The Greek Period in Egypt

 Παιδί που κοιμάται- ελληνιστική περίοδος- Αλεξάνδρεια

Βιβλιοθήκη Αλεξανδρείας- Τμήμα Ελληνορωμαϊκών αρχαιοτήτων

(Κείμενο στην αγγλική)

When Alexander the Great entered Egypt in 332 BCE he met with little resistance from the occupying Persian administration. Persians were hated by the native Egyptians for contemning the Egyptian religion and traditions, and also because of the violence that was exerted to assume control over them, Alexander was therefore welcomed by the Egyptians.
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Alexander showed respect and esteem to the Egyptian gods. He visited the Oracle of Amon at the Siwa Oasis, renowned in the Greek world, and it disclosed the information that Alexander was the son of Amon.

It is certain that he initiated the foundation of the great city which was to bear his name on the site of the Rhakotis village. Alexander left in 331 BCE, Egypt was only part of the Empire which Alexander had conquered from the Persian king.

When Alexander died in 323, his Generals divided up the Empire. Perdicas, the holder of Alexander’s royal seal, failed to take Egypt, but Ptolemy, son of Lagos, did. Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy’s descendants for three centuries that ended by the suicide of Cleopatra VII in August 30 BCE.
The character of the Ptolemaic monarchy in Egypt set a style for other Hellenistic kingdoms. This style emerged from the Greco-Macedonian political awareness of the need to dominate Egypt and its resources and its people, and at the same time to turn the power of Egypt towards the context of a Mediterranean world to compose a large empire.   

The last century of Ptolemaic rule is usually depicted as a rather gloomy stalemate; a period of decline in which the kings were merely puppets of Rome.

The last and most famous of the Ptolemaic rulers, was Cleopatra VII, she intended to revive of the Ptolemaic Dynasty through the Roman Generals. The first victim of her charm was Julius Caesar, one of the greatest Roman leaders. After he left Egypt, Cleopatra was pregnant with a son whom she named Caesar then to be known as Ptolemy Caesarion.

Following Julius Caesar’s death, came Marcus Antonius, and let us not ignore Cleopatra’s ambitions to make Marcus Antonius help restore the great imperialist days of her ancestors. Marcus Antonius helped Cleopatra set a temporary stability which was ravaged by the Roman leader Octavian or Augustus, when they met at the naval battle at Actium, in western Greece, in September 31 BCE. It proved to be the swan-song of the once great Ptolemaic navy, and the once great Ptolemaic kingdom.

Antonius and Cleopatra fled to Alexandria, and ten months later Alexandria was conquered, and Cleopatra died on 12 August, her son Caesarion too. Then Rome was declared as an Empire and Egypt as a Roman state.

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