Friday, July 25, 2008

Egypt's Greco-Roman Period

Alexander the Great's liberation of Egypt from Persian rule was the end of the Egyptian kings for quite some time. He built a new capital in Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean sea, and called it Alexandria.
After Alexander's death the empire split into many parts, with the most powerful generals each ruling a section. Egypt eventually fell under the reign of Ptolemy. The Greeks did adopt some of the Egyptian customs and traditions, but they still spoke Greek and held onto their Greek customs.
"Egypt" is a Greek word that has survived the centuries. The Egyptian word for "Egypt" is "kmt" or "kemet." The Greek rulers and people thought that they were better than the lower class Egyptians.

The Romans became involved when Cleopatra VII argued with her half-brother as to who should succeed the throne. She invited Julius Caesar and the Romans to step in to settle the dispute. Cleopatra sided with Mark Antony and lost against Augustus Caesar and Rome took over Egypt's rule. No foreigners were hated as much as the Romans were. Christianity in Egypt came about because of Roman rule.
The early Egyptian Christians were called Copts. It was the Copts who used religion as a tool to stir up trouble in the Roman empire.