Discuss what happened to Alexander's vast empire after his death. Include names of individuals where appropriate.

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alexander died young and had only one heir, his young son, who was murdered shortly after Alexander's death. He had left no orderly administration, and as a result, after some conflict, his empire was divided between his three leading generals:

  • Antigonus: occupied Macedon and Greece. His dynasty controlled the area until it was conquered by the Romans much later. The Antigonian empire was frequently in conflict with the leading Greek city states, although both continued to flourish until Roman occupation.
  • Ptolemy:took Egypt, and established the Ptolemaic line of Pharaohs which included Cleopatra. Her brother with whom she ruled jointly for a brief time was Ptolemy IV. The capital of Ptolemaic Egypt was Alexandria, a city founded by Alexander. This was the wealthiest portion of the former empire, and it remained under the rule of the Ptolemy's until defeat by the Romans in 31 B.C. An interesting note: the first word translated on the Rosetta Stone (which made translation of heiroglyphics possible) was the name "Ptolemy."
  • Seleucus: took the former Persian Empire. His line ruled that area until they were defeated by the Parthians. The Seleucid Empire was smaller than the others; yet it was ultimately the determining factor which caused the spread of Greek culture throughout the area.