FROM THE HELLENIC TO THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD Hellenic Greece was an era of small city states marked by a combination of a fierce individualism and an equally fierce commitment to the local polis. Like Buddha with his "Golden Mean," Aristotle held that finding a balance between extremes is an important part of wisdom. The Athenians had trouble finding that balance and it contributed to their unwillingness to make peace with Sparta and to their ultimate defeat, just as it contributed to the collective defeat of the individualistic city-states at the hands of Alexander's disciplined Macedonian army. By the time Alexander the Great died in 323, Greece had entered a different era. The Hellenistic Age, when Greek ideas but not Greek power dominated the Eastern Mediterranean, is dated from Alexander's death to Rome's conquest of Greece in 146 B.C., but a few threads of Greek thought continued to develop until barbarians began to invade the Roman Empire around 235 A.D. During the Hellenistic Period, Greeks continued to fan outward from the denuded hills and
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