How did Alexander the Great help to spread Greek culture?

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The simple answer is that Alexander the Great spread Greek culture by conquest. Wherever Alexander went, Greek culture went with him. As well as being a fierce warrior, Alexander was also a man of considerable learning. A pupil of the great philosopher Aristotle, he reputedly slept with a copy of...

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The simple answer is that Alexander the Great spread Greek culture by conquest. Wherever Alexander went, Greek culture went with him. As well as being a fierce warrior, Alexander was also a man of considerable learning. A pupil of the great philosopher Aristotle, he reputedly slept with a copy of Homer's Iliad under his pillow.

Alexander shared the common prejudice of his time that Greek culture was the best in the known world and must be spread as far and wide as possible. But if this were to happen, it was essential that the right people were in place to administer the vast tracts of land conquered by the great Macedonian warrior. To that end, Alexander put one of his generals, Ptolemy, in charge of Egypt. The dynasty that Ptolemy established ruled Egypt for almost three centuries. During that time, Egypt became a renowned center of Greek learning, with the great Library of Alexandria as its crowning cultural achievement.

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Alexander waged perhaps the most astonishing military campaign in history. From his ascension to the throne of Macedon in 336 BC to his death in 323, Alexander conquered most of the known world. As he conquered Asia, he brought the Greek language and culture with him; this process was known as "Hellenization." He also founded as many as 70 cities, each of which was settled by Greek-speaking colonists. Moreover, Alexander instituted a single system of coinage in his empire; this helped to unify the eastern and western portions of his kingdom.

Alexander's empire fell apart shortly after his death, but the influence of Greek culture remained. Thus, when the Romans eventually wrangled control of its ruins, they retained Greek as an international language of diplomacy (much as French was throughout most of modern European history and English is today). In these ways, Alexander helped spread Greek culture across the world.

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