Like most ancient rulers, the Ptolemies did not interfere overmuch in local affairs, though they introduced a more streamlined and efficient type of administration that was flexible enough to treat the different regions of their Kingdom differently. Some parts of the province were crown lands that were ruled directly by royal officials; so were the new ports founded by the Ptolemies at Joppa and Strato's Tower and the new military colonies at Beth Shan, Philotera and Pella. The rest of the country had more freedom to manage its own affairs. The Phoenician cities of Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli, and Byblos were allowed significant freedoms and privilege. Greek colonists arrived in Syria and established poleis, modeled on the democratic Greek republics, in such towns as Gaza, Shechem, Marissa, and Amman, which were virtually self-governing. Greek soldiers, merchants, and entrepreneurs swarmed into these settlements to take advantage of the new opportunities in the east, and the local people who learned to speak and write in Greek became "Hellenes" themselves and were allowed to enter the lower ranks of the army and administration. Armstrong, p 105