II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 4. The Spread of Religions, 300 B.C.E.–500 C.E.
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
4. The Spread of Religions, 300 B.C.E.–500 C.E.
 
Many of the world-views that emerged during the Axial period spread across the boundaries of civilizations, creating new communities with shared ideals. These new-style communities combined urban and herding societies and spread throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, providing new bases for interregional relations.  1
 
a. The Spread of Hellenism
 
Hellenism's spread outward from the Greek city-states received a major impetus from the conquests of Alexander the Great (See 336) late in the 4th century B.C.E. From the Mediterranean basin to northern India, Alexander's forces aided the spread of Hellenistic ideas, urban structures, and political concepts. For three centuries, the successor states to Alexander's empire developed Hellenistic institutions and ideas in the Middle East, making them an important part of the general cultural framework in that region. In northern India and central Asia, Greek themes blended with local traditions creating distinctive cultural syntheses. This blend, which was reflected in art and sculpture, reached a high point in the Buddhist sculpture of Gandhara in the 1st century C.E. Hellenistic artistic influence has been traced as far east as China.  2
 
509–44 B.C.E
 
The ROMAN REPUBLIC emerged as the dominant force in the Mediterranean basin. Roman culture was strongly influenced by Hellenism, especially after the Roman conquest of Greece in the 2nd century B.C.E. In general terms, the Roman Empire was a distinctive but clearly Hellenistic society by the 1st century B.C.E. Hellenism provided at least some important artistic and cultural themes for societies all across the Eastern Hemisphere.  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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