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CHAPTER IV GRAECO- ROMAN

by Salo W. Baron
CHAPTER IV GRAECO- ROMAN ASSOCIATION HEN Alexander the Great’s armies injected the new dynamic force of Hellenism into the Orient, the Jew-ish communities of the Persian diaspora had behind them a centuries- old religious, political and organizational history. Alexander and his successors, the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucidae in Syria and Babylonia, at first backed only by a small minority of Macedonians, hesitated to interfere with the established mores, religious practices and organiza-tional forms of the heterogeneous groups living under their rule. Only in the newly- founded cities, which waxed in num-bers and affluence, did truly Hellenistic constitutional formsprevail. 1  Since the Jews were often found among their earli-est settlers, however, these new emporia of trade and cul-ture likewise preferred to respect the Jewish communities as autonomous units. Alexander’s appeal to his subjects, for example, to populate the newly- founded Egyptian me-tropolis, Alexandria, undoubtedly found eager listeners among the Jews of his empire. One of the most dispersed of ethnic groups, they had for generations been inured to a minority status in the industrial and commercial centers of the entire Near East. Sometimes there occurred forcible mass deportations of Jews from province to province. But generally little persuasion was needed to induce them to set-tle in the new cities under favorable terms. Among the numerous inducements were guarantees of 75 W   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

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CHAPTER IV GRAECO- ROMAN ASSOCIATION HEN Alexander the Great’s armies injected the new dynamic force of Hellenism into the Orient, the Jew-ish communities of the Persian diaspora had behind them a centuries- old religious, political and organizational history. Alexander and his successors, the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucidae in Syria and Babylonia, at first backed only by a small minority of Macedonians, hesitated to interfere with the established mores, religious practices and organiza-tional forms of the heterogeneous groups living under their rule. Only in the newly- founded cities, which waxed in num-bers and affluence, did truly Hellenistic constitutional forms prevail. 1 Since the Jews were often found among their earli-est settlers, however, these new emporia of trade and cul-ture likewise preferred to respect the Jewish communities as autonomous units. Alexander’s appeal to his subjects, for example, to populate the newly- founded Egyptian me-tropolis, Alexandria, undoubtedly found eager listeners among the Jews of his empire. One of the most dispersed of ethnic groups, they had for generations been inured to a minority status in the industrial and commercial centers of the entire Near East. Sometimes there occurred forcible mass deportations of Jews from province to province. But generally little persuasion was needed to induce them to set-tle in the new cities under favorable terms. Among the numerous inducements were guarantees of 75 W < < C h a p t e r >> Home | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com
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