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HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE, Vol 10 No 2 (2018), 9–26

Happiness in the Kingdom of the Cleopatras: Examining Government Influence on Quality of Life in Hellenistic Egypt (332–30 BC)

Valérie Wyns

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23363525.2018.47
published online: 06. 12. 2018


The cross-cultural application of happiness studies has led to many interesting results over the last few decades. The merits of this field of research are widely recognized, resulting for instance in government strategies taking into account the scores of the World Happiness Index, rather than just Gross National Product and other economic parameters. However, not all fields of study related to sociology have completely caught up with recent developments, in particularly historical studies. Some pilot studies with a limited scope on applying happiness research to periods of time and regions in the past have already been executed with promising results. This paper proposes a happiness index for Hellenistic Egypt (332–30 BC), taking into account recent developments in the field of sociology and the specificity of the source material for this particular period and region. The goal is not to measure absolute happiness in a quantitative study involving scales, but studying government impact on the well-being of Egypt’s inhabitants through predetermined parameters derived from studies on cross-cultural determinants of happiness.

keywords: Ptolemies; Hellenism; ancient Egypt; happiness studies; well-being

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