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The Rise of the Hellenistic Kingdoms 336–250 BC (Hardback)

Ancient History Military

By Dr Philip Matyszak
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 168
Illustrations: 16
ISBN: 9781473874763
Published: 16th September 2019


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When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, he left an empire that stretched from the shores of the Adriatic to the mountains of Afghanistan. This empire did not survive Alexander's death, and rapidly broke into several successor states. These states, substantial kingdoms in their own right, dominated Asia Minor, Greece, the Levant and Egypt for the next three hundred years.

While Philip Matyszak’s narrative covers their remarkable contribution of the Eastern Greeks in fields such as philosophy, science and culture, the main focus is on the rivalry, politics and wars, both civil and foreign, which the Hellenistic rulers constantly fought among themselves. As in other fields, the Successor Kingdoms were innovators in the military and diplomatic field. Indeed, their wars and diplomatic skirmishes closely presage those of eighteenth century Europe and the superpower rivalries of the twentieth century. The complex interaction of these different kingdoms, each with its own character and evolving military systems, combined geopolitics and grand strategy with diplomatic duplicity, and relentless warfare. The epic story of the successor states is full of flawed heroes, palace intrigue, murder, treachery, incest, rebellion and conquest.

Featured in

Greece & Rome, Volume 86: Issue 2 - Journal of Classics Teaching

This is a good overview of the heyday of the Hellenistic kingdoms, one of the most interesting periods of Ancient history, if not always one of the best documented!

Read the full review here

History of War

As featured by

VaeVictis, n° 150 - March/April 2020

It is satisfying to read a book which plugs a gap in the history timeline.

Read the full review here

John's Machines

The story of Ancient Greece, its City States, Kingdoms, Empire, heroes and Alexander is gripping stuff and this book tells its part of the story very well. There is a photo-plate section in illustration but this is a narration of an exciting story with heroes, false heroes and much action – Very Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


Featured 'ON THE BOOK SHELF' by Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, August 2019

A good overview of the Rise of the Hellenistic Kingdoms that places the considerable changes of that period within the ruthless political context. It is comfortably written in that it is not an academic text but a reasoned and readable narrative that takes us through the period and its characters. The point is well made that these changes occurred during the period of two lifetimes which given the scale of change is thought provoking. Recommended.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Dr Philip Matyszak

Philip 'Maty' Matyszak holds a doctorate in Ancient History from St John's College, Oxford University, and has been studying, teaching and writing on the subject for over twenty years. The author of over twenty books, he specializes in the history of Classical Greece and of the Late Republic and Early Imperial periods of Rome but has also written two historical novels. Maty saw combat as a conscript in the Rhodesian army and served with the Territorial Army in Britain. These days he splits his time between writing in his home in Canada's Monashee Mountains and providing e-learning courses for Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education.

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