Egyptians held some of the lower posts, but only in the priesthoods could they retain wealth and influence.
There was friction at times; for example, a camel driver complained of nonpayment because “I do not know how to behave like a Greek.” Still, there were few slaves outside the cities, and double names attest the gradual acceptance of some Egyptians into the upper echelons of society.
The great Temple of Artemis, a little way off, was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Ptolemaic Egypt represented, in the words of the 20th-century historian Frank William Walbank, “a large-scale experiment in bureaucratic centralism and in mercantilism.” There was a constant need to import material not readily available at home, such as the timber and pitch required for warships and the mercantile fleet and also gold.
Aqueducts brought water from the mountains to flow in water conduits along the east-west streets and through terra-cotta pipes along the cross streets.
It was a city noted for its luxurious living, as the magnificent mosaics of the Roman period from Antioch itself and the fashionable suburb of Daphne demonstrate.
The king, in theory, claimed all the land and let it to peasants on short leases, providing the seed-corn but requiring its equivalent to be returned.
The oil-producing crops were state monopolies; so were mines, quarries, salt, nitre (saltpetre), and alum.
There was military government alongside a complex financial administration responsible for collecting rents and taxes.
At the same time, the local finance offices were instructed (a document survives) to encourage the peasants, protect them from disaster, and ensure the sowing of the correct crops.