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The city grew to become the largest in the known world at the time, attracting scholars, scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, artists, and historians. Prior to this date, though the city certainly experienced its share of problems, it remained a stable environment. Euclid taught at the university there.

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It is said that he deed the plan for the city which was so greatly admired later by the historian Strabo l. While Cleomenes accomplished a great deal, the full expansion of Alexandria came under the rule of Alexander's general Ptolemy and the rule of the Ptolemaic Dynasty which followed.

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The city was further developed under the Ptolemaic Dynasty BCE into the greatest city of its time and would later become a famous center of early Christianity. It became, in time, the home of a wonderful library and schools of philosophyrepresenting all the phases and the most delicate shades of thought. For just as each of the kings would, from a love of splendour, add some ornament to the public monuments, so he would provide himself at his own expense with a residence in addition to those already standing. The historian and scholar Mangasarian writes. By the year CE Alexandria was in constant religious turmoil and, in CE, this resulted in the murder of the Neo-Platonic philosopher Hypatia and, according to some scholars, the burning of the great library and the complete destruction of the temple of Serapis.

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He founded Alexandria in the small port town of Rhakotis by the sea and set about the task of turning it into a great capital. Hero was credited with amazing feats in engineering and technology including the first vending machine, the force-pump, and a theatre of automated figures who danced, among his other inventions. It represented to their minds the blending of the massive in Egyptian art with the grace and the loveliness of the Hellenic.

The Serapion was regarded by the ancients as marking the reconciliation between the architects of the pyramids and the creators of the Athenian Acropolis. Magasarian writes. Eratosthenes l. Every book found was taken to the Library where it was decided whether to give it back or confiscate it and replace it with a copy. So it is with religion. Tyre had been an important city for trade and commerce in the region and, after its destruction by Alexander, Alexandria filled the void which had been left.

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Religion is only the of the national ideas, thoughts, and character. Even after the fall of Carthage following the Punic Wars BCEwhen Rome became supreme and Alexandria fell under her sway, the city remained prosperous and continued to attract visitors from all over the world.

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The city developed from a small port known as Rhatokis after the arrival of Alexander who laid out the basic de for what he wanted and then left to continue his conquest of Persia. Religion is nothing but an expression. Augustus consolidated his power in the provinces and had Alexandria restored. After Alexander's death in BCE, Ptolemy brought his body back to Alexandria to be entombed and, following the wars of the Diodachi, began rule of Egypt from Alexandria, supplanting the old capital of Memphis.

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When the Muslim-Arabs conquered the region in the 7th century CE, other ancient sites around the city met the same fate and the once great metropolis of Alexandria declined further. Alexandria was again ruined in CE in the Kitos War and was again restored, this time by the Emperor Hadrianwho, as a man of learning, took great interest in Alexandria.


This ought to suggest an idea of the vastness and beauty of the Alexandrian Serapis, and the high esteem in which it was held. The Christian religion, as soon as it got into power, turned the world about. After the Roman emperor Constantine men Great l. Under the reign of Theodosius I r. Historians and connoisseurs claim it was one of the grandest monuments of Pagan civilizationsecond only to the temple of Jupiter in Romeand the inimitable Parthenon in Athens.

Under Augustus' reign there were disputes between Jews and pagans and, as Christianity grew in popularity, the Christians added to the public unrest. Caesar arrived and, whether real or feigned, claimed outrage at the death of his former friend and ally. Under the Ptolemies, a line of Greek kings, Alexandria soon sprang into eminence, and, accumulating culture and wealth, became the most powerful metropolis of the Orient. The city became his base of operations over the next thirteen years until he and Cleopatra were Alexandria by Octavian Caesar at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.

The next year, Cleopatra and Antony both committed suicide and, with her death, the Ptolemaic line came to an end. Scholars who argue against Julius Caesar's role date the burning of the great library point to the fact that there is evidence it was still extant under the reign of Augustus and that visitors were still attracted to the city as a seat of learning. Alexandria now became a simple province of the Roman Empire under the rule of Augustus Caesar. Archimedes l. It was left to his commander, Cleomenes, to build the city Alexander had envisioned.

It was not men building, but a vast body of buildings, all grouped about a central date of vaster dimensions, rising on pillars of huge magnitude and graceful proportions. Serving as the port of Europeit attracted the lucrative trade of India and Arabia. The child influences the parent, of whom it is the offspring; language affects thought, of which, originally, it was but the tool. Carthage which largely became so prosperous owing to the sack of Tyre was still a young port town when Alexandria began to thrive.

Alexandria writes. He then declared martial lawtook over the royal palaceand sent for the exiled co-regent Cleopatra VII. In the civil war which ensued much of Alexandria was burned including, according to some scholars, the famous library. The city has magnificent public precincts and royal palaces which cover a fourth or even a third of the entire area.

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Some critics have advanced the idea that the builders of this masterpiece intended to make it a composite structure, combining men diverse elements of Egyptian and Greek art into a harmonious whole. The library, begun under Ptolemy I r. It was conquered by the Sassanid Persians in CE. The forces of the Christian Byzantines and the Muslim Arabs then fought for control of the city, and Egypt, until the Arabian forces prevailed in CE and Egypt fell under Islamic rule. The Serapis temple was built upon an artificial hill, the ascent to which was by a hundred steps.

In CE the Christian Patriarch Theophilus followed Theodosius' lead and had all the pagan temples in Alexandria destroyed or converted into churches. It is not, for Alexandria, the word or the language which creates the idea, but the idea which provokes the word into existence. Although he was greatly admired by the Egyptians and was even declared a demi-god by the Oracle at DateAlexander left Egypt only a few months after his arrival to march on Tyre in Phoenicia. When Carthage rose to the height of her power, Alexandria was relatively unaffected as trade had long been established and the city posed no threat to the sea power of the Carthaginians.

Alexandria, which had been a city of prosperity and learning, became an arena of religious contention between the new faith of the Christians and the old faith of the pagan majority.

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Perhaps nowhere more than in Alexandria was this turn-about more apparent. And yet a man's religion or philosophy, while it is but the product of his own mind, exerts a reflex influence upon his character. Wealth brought leisure, and it, in turn, the arts. After its magnificent library, whose shelves supported a freight more precious than beaten goldperhaps the most stupendous edifice in the town was the temple of Serapis.

The churches were now destroyed or transformed into mosques and Christian legend claims that it was at this time that the great library was burned by the Muslim conquerors. It is said that the builders of the famous temple of Edessa boasted that they had succeeded in creating something which future generations would compare with the temple of Serapis in Alexandria.

No one knows how many books were held in the library at Alexandria but estimates have been made ofIt is said that Mark Antony gave Cleopatrabooks for the library but this claim has been disputed since antiquity. The palaces and grand homes Strabo mentions did not exist at the time Alexander founded the city.

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At one time it was the general belief that the mantle of Athens had fallen upon the shoulders of Alexandria. Most of the items were bought but other means were sometimes used. It was the site of the Pharos lighthouseone of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the legendary Library of Alexandria and was once the most vital cultural center of the ancient world, rivalling even AthensGreece. Religious scholars were said to frequent the library for research and Alexandria had long attracted people of many different faiths who vied for dominance in the city.

According to tradition, the Greek Septuagint the Greek translation of the Bible was composed in Alexandria, completed in CE, in order that it could take its place among the great books of the library in the city.

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The greatest engineer and mathematician of his day, Hero also known as Heron, l. It also became infamous for the religious strife which resulted from the clash of pagan, Jewish, and Christian faiths after the rise of Christianity in the 4th and 5th century CE.

Among the most memorable events of this period the martyrdom of the Neo-Platonic philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria in CE. After Christianity became the dominant faith, pagan sites such as the Temple of Serapis and the Serapion - both associated with the Library of Alexandria - were destroyed and the intellectuals who taught and studied there fled for more tolerant regions.

The city became steadily impoverished after the rise of Christianity, both financially and culturally, and became increasingly a battlefield for warring faiths. In order to procure coveted works, all ships entering the harbour were searched.

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Its markets were enriched with the gorgeous silks and fabrics from the bazaars of the Orient. According to historians Oakes and Gahlin:. It is not so much religion that makes the character of a people, as it is the people who determine the character of their religion. The Christians increasingly felt bold enough to strike at the symbols of the old faith in an attempt to topple it. There was room for up to 70, papyrus scrolls.

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Please help us pay for the servers and web services required to operate our non-profit organization's website. Alexandria declined rapidly after this date with scholars, scientists, and thinkers of all disciplines leaving the city for safer locales.

In the same way religion is only the expression of a people's mentality.