General overviews

Published overviews | Web overviews | Maps

Published overviews

Almost nothing on the web surveys the Hellenistic age holistically, integrating political history with other aspects of culture. The best introductions are, of course, on paper. These are the contenders.

Amazon. Alexander to Actium : The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age by Peter Green. The Amazon reviews are not all particularly eloquent, but they split like the reviews below. Some dislike his "negative" approach, some love the scholarly detail and sweep. Also available in hardcover.

Reviewed by David Potter BMCR 2.6. Potter's review is quite critical.

Green's reply (BMCR 5.4) attacks Potter's review as a "malicious ... ad hominem hatchet job."

University of California Press lengthy blurb.

Amazon. The Greek World After Alexander, 323-30 BC by Graham Shipley (2000). Also available in hardcover.

Reviewed by Ian Worthington, BMCR 1-3-11.

"Readers will no doubt make comparisons and contrasts with Green especially, which is a tour de force and more wide-ranging. However, S.'s book is more reader-friendly, thanks to its structure, and the narrative is less verbose and does not grind so many axes. ... The structure of the book is one of its great strengths. S. deals with dynasties, regions and topics within individual chapters.... Thus, the reader does not need to keep jumping around from one chapter to another and getting miffed at having to do so as in the case of those books which take a thematic or chronological approach."

Amazon. The Hellenistic World by F. W. Walbank.

Reviewed by Edmund F. Bloedow, BMCR 94.4.

"While Walbank did indeed provide a 'lucid and authoritative' account in his first edition..., and while it may well be (partly by reason of being most up-to-date at the time) "the best book available in English" (Lane Fox), it is not the most readable. Welles' Alexander and the Ancient World (Toronto 1970), of comparable length, while now admittedly less up-to-date, was none the less more readable and scarcely less informative."

Amazon. Greece and the Hellenistic World by John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray et al. Part of the Oxford History of the Classical World. (OUP blurb)

Web overviews

"The Hellenistic Period in World History" By Stanley M. Burstein. A brief history masquerading as a "pamphlet." Go to and print!

Hellenistic Civilization: An Almost Modern World from Antiquity Online (Frank E. Smith).

A Hellenistic Bibliography: History and Society by Martijn Cuypers. Long, but not as comprehensive as Cuypers' literary bibliographies.

Internet Resources for the Study of Hellenistic History.

The House of Ptolemy. Ever-growing portal of information on Hellenistic Egypt and more (Adam D. Philippidis) Also read its review in BMERR (Marjorie Venit).


Map of the Hellenistic world in 240 BC, from Project Zeuma / Anthony Comfort.

If you enjoy this site you may like these other sites by me:

Ancient Library and the Wiki Classical Dictionary. My exciting new site about the ancient world, with thousands of pages of reference works and an interactive classical dictionary

Cleopatra on the Web. Comprehensive guide to Cleopatra VII of Egypt in history and the Western imagination

Alexander the Great on the Web. Over 1,000 links and 200 images of the Macedonian conqueror