Alexander the Great & the Hellenistic World

HIST 4013/5013 • Spring 2024

This course counts towards the Histories of Global Cultures and Societies & Histories of Conflict, Justice, and Peace Concentrations

Alexander mosaic

The Battle of the Issus. Alexander is on the far left, Darius is right of center. Mosaic from Pompeii, 1st century CE

Instructor: Dr. Charles E. Muntz
Time: MWF 9:40-10:30 am 
Place: KIMP 411
Dr. Muntz's Office: 408 Old Main 
Office Hours: Mon 1:00-2:30 and by appointment.
Phone: (479) 575-5891 


The class will examine one of the most famous figures of the ancient world, Alexander the Great, and the new political and social order that he helped create. We begin with Alexander’s early life and the political situation that caused his father Philip II to plan an invasion of Persia. After Philip’s death we will follow Alexander as he fulfills his father’s goals, and then moves well beyond them as he takes his army as far as India. We will conclude our study of Alexander by looking at his legacy and influence both in the ancient world and the modern. In the second part of the course we will examine the Diadochoi, the successors of Alexander the Great. But we will look at not only the political and military history of this period, but also the intellectual and artistic achievements that helped to spread Hellenistic culture all over the Mediterranean and Near East. Finally we will look at the coming of Rome, and the role that Hellenistic culture and society played in the formation of the Roman Empire. 

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduates)

  • Students will be able to evaluate the ancient sources for the Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic period and the problems with using them.
  • Students will understand the evolution of the Alexander the Great’s empire and the successor states.
  • Students will understand the development of Greek culture in art, literature, philosophy, and other fields.
  • Students will be able to describe the relationship of the Greeks and Macedonians with the various Near Eastern kingdoms and peoples they ruled

Learning Outcomes (Graduates) - all of the above, plus

  • Engage with and evaluate modern scholarship on the Hellenistic World
  • Assess historiographic trends on the Hellenistic World

Attendance/Covid Policies

This is a face-to-face class, and students are expected attend as long as they are healthy. But the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing, so if you feel sick you should not come to class. Get tested - take-home tests are readily available - and if it is positive let the instructor know ASAP. The Health Center page has instructions on how long to isolate.

If you have to miss class, for Covid or any other reason, you need to take responsibility for finding out what we went over that day - think of it as an opportunity to make friends with your classmates, so you can borrow and copy notes. And of course, if you have any questions about material you can ask me. Extensions for paper deadlines and alternatives to the graded class discussions will also be available as needed, but again you need to email me for instructions.


Exams: There will be an in-class midterm on February 26, and a final exam on May 6, 10:15-12:15. Study guides will be distributed in class ahead of time. Bring an exam book!

Paper 1: The first paper (1600-1800 words) will evaluate two accounts of the same event which both drew on the same original source, due February 9 by 5pm

Paper 2 (Undergrads): The second paper (3200-3600 words) will evaluate and analyze three different accounts of Eumenes of Cardia, due May 3 by 5pm.

Paper 2 (Grads): The second paper (3500-4000 words) will be a research paper on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the professor. Please see this page for an introduction to the basic research tools for the ancient world. Due May 3 by 5pm.

Formatting guidelines 
Grading policies

Participation: Certain class periods are set aside for class discussions. Questions based on the primary sources to get things started can be found here, but feel free to raise other issues or questions on your own. Grading policies for discussions can be found here. 

Grading Breakdown:

Paper 1: 15% 
Paper 2: 30%
Midterm: 15% 
Participation: 15% 
Final: 25% 

Reading Materials 

Information on Transliterating Greek text 

Required Texts:
Austin, Michel. The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest. 2nd ed. ISBN 0521535611
Romm, James, ed. The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander. ISBN 1400079675
Fowler, Barbara. Hellenistic Poetry: An Anthology. Wisconsin, 1990. ISBN 0299125343 

Online translations of Alexander sources
Plutarch: Life of Alexander
Diodorus Siculus Book 17: Chapters 1-16 Chapters 17-39 Chapters 40-63 Chapters 64-83 Chapters 84-103 Chapters 104-118
Justin’s Epitome of Pompeius Trogus: Book 11 Book 12


Academic Integrity: As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is  only possible when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail.

Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with and abide by the University’s ‘Academic Integrity Policy’ which may be found at Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact their instructor.

Equal Access: University of Arkansas Academic Policy Series 1520.10 requires that students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact me privately at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through the Center for Educational Access (contact 479-575-3104 or visit for more information on registration procedures). 

Unauthorized Websites or Internet Resources: There are many websites claiming to offer study aids to students, but in using such websites, students could find themselves in violation of our University’s Academic Integrity and Code of Student Life policies. These websites include (but are not limited to) Quizlet, Bartleby, Course Hero, Chegg, and Clutch Prep, as well as AI such as ChatGPT. The U of A does not endorse the use of these products in an unethical manner. These websites may encourage students to upload course materials, such as test questions, individual assignments, and examples of graded material. Such materials are the intellectual property of instructors, the university, or publishers and may not be distributed without prior authorization. Furthermore, paying for academic work to be completed on your behalf and submitting it for academic credit is considered ‘contract cheating’ per the Academic Integrity Policy. Students found responsible for this type of violation face a grading penalty of ‘XF’ and a minimum one-semester academic suspension per the University of Arkansas Sanction Rubric. Please let me know if you are uncertain about the use of a website.

Unauthorized Recording by Student: Recording, or transmission of a recording, of all or any portion of a class is prohibited unless the recording is necessary for educational accommodation as expressly authorized and documented through the Center for Educational Access with proper advance notice to the instructor. Unauthorized recordings may violate federal law, state law, and university policies. Student-made recordings are subject to the same restrictions as instructor- made recordings. Failure to comply with this provision will result in a referral to the Office of Student Standards and Conduct for potential charges under the Code of Student Life. In situations where the recordings are used to gain an academic advantage, it may also be considered a violation of the University of Arkansas' academic integrity policy.

Recording of Class Lectures: By attending this class, student understands the course may be recorded and consents to being recorded for official university educational purposes. Be aware that incidental recording may also occur before and after official class times.

Unauthorized Use and Distribution of Class Notes: Third parties may attempt to connect with you to buy your notes and other course information from this class. I will consider distributing course materials to a third party without my authorization a violation of my intellectual property rights and/or copyright law as well as a violation of the University of Arkansas' academic integrity policy. Continued enrollment in this class signifies your intent to abide by the policy. Any violation will be reported to the Office of Academic Initiatives and Integrity.

Please be aware that such class materials that may have already been given to such third parties may contain errors, which could affect your performance or grade. If a third party should contact you regarding such an offer, I would appreciate your bringing this to my attention. We all play a part in creating a course climate of integrity.

Inclement Weather: If the University cancels in-person classes due to winter weather, I will hold lecture classes via Zoom at the normal time. The link will be distributed by email beforehand. I will record the lecture and make the recording available for a limited time for those who are unable to attend. If it would be a discussion, it will be postponed until the next in-person class, and I will deliver the next lecture by Zoom instead.

Miscellaneous: Please turn off and put away all cell phones and any other non-course related items and finish any food you might be eating before coming into class. Drinks are acceptable. Please remain seated during class - if you need to use the lavatory, do so before or after class. 

Daily Topics and Reading Assignments

Week 1 
January 17: Introduction 

January 19: Persia and the Greeks  

Week 2
January 22: The Sources for Alexander 

January 24: Discussion: The Sources and Youth of Alexander
    Arrian, Book 1 preface
    Diodorus 1.1-5
    Plutarch, Alexander 1-14

January 26: The Accession to the Throne
    Arrian 1.1-11

Week 3
January 29: The Invasion of Persia
    Arrian 1.12 (p. 23-28)

January 31: The Battle of the Granicus
    Arrian 1.13-1.29
    Diodorus 17.17-21

February 2: The Battle of the Issus
    Arrian Book 2 

Week 4 
February 5: Alexander in Egypt
    Arrian 3.1-7

February 7: Gaugamela
    Arrian 3.8-3.30

February 9: The New King? / First Paper Due 
    Finish Arrian Book 3 

Week 5 
February 12: Discussion: Alexander and Orientalism
    Arrian 4.1-15
    Curtius 8.1-8

February 14: The Invasion of India
    Arrian 4.16-5.19

February 16: To the End of the World…
    Arrian 5.20-6.19 

Week 6 
February 19: The Return Home
    Arrian 6.20-6.30, start Book 7

February 21: Discussion: The Death of Alexander
    Arrian Book 7 remainder
    Plutarch, Alexander 70-77
    Diodorus Siculus 17.104-118

February 23: The Legacy of Alexander

Week 7
February 26: Midterm

February 28: The Sources for the Hellenistic World

March 1: Alexander’s Funeral Games
    Austin #26-28, 30-31, 34-39 

Week 8 
March 4: The Wars of the Diadochoi
    Austin #47-59

March 6: Hellenistic Literature 1
    Select works of Callimachus (Fowler p. 41-69)
    Sections from Aratus (Fowler p. 251-258)

March 8: Macedon and the Greek states 1
    Austin #60-77, 142

Week 9
March 11: Macedon and the Greek states 2
    Austin #101-105, 107-113, 115, 117-118, 122-124, 129-130, 132, 135, 136-138, 143, 148, 150, 156

March 13: Hellenistic Art 1
    Apollonius: The Argonautica, Book 1 (in Fowler)

March 15: Hellenistic Science
    Apollonius: The Argonautica, Book 2

Spring Break!

Week 10
March 25: Hellenistic Art 2
    Apollonius: The Argonautica, Book 3

March 27: Discussion: Hellenistic Literature 2
    Apollonius: The Argonautica, Book 4

March 29: Seleucids 1
    Austin #158-164, 166-184

Week 11
April 1: Seleucids 2 and the Kingdom of Pergamum
    Austin #185-194, 224-233

April 3: Ptolemies 1
    Austin #254, 256-260, 262-268, 271, 274-277, 283-284, 292-294

April 5: No class, Dr. Muntz is at a conference

Week 12
April 8: No class, Dr. Muntz is at a conference

April 10: Ptolemies 2
    Austin #296-299, 301-308, 312-315, 317, 319, 326 

April 12: Discussion: Ptolemies 3 
    Selections from the Diophanes Archive (Enteuxeis Papyri)

Week 13
April 15: Hellenistic Religion
    Austin #42-46, 258, 295

April 17: Discussion: Hellenistic Literature 3
    Select poems of Theocritus (Fowler p. 3-37)
    Select mimes of Herodas (Fowler p. 235-248)
    Moschus, Europa (Fowler p. 261-265)

April 19: The Coming of Rome
    Austin #77-100

Week 14
April 22: Rome and Hellenistic Culture
    Plutarch, Life of Cato the Elder

April 24: The Decline of the East
    Austin #195-210, 218-223

April 26: Discussion: Hellenism and the Jews
    1 Maccabees
    Austin #214-217

Week 15
April 29: Hellenistic Art 3

May 1: End of the Hellenistic World
    Austin #222-223, 286-291 / Second Paper Due

May 3: Final paper due by 5pm

Final Exam
May 6, 10:15-12:15