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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.
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THE HELLENISTIC AGE
These splendid cities in the Orient were the centers of much literary activity. Their inhabitants, whether Hellenic or "barbarian," used Greek as a common language. During this period Greek literature took on a cosmopolitan character. It no longer centered in Athens. Writers found their audiences in all lands where Greeks had settled. At the same time literature became more and more an affair of the study. The authors were usually professional bookmen writing for a bookish public. They produced many works of literary criticism, prepared excellent grammars and dictionaries, but wrote very little poetry or prose of enduring value.
THE MUSEUM AT ALEXANDRIA
The Hellenistic Age was distinguished as an age of learning. Particularly was this true at Alexandria, where the Museum, founded by the first Macedonian king of Egypt, became a real university. It contained galleries of art, an astronomical observatory, and even zoological and botanical gardens. The Museum formed a resort for men of learning, who had the leisure necessary for scholarly research. The beautiful gardens, with their shady walks, statues, and fountains, were the haunt of thousands of students whom the fame of Alexandria attracted from all parts of the civilized world.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy