colonization, Hellenistic

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Plutarch (c. 46—120 ad) Greek biographer and philosopher

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Plutarch, in his eulogy of Alexander 2 the Great, made the foundation of cities the linchpin of the achievement of Alexander, who wished to spread Greek civilization throughout his realm, and it is true that Alexander's conquest opened the countries of the near east to Greek immigration. The Greeks, however, could envisage only life in cities with Greek‐style houses, streets, public buildings, civic institutions, and a rural territory where the colonists could hold plots of land (klēroi; see cleruchy). Begun by Alexander, usually as military colonies rather than cities proper (Alexandria in Egypt is an exception), this policy was followed by his successors (see diadochi) and developed further by the Seleucids. All their foundations received a Greek and/or Macedonian population. However, the Graeco‐Macedonian dominance in the new cities implies neither an enforced Hellenization of the local peoples nor their marginalization. (See hellenism.)

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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