On the bearers of civilization of the Hellenistic world

The conquests of Alexander the Great opened the nations of the ancient east to the Greeks, however, these Greeks were no Platos, Herodotus or Sophocles. They were your garden variety Greeks.

In their footsteps came a mixed company from every corner of Greece: mercenaries, peasants, traders and undefined persons without fixed occupations, sometimes also adventurers who hoped to find wealth and an easy livelihood in the lands of the Orient. Without stating that these people stood absolutely at the lowest cultural level, or that there were not among them some educated men — the example of Alexandria proves that there were — we must admit that the overwhelming majority of them were clearly neither the creators of culture nor its patrons, and it is doubtful if they were capable of shouldering the great task of diffusing Hellenism among the eastern nations.1

1 Victor Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews, p 32.