Alexandria. The Bride of Cities. Center of world trade. Home of Alexander the Great who founded this seaport on the Nile delta over three thousand years before the birth of Christ. This fabled city on Egypt's Mediterranean shore today remains an ancient center of learning that for a thousand years stood as the capital of Egypt. In this remarkable volume, which has received the Plate of the President of the Republic in Italy's Lunigian-Silvestri Award, expert scholarship combines with award-winning photography to create a lasting impression of this timeless city.
A chapter on pre-Alexandria traces the origin of relations between Egypt and Greece to their earliest stages up through the time when the city of Alexandria was built. In order to understand how this immortal city evolved, Gamal Mokhtar argues, one must examine the cultural, historical, political, and economic circumstances that dictated the city's founding. In 332 B.C., Alexander moved the capital of Egypt from Memphis to Alexandria. Mostafa El-Abbadi illustrates how the metropolis was designed, providing a rare description of the city plan of ancient Alexandria, and discusses the dynamics that shaped the city for the next millenium. He also describes how Ptolemy I, Alexander's successor in Egypt, cleverly devised a new god Osorapis or Serapis from sources in the Greek and Egyptian pantheons to unite the two peoples behind him.
Alexander, whose ambition for a world state was coupled with a desire to explore distant regions of the globe, commissioned many expeditions which resulted in unprecedented scientific investigation of the earth.
Alexandria thus became the site of one of the most spectacular libraries the world has ever seen, the Great Library of Alexandria, and its research center, Mouseion. A true renaissance of human culture, the Great Library was the largest of antiquity and its fate continues to attract extraordinary interest and spark contention. El-Abbadi traces the growth, contributions, and fortunes of the Great Library and the Mouseion and provides convincing historical evidence that it was ransacked and burned in 391 A.D. by Christian fanatics, rather than later by Arabs, as has been commonly assumed.
A final chapter traces the evolution and growth of Alexandria during the last three hundred years, offering a view of a city rife with intrigue and, at the same time, an ethnic melting pot and a cultural and political crucible.
The extraordinary illustrations transform this volume into a astonishing portfolio of Alexandrian, Ptolemaic, and Graeco-Roman art. Full page color plates reveal, in exquisite detail, every nuance of some of the most breathtaking sculptures, monuments, bas-reliefs, pottery, frescoes, statues, mosaics, and coins of this great city.