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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


Alexandreia -ia or -ea (e Alexandreia: Eth. Alexandreus, more rarely Alexandrites, Alexandriotes, Alexandrianos, Alexandrinos, Alexandrines, Alexandrinus; fem. Alexandris: the modern El-Skanderish), the Hellenic capital of Egypt, was founded by Alexander the Great in B.C. 332. It stood in lat. 31° N.; long. 47° E. (Arrian, iii. 1, p. 156; Q. Curt. iv. 8. § 2.) On his voyage from Memphis to Canobus he was struck by the natural advantages of the little town of Rhacotis, on the north-eastern angle of the Lake Mareotis. The harbour of Rhacotis, with the adjacent island of Pharos, had been from very remote ages (Hom. Od. iv. 355) the resort of Greek and Phoenician sea-rovers, and in the former place the Pharaohs kept a permanent garrison, to prevent foreigners entering their dominions by any other approach than the city of Naucratis and the Canobic branch of the Nile. At Rhacotis Alexander determined to construct the future capital of his western conquests. His architect Deinocrates was instructed to surveythe harbour, and to draw out a plan of a military and commercial metropolis of the first rank. (Vitruv. ii. prooem.; Solin. c.32; Amm. Marc. xxii. 40; Val. Max. i. 4. § 1.) The ground-plan was traced by Alexander himself; the building was commenced immediately, but the city was not completed until the reign of the second monarch of the Lagid line, Ptolemy Philadelphus. It continued to receive embellishment and extension from nearly every monarch of that dynasty. The plan of Deinocrates was carried out by another architect, named Cleomenes, of Naucratis. (Justin. xiii. 4. § 1.) Ancient writers (Strab. p. 791, seq.; Plut. Alex. 26; Plin. v. 10. s. 11) compare the general form of Alexandreia to the cloak (chlamys) worn by the Macedonian cavalry. It was of an oblong figure, rounded at the SE. and SW. extremities. Its length from E. to W. was nearly 4 miles; its breadth from S. to N. nearly a mile, and its circumference, according to Pliny was about 15 miles. The interior was laid out in parallelograms: the streets crossed one another at right angles, and were all wide enough to admit of both wheel carriages and foot-passengers. Two grand thoroughfares nearly bisected the city. They ran in straight lines to its four principal gates, and each was a plethrum, or about 200 feet wide. The longest, 40 stadia in length, ran from the Canobic gate to that of the Necropolis (E.--W.): the shorter, 7-8 stadia in length, extended from the Gate of the Sun to the Gate of the Moon (S.--N.). On its northern side Alexandreia was bounded by the sea, sometimes denominated the Egyptian Sea: on the south by the Lake of Marea or Mareotis; to the west were the Necropolis and its numerous gardens; to the east the Eleusinian road and the Great Hippodrome. The tongue of land upon which Alexandreia stood was singularly adapted to a commercial city. The island of Pharos broke the force of the north wind, and of the occasional high floods of the Mediterranean. The headland of Lochias sheltered its harbours to the east; the Lake Mareotis was both a wet-dock and the general haven of the inland navigation of the Nile valley, whether direct from Syene, or by the royal canal from Arsinoe on the Red Sea, while various other canals connected the lake with the Deltaic branches of the river. The springs of Rhacotis were few and brackish; but an aqueduct conveyed the Nile water into the southern section of the city, and tanks, many of which are still in use, distributed fresh water to both public and private edifices. (Hirtius, B. Alex. c. 5.) The soil, partly sandy and partly calcareous, rendered drainage nearly superfluous. The fogs which periodically linger on the shores of Cyrene and Egypt were dispersed by the north winds which, in the summer season, ventilate the Delta; while the salubrious [p. 96] atmosphere for which Alexandreia was celebrated was directly favoured by the Lake Mareotis, whose bed was annually filled from the Nile, and the miasma incident to lagoons scattered by the regular influx of its purifying floods. The inclination of the streets from east to west concurred with these causes to render Alexandreia healthy; since it broke the force of the Etesian or northern breezes, and diffused an equable temperature over the city. Nor were its military less striking than its commercial advantages. Its harbours were sufficiently capacious to admit of large fleets, and sufficiently contracted at their entrance to be defended by booms and chains. A number of small islands around the Pharos and the harbours were occupied with forts, and the approach from the north was further secured by the difficulty of navigating among the limestone reefs and mudbanks which front the debouchure of the Nile.
The harbour-line commenced from the east with the peninsular strip Lochias, which terminated seaward in a fort called Acro-Lochias, the modern Pharillon. The ruins of a pier on the eastern side of it mark an ancient landing-place, probably belonging to the Palace which, with its groves and gardens, occupied this Peninsula. Like all the principal buildings of Alexandreia, it commanded a view of the bay and the Pharos. The Lochias formed, with the islet of Antirhodus, the Closed or Royal Port, which was kept exclusively for the king's gallies, and around the head of which were the Royal Dockyards. West of the Closed Port was the Poseideion or Temple of Neptune, where embarking and returning mariners registered their vows. The northern point of this temple was called the Timonium, whither the defeated triumvir M. Antonius retired after his flight from Actium in B.C. 31. (Plat. Anton. 69.) Between Lochias and the Great Mole (Heptastadium) was the Greater Harbour, and on the western side of the Mole was the Haven of Happy Return (eunostos), connected by the basin (kibotos, chest) with the canal that led, by one arm, to the Lake Mareotis, and by the other to the Canobic arm of the Nile. The haven of Happy Return fronted the quarter of the city called Rhacotis. It was less difficult of access than the Greater Harbour. as the reefs and shoals lie principally NE. of the Pharos. Its modern name is the Old Port. From the Poseideion to the Mole the shore was lined with dockyards and warehouses, upon whose broad granite quays ships discharged their lading without the intervention of boats. On the western horn of the Eunostus were public granaries.
  Fronting the city, and sheltering both its harbours, lay the long narrow island of Pharos. It was a dazzling white calcareous rock, about a mile from Alexandreia, and, according to Strabo, 150 stadia from the Canobic mouth of the Nile. At its eastern point stood the far-famed lighthouse, the work of Sostrates of Cnidus, and, nearer the Heptastadium, was a temple of Phtah or Hephaestus. The Pharos was begun by Ptolemy Soter, but completed by his successor, and dedicated by him to .the gods Soteres, or Soter and Berenice, his parents. It consisted of several stories, and is said to have been four hundred feet in height. The old light-house of Alexandreia still occupies the site of its ancient predecessor. A deep bay on the northern side of the island was called the, Pirates' Haven, from its having been an early place of refuge for Carian and Samian mariners. The islets which stud the northern coast of Pharos became, in the 4th and 5th centuries A. D., the resort of Christian anchorites. The island is said by Strabo to have been nearly desolated by Julius Caesar when he was besieged by the Alexandrians in B.C. 46. (Hirt. B. Alex. 17.)
  The Pharos was connected with the mainland by an artificial mound or causeway, called, from its length (7 stadia, 4270 English feet, or 3/4 of a mile), the Heptastadium. There were two breaks in the Mole to let the water flow through, and prevent the accumulation of silth; over these passages bridges were laid, which could be raised up at need. The temple of Hephaestus on Pharos stood at one extremity of the Mole, and the Gate of the Moon on the mainland at the other. The form of the Heptastadium can no longer be distinguished, since modern Alexandreia is principally erected upon it, and upon the earth which has accumulated about its piers. It probably lay in a direct line between fort Caffarelli and the island.
Interior of the City. Alexandreia was divided into three regions. (1) The Regio Judaeorum. (2) The Brucheium or Pyrucheium, the Royal or Greek Quarter. (3) The Rhacotis or Egyptian Quarter. This division corresponded to the three original constituents of the Alexandrian population (tria gene, Polyb. xxxiv. 14; Strab.) After B.C. 31 the Romans added a fourth element, but this was principally military and financial (the garrison, the government, and its official staff, and the negotiatores), and confined to the Region Brucheium.
1. Regio Judaeorum, or Jews' Quarter, occupied the NE. angle of the city, and was encompassed by the sea, the city walls, and the Brucheium. Like the Jewry of modern European cities, it had walls and gates of its own, which were at times highly necessary for its security, since between the Alexandrian Greeks and Jews frequent hostilities raged, inflamed both by political jealousy and religious hatred. The Jews were governed by their own Ethnarch, or Arabarches (Joseph. Antiq. xiv. 7. § 2, 10. § 1, xviii. 6. § 3, xix. 5. § 2, B. J. ii. 18. § 7), by a sanhedrim or senate, and their own national a laws. Augustus Caesar, in B.C. 31, granted to the Alexandrian Jews equal privileges with their Greek fellow citizens, and recorded his grant by a public inscription. (Id. Antiq. xii. 3, c. Apion. 2.) Philo Judaeus (Legat. in Caium) gives a full account of the immunities of the Regio Judaeorum. They were frequently confirmed or annulled by successive Roman emperors. (Sharpe, Hist. of Egypt, p. 347, seq. 2nd edit.)
2. Brucheium, or Pyrucheium (Brucheion, Eurocheion, Salmasius, ad Spartian. Hadrian. c. 20), the Royal or Greek Quarter, was bounded to the S. and E. by the city walls, N. by the Greater Harbour, and W. by the region Rhacotis and the main street which connected the Gate of the Sun with that of the Moon and the Heptastadium. It was also surrounded by its own walls, and was the quarter in which Caesar defended himself against the Alexandrians. (Hirtius, B. Alex. 1.) The Brucheium was bisected by the High Street, which ran from the Canobic Gate to the Necropolis, and was supplied with water from the Nile by a tunnel or aqueduct, which entered the city on the south, and passed a little to the west of the Gymnasium. This was the quarter of the Alexandrians proper, or Hellenic citizens, the Royal Residence, and the district in which were contained the most conspicuous of the public buildings. It was so much adorned and extended by the later Ptolemies that it eventually occupied one-fifth of the entire city. (Plin. v. 10. s. 11.) It contained the following remarkable edifices: On the Lochias, the Palace of the Ptolemies, with the smaller palaces appropriated to their children and the adjacent gardens and groves. The far-famed Library and Museum, with its Theatre for lectures and public assemblies, connected with one another and with the palaces by long colonnades of the most costly marble from the Egyptian quarries, and adorned with obelisks and sphinxes taken from the Pharaonic cities. The Library contained, according to one account, 700,000 volumes, according to another 400,000 (Joseph. Antiq. xii. 2; Athen. i. p. 3); part, however, of this unrivalled collection was lodged in the temple of Serapis, in the quarter Rhacotis. Here were deposited the 200,000 volumes collected by the kings of Pergamus, and presented by M. Antonius to Cleopatra. The library of the Museum was destroyed during the blockade of Julius Caesar in the Brucheium; that of the Serapeion was frequently injured by the civil broils of Alexandreia, and especially when that temple was destroyed by the Christian fanatics in the 4th century A.D. It was finally destroyed by the orders of the khalif Omar, A.D. 640. The collection was begun by Ptolemy Soter, augmented by his successors, for the worst of the Lagidae were patrons of literature,--and respected, if not increased, by the Caesars, who, like their predecessors, appointed and salaried the librarians and the professors of the Museum. The Macedonian kings replenished the shelves of the Library zealously but unscrupulously, since they laid an embargo on all books, whether public or private property, which were brought to Alexandreia, retained the originals, and gave copies of them to their proper owners. In this way Ptolemy Euergetes (B.C. 246--221) is said to have got possession of authentic copies of the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and to have returned transcripts of them to the Athenians, with an accompanying compensation of fifteen talents. The Museum succeeded the once renowned college of Heliopolis as the University of Egypt. It contained a great hall or banqueting room (oikos melas), where the professors dined in common; an exterior peristyle, or corridor (peripatoi), for exercise and ambulatory lectures; a theatre where public disputations and scholastic festivals were held; chambers for the different professors; and possessed a botanical garden which Ptolemy Philadelphus enriched with tropical flora (Philostrat. Vit. Apollon. vi. 24), and a menagerie (Athen. xiv. p. 654). It was divided into four principal sections,--poetry, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine, and enrolled among its professors or pupils the illustrious names of Euclid, Ctesibius, Callimachus, Aratus, [p. 98] Aristophanes and Aristarchus, the critics and grammarians, the two Heros, Ammonius Saccas, Polemo, Clemens, Origen, Athanasius, Theon and his celebrated daughter Hypatia, with many others. Amid the turbulent factions and frequent calamities of Alexandreia, the Museum maintained its reputation, until the Saracen invasion in A.D. 640. The emperors, like their predecessors the Ptolemies, kept in their own hands the nomination of the President of the Museum, who was considered one of the four chief magistrates of the city. For the Alexandrian Library and Museum the following works may be consulted:--Strab.; Vitruv. vii. prooem.; Joseph. Antiq. xii. 2, c. Apion. ii. 7; Clem. Alex. Strom. i. 22; Cyrill. Hieros. Catechet. iv. 34; Epiphan. Mens. et Pond. c. 9; Augustin. Civ. D. xviii. 42; Lipsius, de Biblioth. § ii.; Bonamy, Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscr. ix. 10; Matter, l'Ecole d'Alexandrie, vol. i. p. 47; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. iii. p. 500.
In the Brucheium also stood the Caesarium, or Temple of the Caesars, where divine honours were paid to the emperors, deceased or living. Its site is still marked by the two granite obelisks called Cleopatra's Needles, near which is a tower perhaps not inappropriately named the Tower of the Romans. Proceeding westward, we come to the public granaries (Caesar, B. Civ. iii. 112) and the Mausoleum of the Ptolemies, which, from its containing the body of Alexander the Great, was denominated Soma (Soma, or Sema, Strab.). The remains of the Macedonian hero were originally inclosed in a coffin of gold, which, about B.C. 118, was stolen by Ptolemy Soter II., and replaced by one of glass, in which the corpse was viewed by Augustus in B.C. 30. (Sueton. Octav. 18.) A building to which tradition assigns the name of the Tomb of Alexander is found among the ruins of the old city, but its site does not correspond with that of the Soma. It is much reverenced by the Moslems. In form it resembles an ordinary sheikh's tomb, and it stands to the west of the road leading from the Frank Quarter to the Pompey's--Pillar Gate. In the Soma were also deposited the remains of M. Antonius, the only alien admitted into the Mausoleum (Plut. Ant. 82). In this quarter also were the High Court of Justice (Dicasterium), in which, under the Ptolemies, the senate assembled and discharged such magisterial duties as a nearly despotic government allowed to them, and where afterwards the Roman Juridicus held his court. A stadium, a gymnasium, a palestra, and an amphitheatre, provided exercise and amusement for the spectacle-loving Alexandrians. The Arsinoeum, on the western side of the Brucheium, was a monument raised by Ptolemy Philadelphus to the memory of his favourite sister Arsinoe; and the Panium was a stone mound, or cone, with a spiral ascent on the outside, from whose summit was visible every quarter of the city. The purpose of this structure is, however, not ascertained. The edifices of the Brucheium had been so arranged by Deinocrates as to command a prospect of the Great Harbour and the Pharos. In its centre was a spacious square, surrounded by cloisters and flanked to the north by the quays--the Emporium, or Alexandrian Exchange. Hither, for nearly eight centuries, every nation of the civilized world sent its representatives. Alexandreia had inherited the commerce of both Tyre and Carthage, and collected in this area the traffic and speculation of three continents. The Romans admitted Alexandreia to be the second city of the world; but the quays of the Tiber presented no such spectacle as the Emporium. In the seventh century, when the Arabs entered Alexandreia, the Brucheium was in ruins and almost deserted.
3. The Rhacotis, or Egyptian Quarter, occupied the site of the ancient Rhacotis. Its principal buildings were granaries along the western arm of the cibotus or basin, a stadium, and the Temple of Serapis. The Serapeion was erected by the first or second of the Ptolemies. The image of the god, which was of wood, was according to Clemens (Clemens Alex. Protrept. c. 4. § 48), inclosed or plated over with layers of every kind of metal and precious stones: it seems also, either from the smoke of incense or from varnish, to have been of a black colour. Its origin and import are doubtful. Serapis is sometimes defined to be Osiri-Apis; and sometimes the Sinopite Zeus, which may imply either that he was brought from the hill Sinopeion near Memphis, or from Sinope in Pontus, whence Ptolemy Soter or Philadelphus is said to have imported it to adorn his new capital. That the idol was a pantheistic emblem may be inferred, both from the materials of which it was composed, and from its being adopted by a dynasty of sovereigns who sought to blend in one mass the creeds of Hellas and Egypt. The Serapeion was destroyed in A.D. 390 by Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandreia, in obedience to the rescript of the emperor Theodosius, which abolished paganism (Codex Theodos. xvi. 1, 2).1 The Coptic population of this quarter were not properly Alexandrian citizens, but enjoyed a franchise inferior to that of the Greeks. (Plin. Epist. x. 5. 22, 23; Joseph. c. Apion. c. 2. § 6.) The Alexandreia which the Arabs besieged was nearly identical with the Rhacotis. It had suffered many calamities both from civil feud and from foreign war. Its Serapeion was twice consumed by fire, once in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, and again in that of Commodus. But this district survived both the Regio Judaeorum and the Brucheium.
  Of the remarkable beauty of Alexandreia (he kale Alexandreia, Athen. i. p. 3), we have the testimony of numerous writers who saw it in its prime. Ammianus (xxii. 16) calls it vertex omnium civitatum; Strabo (xvii. p. 832) describes it as megiston emporeion tes oikoumenes; Theocritus (Idyll. xvii.), Philo (ad Flacc. ii. p. 541), Eustathius (II. B.), Gregory of Nyssa (Vit. Gregor. Thaumaturg.), and many others, write in the same strain. (Comp. Diodor. xvii. 52; Pausan. viii. 33.) .Perhaps, however, one of the most striking descriptions of its effect upon a stranger is that of Achilles Tatius in his romance of Cleitophon and Leucippe (v. 1). Its dilapidation was not the effect of time, but of the hand of man. Its dry atmosphere preserved, for centuries after their erection, the sharp outline and gay colours of its buildings; and when in A.D. 120 the emperor Hadrian surveyed Alexandreia, he beheld almost the virgin city of the Ptolemies. (Spartian. [p. 99] Hadrian. c. 12.) It suffered much from the intestine feuds of the Jews and Greeks, and the Brucheium was nearly rebuilt by the emperor Gallienus, A.D. 260-8. But the zeal of its Christian population was more destructive; and the Saracens only completed their previous work of demolition.
Population of Alexandreia. Diodorus Siculus, who visited Alexandreia about B.C. 58, estimates (xvii. 52) its free citizens at 300,000, to which sum at least an equal number must be added for slaves and casual residents. Besides Jews, Greeks, and Egyptians, the population consisted, according to Dion Chrysostom, who saw the city in A.D. 69 (Orat. xxxii.), of Italians, Syrians, Libyans, Cilicians, Aethiopians, Arabians, Bactrians, Persians, Scythians, and Indians ; and Polybius (xxxix. 14) and Strabo confirm his statement. Ancient writers generally give the Alexandrians an ill name, as a double-tongued (Hirtius, B. Alex. 24), factious (Trebell. Poll. Trig. Tyran. c. 22), irascible (Phil. adv. Flacc. ii.), blood-thirsty, yet cowardly set (Dion Cass. i. p. 621). Athenaeus speaks of them as a jovial, boisterous race (x. p. 420), and mentions their passion for music and the number and strange appellations of their musical instruments (id. iv. 176, xiv. p. 654). Dion Chrysostom (Orat. xxxii.) upbraids them with their levity, their insane love of spectacles, horse races, gambling, and dissipation. They were, however, singularly industrious. Besides their export trade, the city was full of manufactories of paper, linen, glass, and muslin (Vopisc. Saturn. 8). Even the lame and blind had their occupations. For their rulers, Greek or Roman, they invented nicknames. The better Ptolemies and Caesars smiled at these affronts, while Physcon and Caracalla repaid them by a general massacre. For more particular information respecting Alexandreia we refer to Matter, l'Ecole d'Alexandrie, 2 vols.; the article Alexandrinische Schule in Pauly's Real Encyclopaedie; and to Mr. Sharpe's History of Egypt, 2nd ed.
The Government of Alexandreia. Under the Ptolemies the Alexandrians possessed at least the semblance of a constitution. Its Greek inhabitants enjoyed the privileges of bearing arms, of meeting in the Gymnasium to discuss their general interests, and to petition for redress of grievances; and they were addressed in royal proclamations as Men of Macedon. But they had no political constitution able to resist the grasp of despotism; and, after the reigns of the first three kings of the Lagid house, were deprived of even the shadow of freedom. To this end the division of the city into three nations directly contributed; for the Greeks were ever ready to take up arms against the Jews, and the Egyptians feared and contemned them both. A connubium, indeed, existed between the latter and the Greeks. (Letronne, Inscr. i. p. 99.) Of the government of the Jews by an Ethnarch and a Sanhedrim we have already spoken: how the quarter Rhacotis was administered we do not know; it was probably under a priesthood of its own: but we find in inscriptions and in other scattered notices that the Greek population was divided into tribes (phulai) and into wards (demoi). The tribes were nine in number (Althais, Ariadnis, Deianeiris, Dionusis, Euneis, Thestis, Thoantis, Maronis, Ttaphulis). (Meineke, Analecta Alexandrina, p. 346, seq. Berl. 1843.) There was, indeed, some variation in the appellations of the tribes, since Apollonius of Rhodes, the author of the Argonautica, belonged to a tribe called Ptolemais. (Vit. Apoll. Rhod. ed. Brunk.) The senate was elected from the principal members of the wards (Demotai). Its functions were chiefly judicial. In inscriptions we meet with the titles gumnasiarches, dikaiodotes, npomnematographos, archidikastes, agoranomos, &c. (Letronne, Recueil des Inscr. Gr. et Lat. de l'Egypte, vol. i. 1842, Paris; id. Recherches pour servir a l'Histoire de l'Egypte, &c. Paris, 1823-8.) From the reign of Augustus, B.C. 31, to that of Septimius Severus, A.D. 194, the functions of the senate were suspended, and their place supplied by the Roman Juridicus, or Chief Justice, whose authority was inferior only to that of the Praefectus Augustalis. (Winkler, de Jurid. Alex. Lips. 1827-8.) The latter emperor restored the jus buleutarum. (Spartian. Severus, c. 17.)
  The Roman government of Alexandreia was altogether peculiar. The country was assigned neither to the senatorian nor the imperial provinces, but was made dependent on the Caesar alone. For this regulation there were valid reasons. The Nilevalley was not easy of access; might be easily defended by an ambitious prefect; was opulent and populous; and was one of the principal granaries of Rome. Hence Augustus interdicted the senatorian order, and even the more illustrious equites (Tac. Ann. ii. 59) from visiting Egypt without special licence. The prefect he selected, and his successors observed the rule, either from his personal adherents, or from equites who looked to him alone for promotion. Under the prefect, but nominated by the emperor, was the Juridicus (archidikastes), who presided over a numerous staff of inferior magistrates, and whose decisions could be annulled by the prefect, or perhaps the emperor alone. The Caesar appointed also the keeper of the public records (hupomnematolraphos), the chief of the police (nukterinos stratelos), the Interpreter of Egyptian law (exeletes patrion noeon), the praefectus annonae or warden of the markets (epimeletes ton te polei chresimon), and the President of the Museum. All these officers, as Caesarian nominees, wore a scarlet-bordered robe. (Strab. p. 797, seq.) In other respects the domination of Rome was highly conducive to the welfare of Alexandreia. Trade, which had declined under the later Ptolemies, revived and attained a prosperity hitherto unexampled: the army, instead of being a horde of lawless and oppressive mercenaries, was restrained under strict discipline: the privileges and national customs of the three constituents of its population were respected: the luxury of Rome gave new vigour to commerce with the East; the corn-supply to Italy promoted the cultivation of the Delta and the business of the Emporium; and the frequent inscription of the imperial names upon the temples attested that Alexandreia at least had benefited by exchanging the Ptolemies for the Caesars.
The History of Alexandreia may be divided into three periods. (1) The Hellenic. (2) The Roman. (3) The Christian. The details of the first of these may be read in the History of the Ptolemies (Dictionary of Biography, pp. 565-599). Here it will suffice to remark, that the city prospered under the wisdom of Soter and the genius of Philadelphus; lost somewhat of its Hellenic character under Euergetes, and began to decline under Philopator, who was a mere Eastern despot, surrounded and governed by women, eunuchs, and favourites. From Epiphanes downwards these evils [p. 100] were aggravated. The army was disorganised; trade and agriculture declined; the Alexandrian people grew more servile and vicious: even the Museum exhibited symptoms of decrepitude. Its professors continued, indeed, to cultivate science and criticism, but invention and taste had expired. It depended upon Rome whether Alexandreia should become tributary to Antioch, or receive a proconsul from the senate. The wars of Rome with Carthage, Macedon, and Syria alone deferred the deposition of the Lagidae. The influence of Rome in the Ptolemaic kingdom commenced properly in B.C. 204, when the guardians of Epiphanes placed their infant ward under the protection of the senate, as his only refuge against the designs of the Macedonian and Syrian monarchs. (Justin. xxx. 2.) M. Aemilius Lepidus was appointed guardian to the young Ptolemy, and the legend Tutor Regis upon the Aemilian coins commemorates this trust. (Eckhel, vol. v. p. 123.) In B.C. 163 the Romans adjudicated between the brothers Ptolemy Philometor and Euergetes. The latter received Cyrene; the former retained Alexandreia and Egypt. In B.C. 145, Scipio Africanus the younger was appointed to settle the distractions which ensued upon the murder of Eupator. (Justin. xxxviii. 8; Cic. Acad. Q. iv. 2, Off. iii. 2; Diod. Legat. 32; Gell. N. A. xviii. 9.) An inscription, of about this date, recorded at Delos the existence of amity between Alexandreia and Rome. (Letronne, Inscr. vol. i. p. 102.) In B.C. 97, Ptolemy Apion devised by will the province of Cyrene to the Roman senate (Liv. lxx. Epit.), and his example was followed, in B.C. 80, by Ptolemy Alexander, who bequeathed to them Alexandreia and his kingdom. The bequest, however, was not immediately enforced, as the republic was occupied with civil convulsions at home. Twenty years later Ptolemy Auletes mortgaged his revenues to a wealthy Roman senator, Rabirius Postumus (Cic. Fragm. xvii. Orelli, p. 458), and in B.C. 55 Alexandreia was drawn into the immediate vortex of the Roman revolution, and from this period, until its submission to Augustus in B.C. 30, it followed the fortunes alternately of Pompey, Gabinius, Caesar, Cassius the liberator, and M. Antonius.
  The wealth of Alexandreia in the last century B.C. may be inferred from the fact, that, in 63, 6250 talents, or a million sterling, were paid to the treasury as port dues alone. (Diod. xvii. 52; Strab. p. 832.) Under the emperors, the history of Alexandreia exhibits little variety. It was, upon the whole, leniently governed, for it was the interest of the Caesars to be generally popular in a city which commanded one of the granaries of Rome. Augustus, indeed, marked his displeasure at the support given to M. Antonius, by building Nicopolis about three miles to the east of the Canobic gate as its rival, and by depriving the Greeks of Alexandreia of the only political distinction which the Ptolemies had left them--the judicial functions of the senate. The city, however, shared in the general prosperity of Egypt under Roman rule. The portion of its population that came most frequently in collision with the executive was that of the Jewish Quarter. Sometimes emperors, like Caligula, demanded that the imperial effigies or military standards should be set up in their temple, at others the Greeks ridiculed or outraged the Hebrew ceremonies. Both these causes were attended with sanguinary results, and even with general pillage and burning of the city. Alexandreia was favoured by Claudius, who added a wing to the Museum; was threatened with a visit from Nero, who coveted the skilful applause of its claqueurs in the theatre (Sueton. Ner. 20); was the head-quarter, for some months, of Vespasian (Tac. Hist. iii. 48, iv. 82) during the civil wars which preceded his accession; was subjected to military lawlessness under Domitian (Juv. Sat. xvi.); was governed mildly by Trajan, who even supplied the city, during a dearth, with corn (Plin. Panegyr. 31. § 23); and was visited by Hadrian in A.D. 122, who has left a graphic picture of the population. (Vopisc. Saturn. 8.) The first important change in their polity was that introduced by the emperor Severus in A.D. 196. The Alexandrian Greeks were no longer formidable, and Severus accordingly restored their senate and municipal government. He also ornamented the city with a temple of Rhea, and with a public bath--Thermae Septimianae.
  Alexandreia, however, suffered more from a single visit of Caracalla than from the tyranny or caprice of any of his predecessors. That emperor had been ridiculed by its satirical populace for affecting to be the Achilles and Alexander of his time. The rumours or caricatures which reached him in Italy were not forgotten on his tour through the provinces; and although he was greeted with hecatombs on his arrival at Alexandreia in A.D. 211 (Herodian. iv. 9), he did not omit to repay the insult by a general massacre of the youth of military age. (Dion Cass. lxxvii. 22; Spartian. Caracall. 6.) Caracalla also introduced some important changes in the civil relations of the Alexandrians. To mark his displeasure with the Greeks, he admitted the chief men of the quarter Rhacotis--i. e. native Egyptians--into the Roman senate. (Dion Cass. li. 17; Spartian. Caracall. 9); he patronised a temple of Isis at Rome; and he punished the citizens of the Brucheium by retrenching their public games and their allowance of corn. The Greek quarter was charged with the maintenance of an additional Roman garrison, and its inner walls were repaired and lined with forts.
  From the works of Aretaeus (de Morb. Acut. i.) we learn that Alexandreia was visited by a pestilence in the reign of Gallus, A.D. 253. In 265, the prefect Aemilianus was proclaimed Caesar by his soldiers. (Trebell. Pol. Trig. Tyrann. 22, Gallien. 4.) In 270, the name of Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, appears on the Alexandrian coinage; and the city had its full share of the evils consequent upon the frequent revolutions of the Roman empire. (Vopisc. Aurelian. 32.) After this period, A.D. 271, Alexandreia lost much of its predominance in Egypt, since the native population, hardened by repeated wars, and reinforced by Arabian immigrants, had become a martial and turbulent race. In A.D. 297 (Eutrop. ix. 22), Diocletian besieged and regained Alexandreia, which had declared itself in favour of the usurper Achilleus. The emperor, however, made a lenient use of his victory, and purchased the favour of the populace by an increased largess of corn. The column, now well known as Pompey's Pillar, once supported a statue of this emperor, and still bears on its base the inscription, To the most honoured emperor, the deliverer of Alexandreia, the invincible Diocletian.
Alexandreia had its full share of the persecutions of this reign. The Jewish rabbinism and Greek philosophy of the city had paved the way for Christianity, and the serious temper of the Egyptian population sympathised with the earnestness of the new faith. The Christian population of Alexandreia was accordingly numerous when the imperial edicts were put in force. Nor were martyrs wanting. The city was already an episcopal see; and its bishop Peter, with the presbyters Faustus, Dius, and Ammonius, were among the first victims of Diocletian's rescript. The Christian annals of Alexandreia have so little that is peculiar to the city, that it will suffice to refer the reader to the general history of the Church.
  It is more interesting to turn from the Arian and Athanasian feuds, which sometimes deluged the streets of the city with blood, and sometimes made necessary the intervention of the Prefect, to the aspect which Alexandreia presented to the Arabs, in A.D. 640, after so many revolutions, civil and religious. The Pharos and Heptastadium were still uninjured: the Sebaste or Caesarium, the Soma, and the Quarter Rhacotis, retained almost their original grandeur. But the Hippodrome at the Canobic Gate was a ruin, and a new Museum had replaced in the Egyptian Region the more ample structure of the Ptolemies in the Brucheium. The Greek quarter was indeed nearly deserted: the Regio Judaeorum was occupied by a few miserable tenants, who purchased from the Alexandrian patriarch the right to follow their national law. The Serapeion had been converted into a Cathedral; and some of the more conspicuous buildings of the Hellenic city had become the Christian Churches of St. Mark, St. John, St. Mary, &c. Yet Amrou reported to his master the Khalif Omar that Alexandreia was a city containing four thousand palaces, four thousand public baths, four hundred theatres, forty thousand Jews who paid tribute, and twelve thousand persons who sold herbs. (Eutych. Annal. A.D. 640.) The result of Arabian desolation was, that the city, which had dwindled into the Egyptian Quarter, shrunk into the limits of the Heptastadium, and, after the year 1497, when the Portuguese, by discovering the passage round the Cape of Good Hope, changed the whole current of Indian trade, it degenerated still further into an obscure town, with a population of about 6000, inferior probably to that of the original Rhacotis.
Ruins of Alexandreia. These may be divided into two classes: (1) indistinguishable mounds of masonry; and (2) fragments of buildings which may, in some degree, be identified with ancient sites or structures.
  The Old Town is surrounded by a double wall, with lofty towers, and five gates. The Rosetta Gate is the eastern entrance into this circuit; but it does not correspond with the old Canobic Gate, which was half a mile further to the east. The space inclosed is about 10,000 feet in length, and in its breadth varies from 3200 to 1600 feet. It contains generally shapeless masses of ruins, consisting of shattered columns and capitals, cisterns choked with rubbish, and fragments of pottery and glass. Some of the mounds are covered by the villas and gardens of the wealthier inhabitants of Alexandreia. Nearly in the centre of the inclosure, and probably in the High Street between the Canobic and Necropolitan Gates, stood a few years since three granite columns. They were nearly opposite the Mosque of St. Athanasius, and were perhaps the last remnants of the colonnade which lined the High Street. (From this mosque was taken, in 1801, the sarcophagus of green breccia which is now in the British Museum.) Until December, 1841, there was also on the road leading to the Rosetta Gate the base of another similar column. But these, as well as other remnants of the capital of the Ptolemies, have disappeared; although, twenty years ago, the intersection of its two main streets was distinctly visible, at a point near the Frank Square, and not very far from the Catholic convent. Excavations in the Old Town occasionally, indeed, bring to light parts of statues, large columns, and fragments of masonry: but the ground-plan of Alexandreia is now probably lost irretrievably, as the ruins have been converted into building materials, without note being taken at the time of the site or character of the remnants removed. Vestiges of baths and other buildings may be traced along the inner and outer bay; and numerous tanks are still in use which formed part of the cisterns that supplied the city with Nile-water. They were often of considerable size; were built under the houses; and, being arched and coated with a thick red plaster, have in many cases remained perfect to this day. One set of these reservoirs runs parallel to the eastern issue of the Mahmoodeh Canal, which nearly represents the old Canobic Canal; others are found in the convents which occupy part of the site of the Old Town; and others again are met with below the mound of Pompey's Pillar. The descent into these chambers is either by steps in the side or by an opening in the roof, through which the water is drawn up by ropes and buckets.
  The most striking remains of ancient Alexandreia are the Obelisks and Pompey's Pillar. The former are universally known by the inappropriate name of Cleopatra's Needles. The fame of Cleopatra has preserved her memory among the illiterate Arabs, who regard her as a kind of enchantress, and ascribe to her many of the great works of her capital, the Pharos and Heptastadium included. Meselleh is, moreover, the Arabic word for a packing Needle, and is given generally to obelisks. The. two columns, however, which bear this appellation, are red granite obelisks which were brought by one of the Caesars from Heliopolis, and, according to Pliny (xxxvi. 9), were set up in front of the Sebaste or Caesarium. They are about 57 paces apart from each other: one is still vertical, the other has been thrown down. They stood each on two steps of white limestone. The vertical obelisk is 73 feet high, the diameter at its base is 7 feet and 7 inches; the fallen obelisk has been mutilated, and, with the same diameter, is shorter. The latter was presented by Mohammed Ali to the English government: and the propriety of its removal to England has been discussed during the present year. Pliny (l. c.) ascribes them to an Egyptian king named Mesphres: nor is he altogether wrong. The Pharaoh whose oval they exhibit was the. third Thothmes, and in Manetho?s list the first and second Thothmes (18th Dynasty: Kenrick, vol. ii. p. 199) are written as Mesphra-Thothmosis. Rameses III. and Osirei II., his third successor, have also their ovals upon these obelisks.
  Pompey's Pillar, as it is erroneously termed, is denominated by the Arabs Amood e sowari; sari or sowari being applied by them to any lofty monument which suggests the image of a mast. It might more properly be termed Diocletian's Pillar, since a statue of that emperor once occupied its summit, commemorating the capture of Alexandreia in A.D. 297, after an obstinate siege of eight months. The total height of this column is 98 feet 9 inches, the shaft is 73 feet, the circumference 29 feet 8 inches, and the diameter at the top of the capital is 16 feet 6 [p. 102] inches. The shaft, capital, and pedestal are apparently of different ages; the latter are of very inferior workmanship to the shaft. The substructions of the column are fragments of older monuments, and the name of Psammetichus with a few hieroglyphics is inscribed upon them.
  The origin of the name Pompey's Pillar is very doubtful. It has been derived from Pompaios, conducting, since the column served for a land-mark. In the inscription copied by Sir Gardner Wilkinson and Mr. Salt, it is stated that Publius, the Eparch of Egypt, erected it in honour of Diocletian. For Publius it has been proposed to read Pompeius. The Pillar originally stood in the centre of a paved area beneath the level of the ground, like so many of the later Roman memorial columns. The pavement, however, has long been broken up and carried away. If Arabian traditions may be trusted, this now solitary Pillar once stood in a Stoa with 400 others, and formed part of the peristyle of the ancient Serapeion.
  Next in interest are the Catacombs or remains of the ancient Necropolis beyond the Western Gate. The approach to this cemetery was through vineyards and gardens, which both Athenaeus and Strabo celebrate. The extent of the Catacombs is remarkable: they are cut partly in a ridge of sandy calcareous stone, and partly in the calcareous rock that faces the sea. They all communicate with the sea by narrow vaults, and the most spacious of them is about 3830 yds. SW. of Pompey's Pillar. Their style of decoration is purely Greek, and in one of the chambers are a Doric entablature and mouldings, which evince no decline in art at the period of their erection. Several tombs in that direction, at the water's edge, and some even below its level, are entitled Bagni di Cleopatra.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ANTHYLLA (Ancient city) EGYPT
Anthylla (Anthulla, Herod. ii. 97; Antulla, Athen. i. p. 33; Steph. B. s. v.: Eth. Anthullaios), was a considerable town upon the Canobic branch of the Nile, a few miles SE. of Alexandreia. Its revenues were assigned by the Persian kings of Egypt to their queens, to provide them, Herodotus says, with sandals; Athenaeus says, with girdles. From this usage, Anthylla is believed by some geographers to be the same city as Gynaecopolis, which, however, was further to the south than Anthylla. (Mannert, Geogr. der Gr. und Rom. vol. x. p. 596.) Athenaeus commends the wine of Anthylla as the best produced by Egyptian vineyards.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT
  Canobus or Canopus (Quint. Inst. Or. i. 5. § 13; Kanopos, Steph. B. p. 355 s. v.; Herod. ii. 15, 97, 113; Strab. xvi. p. 666, xvii. p. 800 seq.; Scylax, pp. 44, 51; Mel. ii. 7. § 6; Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. v. 13; Aeschyl. Supp. 312; Caes. B. Alex. 25; Virg. Georg. iv. 287; Juv. Sat. vi. 84, xv. 46; Senec. Epist. 51; Tac. Ann. ii. 60; Amm. Marc. xxii. 41, &c.: Eth. Kanobites; Adj. Kanobikos, fem. Kanobis), a town of Egypt, situated in lat. 31° N. upon the same tongue of land with Alexandreia, and about 15 miles (120 stadia) from that city. It stood upon the mouth of the Canobic branch of the Nile, and adjacent to the Canobic canal (Kanobike diorux Strab. xvii. p. 800). In the Pharaonic times it was the capital of the nome Menelaites, and, previous to the foundation of Alexandreia, was the principal harbour of the Delta. At Canobus the ancient geographers (Scylax; Conon. Narrat. 8; Plin. v. 34; Schol. in Diet. Cretens. vi. 4) placed the true boundary between the continents of Africa and Asia. According to Greek legends, the city of Canobus derived its name from the pilot of Menelaus, who died and was buried there on the return of the Achaeans from Troy. But it more probably owed its appellation to the god Canobus - a pitcher with a human head - who was worshipped there with peculiar pomp. (Comp. Nicand. Theriac. 312.) At Canobus was a temple of Zeus-Canobus, whom Greeks and Egyptians held in equal reverence, and a much frequented shrine and oracle of Serapis. (Plut. Is. et Osir. 27.) As the resort of mariners and foreigners, and as the seat of a hybrid Copto-Hellenic population, Canobus was notorious for the number of its religious festivals and the general dissoluteness of its morals. Here was prepared the scarlet dye - the Hennah, with which, in all ages, the women of the East have been wont to colour the nails of their feet and fingers. (Herod. ii. 113; Plin. xii. 51.) The decline of Canopus began with the rise of Alexandreia, and was completed by the introduction of Christianity into Egypt. Traces of its ruins are found about 3 miles from Aboukir. (Denon, Voyage en Egypte, p. 42; Champollion, l' Egypte, vol. ii. p. 258.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


MAREIA (Ancient city) EGYPT
  Mareia or Marea (Marea, Herod. ii. 18, 30; Mareia, Thucyd. i. 104; Mareia, Steph. Byz. s. v.; Maria, Diod. ii. 68 ; Palai Mareia kome, Ptol. iv. 5. § 34), the modern Mariouth, and the chief town of the Mareotic Nome, stood on a peninsula in the south of the lake Mareotis, nearly due south of Alexandreia, and adjacent to the mouth of the canal which connected the lake with the Canopic arm of the Nile. Under the Pharaohs Mareia was one of the principal frontier garrisons of Aegypt on the side of Libya; but from the silence of Herodotus (ii. 30) we may infer that the Persians did not station troops there. In all ages, however, until it was eclipsed by the neighbouring greatness of Alexandreia, Mareia, as the nearest place of strength to the Libyan desert, must have been a town of great importance to the Delta. At Maria, according to Diodorus (ii. 681), Amasis defeated the Pharaoh-Apries, Hofra, or Psammetichus; although Herodotus (ii. 161) places this defeat at Momemphis. (Herod. ii. 169.) At Mareia, also, according to Thucydides (i. 104; comp. Herod. iii. 12), Inarus, the son of Psammetichus, reigned, and organised the revolt of Lower Aegypt against the Persians. Under the Ptolemies, Mareia continued to flourish as a harbour; but it declined under the Romans, and in the age of the Antonines--the second century A.D.- it had dwindled into a village. (Comp. Athen. i. 25, p. 33, with Eustath. ad Homer. Odyss. ix. 197.)
  Mareia was the principal depot of the trade of the Mareotic Lake and Nome. The vineyards in its vicinity produced a celebrated wine, which Athenaeus (l. c.) describes as remarkable for its sweetness, white in colour, in quality excellent, light, with a fragrant bouquet: it was by no means astringent, and did not affect the head. (Comp. Plin. xiv. 3; Strab. xvii. p. 796.) Some, however, deemed the Mareotic wine inferior to that of Anthylla and Tenia; and Columella (R. R. iii. 2) says that it was too thin for Italian palates, accustomed to the fuller-bodied Falernian. Virgil (Georg. ii. 91) describes the Mareotic grape as white, and growing in a rich soil; yet the soil of the vineyards around the Mareotic Lake was principally composed of gravel, and lay beyond the reach of the alluvial deposit of the Nile, which is ill suited to viticulture. Strabo (xvii. p. 799) ascribes to the wine of Mareia the additional merit of keeping well to a great age; and Horace ( Od. i. 37) mentions it as a favourite beverage of Cleopatra.
  Mareia, from its neighbourhood to Alexandreia, was so generally known to Roman travellers, that among the Latin poets, the words Mareia and Mareotic became synonymous with Aegypt and Aegyptian. Thus Martial (Ep. xiv. 209) calls the papyrus, cortex Mareotica (comp. id; Ep. iv. 42) : and Gratius (Cynegetic. v. 313) designates Aegyptian luxury as Mareotic : and Ovid (Met. ix. v. 73) employs arva Mareotica for Lower Aegypt.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT
Canopus (Kanopos) or Canobus. An important city on the coast of Lower Egypt, twelve geographical miles east of Alexandria. It was near the westernmost mouth of the Nile, which was hence called the Canopic mouth. It was celebrated for a great temple of Serapis, for its commerce, its luxury, and its debauchery. Here was prepared the dye known as henna, which the women of the East have always used to stain their finger-tips. Before the founding of Alexandria it was a most important place, but after B.C. 300, its greatness declined.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


MAREIA (Ancient city) EGYPT
Marea (Mareia, Maria, Maree). A town of Lower Egypt, which gave its name to the district and lake of Mareotis. The lake was separated from the Mediterranean by the neck of land on which Alexandria stood, and supplied with water by the Canopic branch of the Nile and by canals. It served as the port of Alexandria for vessels navigating the Nile.

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Marea (or Mareia) and Mareotis: Marea was a village, then a city, in Egypt, located on the south side of Lake Mareotis, south and southwest of Alexandria. The lake, fed by canals from the Nile, gave its name to the district. The area developed into a major source of foodstuffs for Alexandria, producing in particular a renowned white wine exported all over the Mediterranean and supporting a large pottery industry to provide amphoras for the wine. The lake offered recreational opportunities for Alexandrians. In late antiquity, the shrine of St. Menas developed in the desert south of the lake, and the region served as a major transit corridor for pilgrims to the sanctuary. The decline of Alexandria after the Arab conquest and the atrophy of the Canopic branch of the Nile led to the shrinkage of the lake and to a reduction in demand for the area’s produce. The ensuing salinization of the area was exacerbated by deliberate breaches of the barrier between the sea and the lake in the Napoleonic era.
Bagnall, Roger, "Marea." Electronic Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World. EEAW, Inc., 2002. (Accessed Nov. 7, 2005 ).


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CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT

The Catholic Encyclopedia


An important seaport of Egypt, on the left bank of the Nile. It was founded by Alexander the Great to replace the small borough called Racondah or Rakhotis, 331 B.C. The Ptolemies, Alexander's successors on the throne of Egypt, soon made it the intellectual and commercial metropolis of the world. Caesar who visited it in 46 B.C. left it to Queen Cleopatra, but when Octavius went there in 30 B.C. he transformed the Egyptian kingdom into a Roman province. Alexandria continued prosperous under the Roman rule but declined a little under that of Constantinople.
When, after the treaty of October, 642, the Byzantines abandoned it to Amru, the Arab invaders hastened its ruin owing to the conqueror's impatience to build a new town, Cairo, and to transfer to it the government of Egypt henceforth a Mussulman province. The ruin had been great under the Arabians, but it became worse under the Turkish rule. Bonaparte on the 2nd of July, 1798, did not find more than 7,000 inhabitants in the town. Since then, thanks to the efforts of Mehemet Ali and to the great political and commercial events of the nineteenth century, the city of Alexandria has become once more the first port of the Eastern Mediterranean with 235,000 inhabitants.
Christianity was brought to Alexandria by the Evangelist St. Mark. It was made illustrious by a lineage of learned doctors such as Pantaenus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen; it has been governed by a series of great bishops amongst whom Athanasius and Cyril must be mentioned. Under Dioscurus, successor of Cyril, Eutychianism appeared and the native population saw in it an excellent means of freeing themselves from Byzantium. Their zeal for this heresy transformed the town into a battlefield where blood was shed more than once during the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries. At last the patriarchal church of St. Mark found itself divided into two communions; the native Copts bound to error, and the foreign Greeks faithful to orthodoxy. After the Arabian conquest, the Greek patriarchate remained vacant for many years; at the time of the Byzantine emperors and under the Ottoman sultan its holders were obliged to live habitually at Constantinople. On the other hand, the Copt patriarchate transferred itself to Cairo and saw most of its disciples become Mussulmans. Today, owing to its commercial importance, Alexandria possesses within its walls every tongue and Christian race: Copts, Greeks, Latins, Armenians, Maronites, Syrians, Chaldeans, Protestants.
(1) The Copts, a small community, are divided into Monophysites and Catholics; the chief of the first is the Patriarch of Alexandria, and resides at Cairo; the chief of the latter is also Patriarch of Alexandria since Leo XIII created this title in favour of Mgr. Macaire, 19 June, 1899.
(2) The Greeks also form two groups, the so-called Orthodox and the Melchites. The Orthodox, separated from Rome, are divided into two factions which differ in language and origin, and live in enmity: on one side, the Hellenophones, many of whom are natives of the Greek kingdom; on the other, the Arabophones, subject to the Khedive or natives of Syria; all these have a patriarch of Greek tongue and race whose official residence is in the town, near the church of St. Sabas. The Melchites, united to Rome, are natives of Egypt and Syria; they are under the Patriarch of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and all the East, but, as the prelate resides at Damascus, they are governed by a bishop who is vicar of the patriarchate.
(3) The Latins have no patriarch. A Latin patriarchate was created by the Crusaders who took Alexandria in 1202 and in 1367; but this patriarchate, established residentially from 1859 to 1866, is become again merely nominal. Now, nothing but an apostolical vicariate exists; the vicar, a member of the Friars Minor of St. Francis has specially under his direction the Europeans of foreign colonies.
(4) The Armenians are divided into Gregorians and Catholics; the latter have a Bishop of Alexandria who resides, however at Cairo; the Gregorians are subject to a simple vartabet.
(5) The Maronites, whose number is increasing every day, wish to constitute a diocese. In the meanwhile they are governed by priests appointed by the Patriarch of the Lebanon.
(6) To the 300 Syrian Catholics of Alexandria and Cairo, a chorepiscopus who resides in the latter town is given.
(7) Still less numerous, the United Chaldeans possess no special organization.
(8) The Protestants are represented at Alexandria by numerous sects; the Anglican Church has a community since the middle of the nineteenth century and a school; the Scotch Free Church has a church since 1867 and a school; the Evangelical Church of Germany, established in the town since 1857, opened a church in 1866 and a little school. But these are for foreign residents; the mission of the United Presbyterian Church of the United States has a church and two schools for the Copts (about 100 members). Moreover, most of the Protestant missions which work among the Copts of Upper Egypt have stations or lodgings at Alexandria.

Jules Pargoire, ed.
Transcribed by: Vivek Gilbert John Fernandez
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.


CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT
Canopus. A titular see of Egypt. Its old Egyptian name was Pikuat; the Greeks called it Kanobos, or Kanopos, after a commander of a Greek fleet buried there. The city stood in the seventh Nomos (Menelaites, later Canopites), not far from the Canopic mouth. It had many martyrs in the persecution of Diocletian, among others St. Athanasia with her three daughters, and St. Cyrus and John. There was here a monastery called Metanoia, founded by monks from Tabennisi, where many patriarchs of Alexandria took shelter during the religious quarrels of the fifth century. Two miles east of Canopus was the famous heathen temple of Manouthin, afterwards destroyed by monks, and a church on the same spot dedicated to the Evangelists. St. Cyril of Alexandria solemnly transported the relics of the holy martyrs Cyrus and John into the church, which became an important place of pilgrimage. It was here that St. Sophronius of Jerusalem was healed of an ophthalmy that had been declared incurable by the physicians (610-619), whereupon he wrote the panegyric of the two saints with a collection of seventy miracles worked in their sanctuary (Migne, P.G., LXXXVII, 3379-676)
  Canopus formed, with Menelaus and Schedia, a see subject to Alexandria in Aegyptus Prima; it is usually called Schedia in the "Notitiae episcopatuum". Two titulars are mentioned by Lequien (II, 415), one in 325, the other in 362. The modern Arabic name is Aboukir, "Father Cyrus", in honour of the first of the two celebrated martyrs. It is to-day a village with 1000 inhabitants, at the end of a little peninsula north-east of Alexandria. It has a trade in quails, which are caught in nets hung along the shore. Off Aboukir, 1 August, 1798, the French fleet was destroyed within the roads by Nelson; 25 July, 1799. Bonaparte destroyed there a Turkish army 18,000 strong; and on 8 March, 1801, the French garrison of 1800 men was defeated by 20,000 English and Turks commanded by Abercromby.

S. Vailhe, ed.
Transcribed by: Gerald M. Knight
This text is cited Oct 2005 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  A harbor city at the NW corner of the Nile Delta. Founded by Alexander the Great in 332-331 B.C., it became the first known city in history to bear the name of the founder rather than of a god or mythological hero. The plan of the city is credited to Deinokrates, the Macedonian architect of the new Temple of Artemis at Ephesos. By the construction of the Heptastadion, a mole to bridge the distance of 1500 m, between the Island of Pharos (long known to the Greeks, Hom. Od. 4351ff), and the frontier settlement Ra-kedet (Strab. 17.1.6; Plin. HN 5.10.62), on the extreme W end of the narrow rocky isthmus between Lake Mareotis and the Mediterranean Sea, two harbors were formed and consequently the boundaries of the new city were determined.
  On leaving Egypt, Alexander appointed Kleomenes, a Greek from Naukratis, as financial administrator of Egypt, responsible for building the new city and settling it. Settlement was accomplished largely by transferring the citizens of Canopus, NE of Alexandria (Hdt. 2.15. 97). The first recorded public building, the Hephaisteion, dates from this period. This mortuary monument was built by Kleomenes at the command of Alexander in memory of a Macedonian captain who had died in 324 B.C. On the death of Alexander in 323, Egypt was entrusted to Ptolemy, son of Lagos. He had the body of Alexander buried in Memphis until a suitable tomb could be built for him in Alexandria. Meanwhile, fearing a rival in Kleomenes, Ptolemy had him assassinated and confiscated his wealth, amounting to 8000 talents in gold. Such a large sum undoubtedly launched Ptolemy into the realization of his ambition to become absolute ruler of Egypt. In 304 B.C., he was crowned king of Egypt, founding a dynasty that lasted until 30 B.C. Early in that period, the founding of the Library and the Mouseion marked the advance of scholarship and arts in Alexandna. Three new cults were instituted, the cult of Alexander the Great, the cult of the Ptolemies, and the cult of Serapis, enriching the capital with numerous sacred buildings. The last recorded temple from the Ptoleinaic period was the Caesarion, which Cleopatra began to erect for Antony in 34 B.C. It was later completed by Augustus and renamed the Sebasteion. The two obelisks that Augustus had transferred from Heliopolis to be set in the enclosure of his temple (Plin. 5.6.10), remained until the end of the 19th c. on the site now occupied by the Metropole Hotel in Ramleh Station. One obelisk is now in New York and the other in London. The Caesarion marks the end of the Ptolemaic period and the beginning of a regime that imposed the cult of the Roman emperors.
  Fortunately, we have a gratifying list of the edifices of the city at this point of its history: Strabo, who visited Egypt ca. 25 B.C., saw the Pharos (the lighthouse of Alexandria), the two harbors, the palaces, the Museion, the two libraries, the theater, the Caesarion, and the Timonium (Plut. Ant. 69). He also visited the gymnasion, the dikasterion, the stadion, the Paneion, a magnificent park, the Serapeon, and admired the necropolis with its gardens. Augustus enlarged the city by planning a new suburb to the E of the ancient city, which he called Nikopolis to commemorate his victory over Antony. Although Rome was the capital of the Empire, Alexandria was still able to exert some influence on the formation of its major policies. It was at Alexandria, for example, that Vespasian had himself proclaimed emperor in A.D. 69, and after him a long train of emperors visited Alexandria. Hadrian (117-38) restored peace to the city when it was threatened by rioting Jews. The decline of the city started with Caracalla (211-17), who when mocked by the citizens massacred a great number of its youth. Aurelian (272) destroyed the royal quarter to avenge an attempt at independence made by the city after his defeat of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra. In 294-95 when Diocletian took possession of the rebellious city after nine months, he ordered an even more terrible massacre and destruction.
  According to tradition, Christianity was introduced into Alexandria in A.D. 60. The Alexandrian Christian school produced such eminent thinkers as Clement, Ongen, and Athenaius. Under the Byzantine emperor Theodosius (379-95), the Patriarch Theophilus was instrumental in abolishing paganism, and to this time dates the destruction of all pagan monuments, temples, statues, and even books. After the Persian invasion, the city was restored to the Empire by Heraclius. In 641 the Arab conquest brought to an end a millennium of Graeco-Roman Alexandria.

S. Shenouda, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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