Philosophical Europe ||| The Political Progress ||| European Witness ||| EU News
European Forum ||| Special Homages: Meister Eckhart / David Copperfield
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.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 18
The chief city in the kingdom of Syria was splendid and luxurious Antioch. It lay in the narrow valley of the Orontes River, so close to both the Euphrates and the Mediterranean that it soon became an important commercial center. The city must have been a most delightful residence, with its fine climate, its location on a clear and rapid stream, and the near presence of the Syrian hills. In the sixth century A.D. repeated earthquakes laid Antioch in ruins. The city never recovered its prosperity, though a modern town, Antakia, still marks the site of the once famous capital.
Asia Minor, during this period, contained many Hellenistic cities. One of the most important was Pergamum, the capital of a small but independent kingdom of the same name. Its rulers earned the gratitude of all the Greeks by their resistance to the terrible Gauls. About fifty years after Alexander's death this barbarous people, pouring down from central Europe, had ravaged Greece and invaded Asia Minor. The kings of Pergamum celebrated their victories over the Gauls with so many works of architecture and sculpture that their city became the artistic rival of Athens.
One other great Hellenistic center existed in the island city of Rhodes. Founded during the closing years of the Peloponnesian War, Rhodes soon distanced Athens in the race for commercial supremacy. The merchants of Rhodes framed admirable laws, especially for business affairs, and many of these were incorporated in the Roman code. Rhodes was celebrated for art. No less than three thousand statues adorned the streets and public buildings. It was also a favorite place of education for promising orators and writers. During Roman days many eminent men, Cicero and Julius Caesar among them, studied oratory at Rhodes.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy