Following the death of Alexander the Great, and the subsequent division of his empire into smaller kingdoms ruled by his successors’ dynasties, Athens came under Macedonian rule.
The city attempted many times to reclaim its independence and to restore its democratic polity. Even during those intermittent periods when it achieved these goals, however, its autonomy remained nominal, limited to internal affairs and dependent upon the benefactions of wealthy individuals.
Nevertheless, the brilliance of its past allowed Athens to survive, and to remain the educational and cultural centre of mainland Greece. Thanks to this heritage, many rulers of the Hellenistic kingdoms donated magnificent buildings to the city and dedicated extraordinary sculptures on the Acropolis.