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The greeks in Libya

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Chapter Summary

The eastern part of the Libyan coast is a natural extension of the Aegean world, within easy reach of Crete: it is not a long sea journey between the two. The Libyan tribes practised agriculture as well as animal rearing, but they lacked collective organisation and were nomads: both of these would probably facilitate the implantation of a settled population of Greek agriculturists. And no more in Libya than elsewhere was the presence of indigenous peoples a deterrent to Greek enterprise and settlement, often at their expense. The Greek settlement of Libya, or at least of Cyrene, which became much the largest and most prosperous Greek foundation there, holds a conspicuous place in modern discussions of the expansion of the Greek world in this period. In a different field the incorporation of eastern Libya in the Persian empire may have had more significant long term effects.

Keywords: Cyrene; Greek enterprise; Greek settlement; Libya; Persian empire



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