The long road to baghdad thesis

How far did this country under Greek rule become Greek? This is best illustrated by parallel conditions in Egypt. In the dry clear air of Egypt documents of the Ptolemaic period have been preserved in large numbers, and from these we can learn a good deal about the Hellenization of the country, whilst in the humid climate of Syria such documentary material is comparatively rare. From Egypt we learn that all official business was conducted in Greek, and it was necessary for anyone aspiring to a post in the civil service to know Greek. Manuals still exist to help aspirants to acquire a knowledge of the Greek language and material survives to show how far they succeeded in doing so. Apparently the Egyptians found Greek a very difficult language and in most cases their mastery of it was very defective. It is quite clear that it never really became the language of the country. Egyptian was used in the home and in the markets, only those who wished for government employment tried to get a command of Greek. Even in Greek colonies like Alexandria and Coptos, where Greek was the language of the citizens, there was a large class, mostly occupying its own quarter of the city, which used only the native speech. In Greek cities the citizens formed only a privileged ruling class, often a minority. Outsiders (metics) who settled in the city and persons of the native subject population, as well as slaves, had no rights as citizens. Thus the Greek language, and with it Greek culture, customs, and religion were confined to the ruling class and had very little influence on the people of the villages, the tijlers of the soil, and the subject community generally. Then again there often was intermarriage, and the home generally used the vernacular and inclined to sink back into native ways. This Seems to have applied equally to Syria. The Greek language was used by the ruling class in the greater towns, it was used by officials throughout the country, but it produced only a Greek surface beneath which the native population remained, not unaffected by Greek influence but affected only slightly by it.

The long road to baghdad thesis

the long road to baghdad thesis

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