The decline of the system of the city-state and the prevalence of the monarchy, which entailed the decrease of the citizens' power and the restriction of their involvement in public matters, brought about additional changes in the social system, which was indissolubly associated with the monarchy. Also, the citizen's ideal -which predominated in classical democracy- was replaced by the pursuit of wealth and the strong ambition for social upgrade. These were the new values of the Hellenistic world, where the individual as the subject of geographically huge states, now acquired a "cosmopolitan" consciousness.

A characteristic of this new period was the increasing inequality in wealth distribution and the emergence of a middle class aristocracy. Wealthy citizens became wealthier, while the income of lower social classes decreased. These conditions, in combination with the increase of slavesm, caused great discontent among the economically weaker classes of the population. As a result, there was an incitement to seditions near the end of the 2nd century and also in the 1st century BC a period during which the Roman dominion expanded in the Hellenistic world.

The mobility of the population and the immigrations of Greeks towards the new kingdoms contributed to the spread of Greek cultural elements and to the creation of the koine, -a new language bearing elements of old Greek dialects- in geographical regions extending to the depths of the East. The foundation of Greek cities and military settlements, the cradles of Greek institutions, contributed significantly to this procedure. Finally, the coexistence of Greek and local cultural elements led to interactions and to cultural pluralism.

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Note: Click on the small photo to enlarge it.

01. The Hellenistic world after the battle of Ipsus, in 301 BC.

02. Constant wars during the Hellenistic period resulted in the increase in the number of slaves throughout the Mediterranean. This subject was a source of inspiration for the New Comedy. Photo: clay figurine of a comedian from Amphipolis representing a slave. He is standing on a pedestal with his right hand on his mask and his left one behind his back. Second half of the 4th century BC.