That culture was naturally Aramaic; they wrote a letter to Antigonus "in Syriac letters," and Aramaic continued to be the language of their coins and inscriptions when the tribe grew into a kingdom, and profited by the decay of the Seleucids to extend its borders northward over the more fertile country east of the Jordan.
Half a day's journey beyond Sura, on the Mesopotamian side of the river, are the extensive ruins of Haragla (Heraclea) and Rakka, once the capital of Harun al-Rashid (Nicephorium of Alexander; Callinicus of the Seleucids and Romans).
The more orthodox or conservative Jews preferred the tolerant rule of the Ptolemies: the rest, who chafed at the isolation of the nation, looked to the Seleucids, who inherited Alexander's ideal of a united empire based on a universal adoption of Hellenism.
But the greater part of the empire continued to exist under new masters, the Seleucids, as a Hellenistic power which was of great importance for the dissemination of Greek culture in the East.
Three solid kingdoms had thus emerged from all the fighting since Alexander's death: the kingdom of the Antigonids in the original land of the race, the kingdom of the Ptolemies in Egypt, and that of the Seleucids, extending from the Aegean to India.
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