The Conquests Of Alexander The Great

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Introduction The conquests of Alexander the Great ushered in a new era in the political and cultural history of the Near East. In their wake, both the Jews of Judaea and their brethren in a rapidly expanding diaspora were subjected to radical forces of social and cultural change. These changes, effected by the introduction of Greek culture into the lands of the Near East that led to the emergence of the phenomenon commonly known as Hellenism, greatly transcended the purely political vicissitudes that were destined to envelop this part of the inhabited world. One of the striking features of Second Temple history is the fact that most Jews, not only in the Diaspora but in Palestine as well, never experienced complete Jewish sovereignty. The…show more content…
A Jewish diaspora was already in existence from the late seventh century: Jews had been deported to the Babylonian area at least as early as 597, and Jeremiah 52 speaks of two more deportations, in 587/586 and about 582 BCE. As for Egypt, at least one colony existed ay Elephantine, probably from the seventh century. This continued, with Jews emigrating or being forcibly taken to Egypt in the period of the Diadochi. The result is that by the early Hellenistic period a considerable Jewish diaspora existed, with Jews living in Egypt and Mesopotamia and later in Asia Minor, as well as Syria and Palestine. The people bore the name of ‘Jews’ (Greek) after their ancestral homeland of Judah. The Ptolemaic Period 320 - 198 BC The 40 years of fighting after Alexander’s death finally came to an end with the death of the main protagonists by the year 280 BCE. Much of the third century BCE was dominated by the Syrian wars. These constituted an ongoing conflict between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires over Syro-Palestine. As noted in the previous chapter, the council of visitors after the battle of Ipsus (301 BCE) had awarded this region to Seleucus because Ptolemy had not participated in the battle; however, Ptolemy occupied the area up to the Eleutherus river, north of Tripolis, and refused to concede the territory. In 301 BCE Ptolemy took Palestine once more and this time Egypt retained it for the next
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