Alexander lecture notes 28.9.09 Ptolemaic Egypt (disadvantages

Alexander lecture notes 28.9.09
Ptolemaic Egypt (disadvantages)
Bureaucracy = tighter grip on people
BUT (advantages)
o Average life expectancy increased by at least 5 years by the middle of the Ptolemaic
o Literacy rates increased by AT LEAST 10%
o Increase in food and food distribution
o Increase in medical care and medical advancement funded by the Ptolemies
o Child mortality rates decreased at least 13%
o Water supply and better sanitation
The Seleucids (322-63BC)
Founder: Seleucus I Nicator (358-281BC)
o Bearer of victory
o Association with Apollo (as his dad)
o Birthmark of anchor (supposedly Alexander had the same one)
o Commander of silver shields
Original capital of Seleucid empire = Seleucia on the Tigris (305-240BC)
Moved to Antioch (240-63BC) because of threats on territory
o Absolutism
o Totalitarianism
o Autocracy
o Despotism
o Theocracy
o Less centralization of power
o More autonomy
o Less rigid administration
Administrative breakdown
o Cities
 “common” for example, nationality, language, etc
 The cities were made up of people with commonalities like so
o Hegemonies
 Leader of city-states
o Principalities
o “hieratic” statelets
 Leader of religious cults
o Division of land: royal land and alliance
Obligations to the crown
o Payment of annual tribute and taxes
o Provision of military aid and resources
o To supply and accommodate royal forces
o Accommodation of royal emissaries-clerks
o Block passage to enemy forces
Rights and privileges
o Right to self government
o Right to elect rulers in own traditional way
o Right to maintain own political institutions
o Right to conduct foreign/internal affairs
o Right to have an embassy at capital
o Right to maintain legal system/courts
o Right to mint own coins
 Pseudo-autonomous = not by central mint
The revenues:
o Exploitation/auction of state assets
o Customs
o Tribute and taxes
o Fines and impounds
o Booty
Tax system
o Unit of labor
o Unit of land
o Head tax
o Galatian tax – “protection tax”