The conquests of Alexander the Great were followed by a flood of Greek migration into the lands previously ruled by Persia. In Egypt, thanks to the survival of collections of related documents written on papyrus, it is possible to study the fortunes of some of these immigrants and their families, and of some of their Egyptian neighbors, with an immediacy provided by no other ancient source. In this book we see the engineer Kleon battling with problems of irrigation and silting, while the district officer Diophanes deals with disputes arising from the mutual hostility between two populations. Some Egyptians, such as Menkhes the village clerk and Panebkhounis the soldier, gain through their services some of the privileges enjoyed by the Greeks; the Greek cavalry officer Dryton, on the other hand, marries an Egyptian, and in the next generation his family begins to lose its Greek identity. These and other case studies compose a vivid picture of life in a country in which the native Egyptian population is dominated by a privileged and exclusive Greek minority.
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