Virtually, every society has pieces of art and architecture that mean something to that society. From the age of the pyramids to the age of skyscrapers, pieces of art and architecture have always had a deeper meaning. Scholars of history have particularly been interested in Greek art and architecture, as it is one of the earliest forms of civilization. One of the people who propelled Greek art and architecture to greater heights is Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great is known for his world conquests; his armies overpowered enemy kingdoms and expanded his territory. He created a big empire stretching all the way from Asia to Greece through to Egypt and India. On the one hand, the exploits of Alexander the great show great political and military strength. However, in as much as the Greek empire grew, a number of challenges were faced from a Greek perspective (Boardman, John, Jasper Griffin, and Oswyn 56).
Politics is not the only building block of society; culture and traditions do count in too. By conquering the world, Alexander the Great put the Greece culture at risk in a number of ways. The new cultures of the world threatened to disrupt the Greek culture and art. Ancient Greeks culture was always associated with scientific and mathematical advances. As Alexander expanded his territory and political power all over the world, he exposed his culture to diffusion. Cultural diffusion occurred in two ways; even as the Greek culture was spread all over the world, so did the world culture diffuse into the Greek culture. The culture picked up from around the world gave birth to the Hellenistic culture, which was a blend of various cultures including Egyptian, Persian and Greek cultures. This was bound to occur because some forms of art and architecture can be transported while others can be copied easily.
Even centuries after the death of Alexander the Great, Greek culture and art continued to be felt and expressed in different parts of the world. Some of the art and architectural expressions that were known Greeks only became part of other cultures. That indicates the impact of Alexander the great in the architecture and art of Hellenistic Greece. In fact, the Hellenistic art period is said to have begun around the time of the death of Alexander the great. The reign of Alexander was instrumental to Hellenistic period, as it opened the way for the blending of different cultures.
One key element of Alexander’s influence on art is the Lion of Ectaba - one that scholars have linked to Hephaistion, who was once a friend to Alexander before his death. The statute of the lion is said to signify the memorial of a friend. Alexander is known to have commissioned the making of a bronze table ornament in the form of Herakles, who is a well-known ancestor of the monarchy bloodline (Heckel, Waldemar, and Lawrence 101).
The final sculpture of the statute is said to have been carried along during the period of his campaign. The remains of the statute would later be found in the ruins of a palace in Nineveh, even though the kantharus was absent. Antiochus II is said to have introduced the depicted image as a coin type during his reign in the mid-third century. The coin became an immediate success; it became a widely used currency embraced in several areas.
Another area influenced by Alexander the great is the world of drama and performance art. During his stay in Ectaba in 324, Alexander the great was treated to an entertainment filled with performers and actors from all over Greece. It was a new thing that many Greeks had not been accustomed to. Nevertheless, from that period onwards, drama and art performance became part of Greek culture. Greek theater remained in use for a number of years before the rise of the Roman Empire. With the rise of the Roman Empire, much of Greek’s art and architecture began to lose its luster.
In conclusion, art and architecture are crucial to any given society or civilization. Greek art and architecture, especially in the times of Alexander the great, continues to attract the interest of scholars to date because it was one of the earliest forms of civilization. The elements discussed in the paper show the impact brought about by Alexander the Great during his time as a Greek ruler. The growth of his empire came with a number of changes to Greek art and architecture. For example, visual art associated with Greeks found its way to other parts of the world. However, as much as Greek art and architecture were spread to other areas, his reign led to the diffusion of Greek culture. Other cultures with different art and architectural expressions began to influence Greek art and architecture. This period became the Hellenistic age, where various art and architectural forms were blended.
Boardman, John, Jasper Griffin, and Oswyn Murray. The Oxford Illustrated History of Greece and the Hellenistic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
Harris, Ann S. Seventeenth-century Art and Architecture. London: King, 2005. Print.
Heckel, Waldemar, and Lawrence A. Tritle. Crossroads of History: The Age of Alexander. Claremont, Calif: Regina Books, 2003. Print.
Palagia, O. “Art and Royalty in Sparta of the 3rd Century B.C.,” Hesperia 75,205-217 2006.