Pharos Lighthouse - Wonder of the Ancient World Pharos.


The Egyptian city of Alexandria was the Greek successor of Athens. Founded and named for the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great, Alexandria, which was located between the Mediterranean and Lake Mareotis, was built up by the Ptolemies after Alexander died. The first Ptolemy, Alexander's general Alexander Soter ('Alexander the Savior') buried the Macedonian leader in his new city. Alexandria became the political, cultural, and religious center of Egypt, the home of the Serapeum temple. Alexandria was the Mediterranean's center for Hellenism and Judaism. Alexandria is probably best known as a center for learning because of its mouseion (museum) and library where people like the polymath Eratosthenes and the mathematician Euclid worked. By the first century B.C. Alexandria was probably the largest city in the Mediterranean world and also its most luxurious.

The geographer Strabo visited Alexandria in 25 B.C. and wrote a description of it, an excerpt of which is provided below.


Examples: Strabo writes (17.6)

Now outside the canal there is still left only a small part of the city; and then one comes to the suburb Necropolis, in which are many gardens and groves and halting-places fitted up for the embalming of corpses, and, inside the canal, both to the Sarapium and to other sacred precincts of ancient times, which are now almost abandoned on account of the construction of the new buildings at Nicopolis; for instance, there are an amphitheatre and a stadium at Nicopolis, and the quinquennial games are celebrated there; but the ancient buildings have fallen into neglect. In short, the city is full of public and sacred structures; but the most beautiful is the Gymnasium, which has porticoes more than a stadium in length. And in the middle are both the court of justice and the groves. Here, too, is the Paneium, a "height," as it were, which was made by the hand of man; it has the shape of a fir-cone, resembles a rocky hill, and is ascended by a spiral road; and from the summit one can see the whole of the city lying below it on all sides. The broad street that runs lengthwise extends from Necropolis past the Gymnasium to the Canobic Gate; and then one comes to the Hippodrome, as it is called, and to the other (streets?) that lie parallel, extending as far as the Canobic canal. Having passed through the Hippodrome, one comes to Nicopolis, which has a settlement on the sea no smaller than a city. It is thirty stadia distant from Alexandria.

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