We now turn to another aspect of Indian
intercourse v^ith the West—the trade v^ith Egypt.
The Hellenization of Egypt was one of the most
important results of Alexander's conquests, for
Egypt became the true centre of Greek culture
in the Hellenistic world, after Athens had dwindled
into insignificance. The pott of Alexandria was
admirably chosen as the site of a great town.
Not only does it tap the vast resources of the
opulent country which lies along the banks of
that great waterway, the Nile, but it enjoys an
almost ideal situation as an emporium for trade
between Europe and the East. It is on the Medi¬
terranean, yet within easy distance of the head of
the Red Sea. Alexandria is still an undying
monument to the imperial genius of the great
Macedonian whose name it bears. Like Con¬
stantinople, Baktra, and some other towns, it
stands at the meeting-place of nations, in a spot
destined by the" nature of things to play a great
part in the history of the world.
Many circumstances concurred, in the two
centuries before Christ, to make the Red Sea