History of Greece

s, the most famous of which were the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt. Other states founded by Greeks include the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Greco-Indian Kingdom in India. Although the political unity of Alexander's empire could not be maintained, it brought about the dominance of Hellenistic civilization and the Greek language in the territories conquered by Alexander for at least two centuries, and, in the case of parts the Eastern Mediterranean, considerably longer.

Hellenistic and Roman periods

After a period of confusion following Alexander's death, the Antigonid dynasty, descended from one of Alexander's generals, established its control over Macedon by 276 B.C., as well as hegemony over most of the Greek city-states. From about 200 B.C the Roman Republic became increasingly involved in Greek affairs and engaged in a series of wars with Macedon. Macedon's defeat at the Battle of Pydna in 168 signaled the end of Antigonid power in Greece. In 146 B.C. Macedonia was annexed as a province by Rome, and the rest of Greece became a Roman protectorate. The process was completed in 27 B.C. when the Roman Emperor Augustus annexed the rest of Greece and constituted it as the senatorial province of Achaea. Despite their military superiority, the Romans admired and became heavily influenced by the achievements of Greek culture, hence Horace's famous statement: Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit ("Greece, although captured, took its wild conqueror captive").

Greek-speaking communities of the Hellenized East were instrumental in the spread of early Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and Christianity's early leaders and writers (notably St Paul) were generally Greek-speaking, though none were from Greece. However, Greece itself had a tendency to cling on to paganism and was not one of the influential centers of early Christianity: in fact, some ancient Greek religious practices remained in vogue until the end of the 4th century,