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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

III. MINGLING OF EAST AND WEST AFTER 359 B.C.

Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


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Page 17

CITY LIFE IN THE ORIENT

More significant for the history of civilization than these kingdoms were the Hellenistic [14] cities, which from the time of Alexander arose in every part of the eastern world. Some were only garrison towns in the heart of remote provinces or outposts along the frontiers. Many more, however, formed busy centers of trade and industry, and became seats of Greek influence in the Orient. Such cities were quite unlike the old Greek city-states. They were not free and independent, but made a part of the kingdom in which they were situated. The inhabitants consisted of Greeks and Macedonians, comprising the governing class, together with native artisans and merchants who had abandoned their village homes for life in a metropolis. In appearance, also, these cities contrasted with those of old Greece. They had broad streets, well paved and sometimes lighted at night, enjoyed a good water supply, and possessed baths, theaters, and parks.

[14] The term "Hellenic" refers to purely Greek culture; the term "Hellenistic," to Greek culture as modified by contact with Oriental life and customs.

ALEXANDRIA

In the third century B.C. the foremost Hellenistic city was Alexandria. It lay on a strip of flat, sandy land separating Lake Mareotis from the Mediterranean. On the one side was the lake-harbor, connected with the Nile; on the other side were two sea-harbors, sheltered from the open sea by the long and narrow island of Pharos. [16] The city possessed a magnificent site for commerce. It occupied the most central position that could be found in the ancient world with respect to the three continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The prosperity which this port has enjoyed for more than two thousand years is ample evidence of the wisdom which led to its foundation.

[16] The lighthouse on the island of Pharos was considered one of the "seven wonders" of the ancient world. The others were the hanging gardens and walls of Babylon, the pyramids, the Colossus of Rhodes, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the statue of Zeus at Olympia.

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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IN PRINT

Rediscovering the Path to Europe Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

Learned Freeware

 

Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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