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Improved techniques of work affected the lives of the many, and town-planning together with the easier economic conditions of private persons produced better housing in many places.
But neither philosophy nor science meant much even to the middle class in the Greek-speaking cities.
There are signs that much of the literature now lost was fairly popular in character.
Figurative art certainly had a wide appeal, as can be deduced from the amount of cheap, but graceful, figurines of this period.
The words Hellenism and Hellenistic have a long history in which the text of the Acts of the Apostles 6:1 plays a central part because it opposes Hebraioi to Hellenistai. Scaliger) this text was interpreted to imply a contrast between Jews who used Hebrew and Jews who used Greek in the synagogue service. Heinsius developed the notion that Jewish Hellenistai used a special Greek dialect (lingua hellenistica), which is reflected in the Septuagint translation of the Bible. Salmasius denied the existence of such a special dialect (1643), but the notion of a special lingua hellenistica to indicate the Greek of the Old and New Testaments remained in circulation until the middle of the 19 century in Germany, J. Herder used Hellenismus to indicate the way of thinking of Jews and other Orientals who spoke Greek. Matter specifically connected the word Hellénisme with the thought of the Greek-speaking Jews of Egypt. In 1833 he published a volume on Alexander the Great; and in 18 he published two volumes of Geschichte des Hellenismus embracing the century 323–222 He intended to continue his work in further volumes, but never did so, and it is not quite clear from what he says whether his original intention was to reach the age of Muhammad or to stop with Augustus. Classicism notwithstanding, literature and art developed new styles, characterized by realism of detail and a tendency toward the idyllic and the pathetic.
In 1877–78 he published a second (considerably modified) edition of these three volumes under the title of Geschichte des Hellenismus (which now included the reign of Alexander). Modern scholars have recognized local trends not only in literature but also in art.
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Since Droysen, many historians have reexamined the political and constitutional history of this period; they include B. There was also a revival (perhaps a transformation) of Pythagorean groups, which began to look like a religious sect.
The foundation of new cities (especially in the Seleucid kingdom) and of new villages (particularly in Egypt) contributed to the spread of Greek, but the peasants and the native priests kept the indigenous languages alive.
In religion the stronger influences came from the native populations, not from the upper (Greek or Hellenized) stratum.