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Egyptians In The Hellenistic Woodpile: Were Hekataios Of Abdera And Diodoros Sikeliotes Right To See Egypt In The Origins Of Greece?

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Chapter Summary

The reign of Ptolemy Philadelphos has been rightly seen as a period of consolidation of Hellenic rule of Egypt. The capital was definitively shifted from ancient Memphis to new Alexandria. This signified increased contact with Mediterranean and Aegean worlds. The greatest Hellenistic poets and scholars, Kallimakhos, Theokritos and Apollonios of Rhodes, all flourished under Philadelphos. The political and cultural power of Egypt, overtly retained in the first fifty years of Macedonian rule, appears to have disappeared by 282BCE. Ptolemaic military concern with Egyptians only revived in the aftermath of the Egyptian victory of Raphia in 217BCE, and no Lagid learnt to speak Egyptian before Cleopatra VII. Even one of the most apparently Hellenic aspects of Alexandria could well have had an Egyptian precedent. Museums had existed in fourth century Greece, but by far the most famous was that founded by Philadelphos in Alexandria.

Keywords: Alexandria; Egypt; Greece; Hellenistic poets; Lagid; Museums; Ptolemy Philadelphos; Theokritos



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