Cyrene, Libya

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Cyrene (Greek: Κυρήνη, Kyrēnē) was an ancient Greek colony in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.

Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar uplands. The city was named after a spring, Kyre, which the Greeks consecrated to Apollo. It was also the seat of the Cyrenaics, a famous school of philosophy in the 3rd century BC, founded by Aristippus, a disciple of Socrates. It has been nicknamed then as "Athens of Africa"[1][2][3][4]

Contents

History

The Greek period

Cyrene was founded in 630 BC as a settlement of the Greeks from the Greek island of Thera, traditionally led by Battus I, ten miles from its port, Apollonia (Marsa Sousa). Details concerning the founding of the city are contained in Book IV of Histories, by Herodotus of Halicarnassus. It promptly became the chief town of ancient Libya and established commercial relations with all the Greek cities, reaching the height of its prosperity under its own kings in the 5th century BC. Soon after 460 BC it became a republic. In 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, Cyrene supplied Spartan forces with two triremes and pilots.[5] After the death of Alexander III of Macedon (323 BC), the Cyrenian republic became subject to the Ptolemaic dynasty.

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