Egypt History from Hellenistic to Medieval Age

Egypt History from Hellenistic to Medieval Age

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Hellenistic age. The Persian domination ended with the occupation of Egypt by Alexander the Great (332 BC) who, although hailed as a liberator, did not reconstitute the old Egypt, but founded a new kingdom, characterized by Hellenistic elements, whose protagonists were now Greeks and not Egyptians. THE. it was first governed by Cleomenes of Naucrati, then, after the death of Alexander and the divisions between his generals, it was assigned to Tolomeo di Lago, the progenitor of the dynasty that ruled Egypt for about three centuries (321-30 BC). Like all Macedonians, the Ptolemies were largely permeated with Greek and started a process of Hellenization of the country. The indigenous element, however, was not enslaved; the sovereigns, generals and officials were Macedonians or Greeks, but native elements remained at the head of the names and in the lower roles. The political-military history of the Ptolemaic kingdom was initially aimed at affirming, against the other diadochi and epigones, the authority of the Ptolemies. Then there was the centuries-old dispute with Syria for the possession of Celesiria, which had alternating events and at times seemed to end with the Ptolemaic success, at other times it endangered the very existence of the kingdom (taking of Memphis by Antiochus IV of Syria, 169 BC). The dynastic struggles became more heated and continuous starting from the first half of the 2nd century. BC and contributed to weaken the stamina of Egypt to external pressures, among which that of Rome was emerging. The actual dominion of the Romans was established in Egypt after the battle of Actium (31 BC), which thwarted the plan of the last queen, Cleopatra VII, to reconstitute a great eastern empire. The Ptolemaic dynasty favored the civilization of the country in every way. Agriculture had a notable boost from reclamation works (Delta, Fayyum) and from the introduction of new crops and livestock species; industrial activities were strengthened and protected, trade favored by the creation of new caravans and the development of financial institutions. The market on which to place handicraft products expanded dramatically. The Ptolemaic trading empire extended to Tripoli, Lebanon, Cyprus, the entire coast of Libya and the Aegean islands, with the exception of Crete and Rhodes. The positive aspects of the mercantile policy promoted by the Ptolemies were however contrasted by the onerous taxation and excessive bureaucratization of the country. The greater use of servile labor and the competition of the slave enterprises were to the disadvantage of the free peasants and favored the formation of large estates, with consequences that in the long run would prove to be ruinous. To legitimize their power and obtain popular favor, the Ptolemies wanted to connect with ancient Egyptian history by assuming the typical prerogatives of the pharaohs. The sovereign was absolute and all branches of the administration directly depended on him, including the army which, initially consisting of Greek-Macedonians, towards the end of the 3rd century. it also welcomed natives who gradually reached high ranks. For Egypt history, please check historyaah.com.

Roman and Byzantine age. After the victory of Actium and the death of Cleopatra, Augustus rearranged the Egypt as a territory dependent on the emperor, under the administration of a governor of equestrian rank, the praefectus Aegypti, who enjoyed almost royal honors. The official language remained Greek, and the administration did not undergo substantial changes: alongside the prefect were the iuridicus for judicial affairs and the idiologus for financial affairs. The Greek cities had limited autonomy; at the head of the names were placed strategists appointed by the prefect. In the Roman period the Egypt it did not have a prosperous and peaceful life, despite the interventions taken in its favor by some emperors such as Hadrian or Septimius Severus. The region depleted considerably, especially in the countryside: much of the wealth flowed to Rome and the local magistrates exercised heavy taxation, as they were personally responsible for the sums they had to collect from their respective areas or cities. To the economic difficulties were added other factors: the racial conflicts which exploded several times in riots against the Jews, the rebellions of the natives, the external invasions, the insurrections of pretenders to the empire. In Diocletian’s reform, Egypt it was divided into four provinces and incorporated into the diocese of the Orient. The conclusive confrontation between expanding Christianity and the polytheistic Roman state dates back to the same period: the last persecution (which began under Diocletian and ended under Maximin in 311) was more bloody here than elsewhere. At the fall of the Western Empire (476), Egypt it became a Byzantine possession, remaining politically divided into the four diocletian provinces, now ruled by dukes of Egyptian origin. Heavy taxes were imposed consisting of a significant part of the grain harvest, industrial activity was limited to the marble quarries, trade with the East, previously intense, decreased when Constantinople made use of more direct lines and turned more towards Ethiopia. With the economic crisis, social life also rapidly declined:

Medieval age. In 641 the Arabs under the command of ‛Amr ibn al-‛As defeated the Byzantines and conquered the fortress of Babylon of Egypt; from here developed the city of Fustat, the center of government and the first nucleus of present-day Cairo. The country was slowly Arabized, but not entirely Islamized. It was administered by governors dependent on the central government. Ahmed ibn Tulun (868-884) extended his dominion over Palestine and Syria. Governor Mohammed ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid and his descendants reigned as autonomous sovereigns (935-969) although not completely detached from the Baghdad Caliphate. In 969 the Fatimid dynasty took possession of the Egypt at the hands of Giawhar, general of the caliph al-Mu‛izz who moved his capital there and founded Cairo. Under the Fatimids, Shiites, Egypt it became the most important country of Islam; however, they were ousted from the government by their Turkish or Kurdish generals. In 1171 Salah al-din (Saladin) proclaimed himself king of Egypt; with him begins the Ayyubid dynasty that took over Syria, conquered Mesopotamia and northern Africa up to Tripoli and occupied a large part of the Arabian peninsula. But soon the Ayyubids lost almost all the annexed territories and fell under the power of the leaders of their Turkish militias composed of slaves (mamluk), hence the name of the Mamluks who assumed the two dynasties of the Bahiriti and Burgiti. This period is full of rulers of great value: Baibars, Qalawun, Barquq, Qa’it Bey. In 1517 the Ottoman Turks defeated the last Mamluk sultan Tuman Bey in their wars of expansion and incorporated Egypt to their great empire.

Egypt History from Hellenistic to Medieval Age