Herod, who supplanted the Hasmonaean dynasty (37-34 B.c,) made, outside Judaea, a display of Phil-hellenism, building new Greek cities and temples, or bestowing gifts upon the older ones of fame.
Antecedents had marked him out as the natural head of the new Greek state, in spite of his successful defence of Missolonghi, had been discredited by failures elsewhere; and the Greeks thus learned to despise their civilized advisers and to underrate the importance of discipline.
Commercial enterprise now found open roads between the Aegean and India; the new Greek cities made stations in what had been for the earlier Greek traders unknown lands; an immense quantity of precious metal had been put into circulation which the Persian kings had kept locked up in their treasuries (cf.
While new Greek cities were rising in the interior, the older Hellenism of the western coast grew in material splendour under the munificence of Hellenistic kings.
The fashionable accomplishments of the day, and the new Greek culture, were wholly alien to his taste.
The case was different when the Jews were dispersed through the new Greek kingdoms, and lived in cities like Jerusalem and Alexandria, centres of wealth and luxury, inhabited by mixed populations; this form of debauchery then became commoner and better organized.