This video is part of a series of 16 animated maps.

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The Hellenistic kingdoms

This map is part of a series of 16 animated maps showing the history of Ancient Greece.

When he died at the age of 33, Alexander had no direct heirs, which led to the division of the empire between his generals, known as the ‘diadochi’. 

For some forty years, a period marked by partitions and wars, the diadochi squabbled over Alexander’s empire and created a number of independent kingdoms. 

- At the turn of the 4rd centuries, Ptolemy I created a solid state in Egypt, known as the kingdom of the Ptolemies; 

- Seleucus I founded the Seleucid dynasty, which ruled the eastern parts of Alexander’s Empire and soon came into conflict with the Ptolemies for domination over Syria; 

- Lysimachus reigned over large areas in Asia Minor and Thrace; 

- Cassander ruled over Macedonia;  

In addition, there were several smaller kingdoms in the area around Pergamon and Syracuse. 

Some Greek cities managed to remain independent, including Rhodes and Heraclea Pontica, while others grouped together into powerful federations, such as the Achaean League and the Aetolian League.

These Hellenistic kingdoms were personal and absolute monarchies. Power was in the hands of the Greek king and his entourage of administrators, most of whom were Greek.  They established various types of government adapted to the culture of the populations they ruled.


For example, in Egypt, the Ptolemies identified themselves with the Pharaohs and made substantial donations to the priests. Religion began to link Greek gods with local divinities.