Hellenism. Powers in Egypt and Syria
The Ptolemaic empire.
The Ptolemaic empire encompassed Egypt and the areas adjacent to it from the south (Nubia, modern Ethiopia), from the northwest (Cyrenaica, the territory near Greek Cyrene, ancient Libya), as well as Sinai, Palestine, Phoenicia, Southern Syria (Kelesyria), areas of southern and southwestern Asia Minor.
The founder of the power, also called the Lagid state, was Alexander's military commander Ptolemy Lag, whose name was later assigned to all subsequent dynasties - Ptolemy II, III, etc. The Lagids controlled part of the Eastern Mediterranean and the island of Cyprus, conducting active trade in this region. Egyptian and non-Egyptian territories were very different, so the policy of the Ptolemies in Egypt and outside it was not the same. In Egypt, the nomic system that had existed since ancient times was preserved, which the Ptolemies did not change. But now the nomes were divided into smaller administrative units, and they were ruled not by a nomarch, but by a strategist. A large number of Hellenistic papyri belong to this time, from which whole archives were compiled, reflecting the economic history of Egypt. Local self-government remained in the territory outside of North Africa.
According to the structure, the Ptolemaic state was a combination of different state systems: on the one hand, eastern despotism, on the other - the polis system. On the territory of Egypt, in addition to Alexandria, there were two other major Greek cities: Navkratis, which existed since the archaic era, and Ptolemais, founded by the Ptolemies in the south. The history of the Lagid state became the history of the gradual fall away from Egypt of non-Egyptian regions: by the end of the Hellenistic period, by the 1st century BC, the empire covered the Egyptian territory proper, ceasing to exist by 30 BC, becoming a Roman province. Formally, the 30th year is considered to be the end of the Hellenistic world.
The Seleucid empire.
The Seleucid empire was the largest Hellenistic entity. His contemporaries called him Syria. By the name of the founder of the bodyguard Alexander Seleucus, all representatives of the dynasty were called Seleucids. The state included several regions: Northern Syria, Babylonia (Middle Mesopotamia), the central and southwestern parts of Asia Minor and the rapidly disappearing eastern territories of Iran, Central Asia and the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, up to India. The instability of the new formation was predetermined by the ethnic overlap. The Persian division into satrapies headed by strategists remained in the state. The satrapies were divided into smaller administrative units. Greek cities played an important role as centers of Hellenization of the Eastern peoples. The capital of the state was Antioch of Syria. In terms of governance, the state, like Egypt, was a combination of a polis system and eastern despotism. In 63 BC, the Seleucid empire became a Roman province.
The Ptolemies and Seleucids throughout the third century BC waged the so-called Syrian Wars over Southern Syria and Palestine. In addition, the tsars constantly had to deal with rebellions and national uprisings. In particular, in Judea, which was part of the Seleucid state, the Maccabean (Hasmonean) movement arose, described in the relevant books of the Old Testament. It lasted from 167 to 142 and was the result of the forced Hellenization of the areas inhabited by Jews, since the introduction of Greek religious cults caused sharp opposition in Judea. The Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees achieved independence, which lasted until the conquest of Judea by Rome in 63 BC.