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[[File: Antiochus_III.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left| Bust of a Hellenistic Era Ruler Believed to Be Antiochus III in the Louvre Museum]]
The era of Greco-Roman history known as the Hellenistic Period (336-31 BC) is often overlooked and sometimes trivialized by historians and classicists. Some experts argue that the era was lacking in the artistic beauty and cultural significance of the earlier Greek city-state period: most of the great Greek philosophers were pre-Hellenistic and most of what are considered Greece’s finest works of art and architecture were made before 336 BC. On the other hand, other scholars content that the Hellenistic Period lacked the geopolitical significance of the Roman Empire. Augustus was able to do what no Hellenistic king could by uniting the entire Mediterranean basin under one government. With all of that said, the Hellenistic Period was still a very important part of Greco-Roman culture.
The Hellenistic Period was essentially a bridge that joined the Greeks and Romans into what experts of “big history” refer to as “Hellenic Civilization.” It was a period of turmoil, war, and expansion, when Macedonian Greek kings eschewed democracy but attempted to spread other elements of Greek culture to the east. Among the Hellenistic kings, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire was one of the greatest. From his throne in the newly founded city of Seleucia, Antiochus III influenced the greater Hellenistic world by waging wars against Ptolemaic Egypt and Rome and by recognizing the native Babylonian culture, while promoting Hellenism within the kingdom.