Is Hellenistic Greece Ancient Greece?

The history of ancient Greece is divided into several periods, each one characterized by unique cultural and political developments. One of these periods is known as the Hellenistic period, which followed the Classical period and lasted from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the annexation of Greece by the Roman Republic in 146 BCE. But is Hellenistic Greece considered ancient Greece

The answer is yes. While it’s true that there are distinct differences between the Hellenistic and Classical periods, they are both part of ancient Greek history. The term “ancient Greece” refers to the period from around 800 BCE to 146 BCE, which encompasses several different periods, including Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic.

What were the main differences between these periods

During the Archaic period (800-480 BCE), Greeks developed their political institutions and began to colonize new territories around the Mediterranean. The Classical period (480-323 BCE) saw a flourishing of art, literature, philosophy, and democracy in Athens. It was during this time that famous philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle lived and taught.

The Hellenistic period (323-146 BCE) was characterized by a shift towards larger empires and more centralized power structures. It was a time when Greek culture spread throughout much of Asia and Africa thanks to Alexander’s conquests. The Hellenistic era saw significant advances in science, mathematics, and engineering.

How did these changes affect Greek culture

During each period of Greek history, there were significant changes in art, literature, politics, philosophy, religion, and social norms. For example:

  • Archaic art was stylized and often depicted mythological scenes.
  • Classical art was more realistic and focused on human anatomy.
  • Hellenistic art was more emotional and dramatic, with a focus on movement and expression.
  • Classical literature emphasized heroic characters and epic poetry, while Hellenistic literature explored more personal themes like love and loss.
  • Classical politics were focused on the city-state, while Hellenistic politics were more focused on empire-building.


In conclusion, while the Hellenistic period brought significant changes to Greek culture and society, it is still considered part of ancient Greek history. The term “ancient Greece” encompasses a range of different periods, each with its unique characteristics and contributions to Western civilization. Understanding these differences is essential to understanding the rich legacy of ancient Greece.