The term Hellenism designates the era of classical antiquity or Ancient Age in which, after the expeditions and conquests of Alexander the Great and his early death, the dissolution of the Greek polis took place, while a process of diffusion and appropriation began of the Hellenic culture.
This period covers from the last third of the fourth century BC until the fall of Egypt in 30 BC and the consolidation of imperial Rome.
Hellenism was marked by a process of “acculturation” in which non-Hellenic peoples began to adopt elements and values of Greek culture. As indicated, in this period there was an extraordinary diffusion of Greek philosophy, the arts, mythical thought and scientific thought, aspects that fascinated the invaders of the Hellenic world.
This was a consequence of the new channels of political history, which had given way from the Greek polis to the universalizing monarchy of Alexander the Great, then to the monarchies of his successors and, finally, to the consolidation of the Roman Empire.
According to some sources consulted, the word “Hellenism” comes from the verb Hellenizen, which means ‘to speak Greek’. Therefore, by extension, all those who adopt linguistic and cultural features of this culture will be “Hellenistic”. This use of the term was recorded in the book of the Acts of the New Testament apostles .
Thus, while Hellenism indicates a period of history, it also indicates a tendency of reception and reworking of Greek culture, which implies a particular way of relating to it.