The Golden Age of Greece was confined to the relatively short period of two centuries. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B. C., the vast empire he had built fell apart, and his generals tried to pick up the pieces. By that time the Greek polis no longer possessed the vitality that was reflected in the funeral oration of Pericles. Something like cultural lethargy began to settle upon the descendants of Herodotus and Socrates. The center of learning switched from Athens to Alexandria, in Egypt. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "7. Athens: Summary. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 42-43.