed. This was the beginning of the Hellenistic period. During the Hellenistic age the fine arts did not of course reach the perfection of Pheidias (500-420 B.C.) and Praxiteles (390-355 B.C.) and others, yet they cause admiration, not as antiquities, but as works of art. In the applied sciences however e.g. highway construction, bridge building, harbor works, astronomy, geodesy etc. the Hellenistic period added great glory to Greek Thought.
The harbor works of one of the many cities of Alexandria, Alexandria on the mouth of the Nile, were colossal works of engineering. According to the prevalent opinion this library was burned when Julius Caesar conquered Alexandria in 47 BC. The library of Alexandria in Egypt, founded by one of the Epigoni, Ptolemy the Philadelphus (304-247 BC), comprised of 700.000 papyrus manuscripts. The other theory, that the library was burned by the Arab Khalif Omar in the Seventh Century AD, does not seem to correspond to the truth. The destruction of the Alexandria library and that of the library of Pergamos, on the Asia Minor coast, which contained 200.000 papyrus manuscripts were a dire blow to Greek culture and to the civilization of the Western World.