Alexandria – History of the Capital of Egypt Founded by Alexander the Great and its Destruction –

When we hear about Alexandriaa city of merchants comes to mind, with a large port full of merchandise, the bustle of people running from one place to another, with a library that makes the city of Alexandria the ancient cultural center. We will definitely move to the 3rd century BCin full splendor, when it housed the most imposing lighthouse in history. But what happened to Alexandria, how could it go from maximum splendor to decline and almost destruction. Via Alexandria-History of the Capital of Egypt Founded by Alexander the Great and Its Destructionwe are going to answer all these questions, let’s start with its Origin.

Alexandria – History of the Capital of Egypt | Background

Alexandria was built by imperialist desires and the need to create the largest, most modern and important city that reflected the power of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. FFounded by Alexander the Great in 331 BCbecame the link between Greece and the Nile Valley.

After conquering Syria and Egypt, Alexander was looking for a place to establish the capital of his empire and found that place in the Nile delta. The city project was awarded to Dinocrates of Rhodes and the chosen place was a peninsula inhabited by the Rakotis village, a small fishing village that would later form part of the city of Alexandria as a neighborhood. Sheltered from the flooding of the Nile and with the possibility of creating two fundamental ports, one maritime in the Mediterranean Sea and another fluvial on the Nilethat through a channel joined the Port, the Lake and the Nile, and with the Nile access to all of Egypt.

Unfortunately shortly after its foundation, Alexander left the city never to return, died in Babylon. After Alexander’s death, his general Ptolemy managed to bring his body to Alexandria.

With the coming to power of the Ptolemies, Alexandria continued to develop, new works would be undertaken like the Heptastadion, which would separate the port of Alexandria into two parts, one western and one eastern. Alexandria would soon become the main port of the Mediterranean, with the destruction of the port of Tyre, the port of Alexandria became the place where European, Arab and Asian trade converged.

Alexandria with only a century of life had become one of the most important cities in the world, only behind Rome. Boats arrived at the port with tin from Brittany, cotton from India, bronze from Hispania and silk from China.

Alexandria – History of the Capital of Egypt | epoch of splendor

The first kings of the Ptolemy dynasty encouraged the development of the city, creating new spaces such as the museumwhich received this name for its connection with the muses of knowledge, inside the museum wasto the librarywhich made the city the cultural focus of the ancient world.

As a cultural focus, it should be noted that it was here that the the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Groups of sages also spent long periods in Alexandria as Archimedes, Euclid and its geometry, Hipparchus of Nicaea who explained trigonometry and the geocentrism of the universe, Aristarchus of Samos, defending the movement of the earth and all the planets around the sun. It was in Alexandria that the first geography book with maps of the “known world” was written, mathematics deepened, gearboxes were invented, and even the first steam-powered automatons were built, the Alexandria. Later the city would also receive Doctors like Galen and his art of healing providing vast knowledge of anatomy, etc.

Under the Magno Port the island is submerged Anti rollwhere rose the Royal Palace. the following kings Ptolemy II, Philadelphus and Ptolemy III, They finished turning the city of Alexandria into a cultured, rich and beautiful place. The fertile lands of the Nile with abundant wheat harvests that, together with the oil from its olive trees and the wines from its vineyards, were highly appreciated products that were exported to any place, especially Rome, where both Horace and Virgil appreciated the taste of the wine of Alexandria.

The city had drinking water tanks which was stored with water from the Nile, while the layout of the city made the provision of a plumbing system who roamed the city. On the other hand, the layout of the city with its rectilinear streets circulated a sea breeze that was appreciated considering the location of Alexandria, everything was thought and calculated in Alexandria.

had different neighborhoods Being its population mostly Greek, it housed the largest Jewish community in ancient times. The three major ethnic groups were The Greeks, Jews and Egyptians, later also Indians, but it would be of this ethnic divide from where would arise the revolts that under the reign of Ptolemy Philopater began to manifest and that as a consequence led to purges and a civil war, during the reign of Ptolemy VIII around 116 BC

Alexandria – History of the Capital of Egypt | Beginning of the End

In the year 80 BC the city became part of the Roman Jurisdiction, By express wish of King Ptolemy Alexander, it remained so for a period of 100 years. In the year 47 BC, King Ptolemy XIII decided to recover Alexandria, together with his advisers and Queen Cleopatra VII, leading to a civil war, which ended with the capture of Ptolemy by Octavian on August 1, 30 BC. , who would later go down in history as Augustus in commemoration of this date.

With the arrival of the Romans, the city came to suffer various disasters such as:

  • The Bucolic War (172-175 AD)
  • Sacks by Caracaalla (215 AD)
  • Destroyed by Valerian (253 AD)
  • Destroyed by the queen of Palmyra and the Zenobios (269 AD)
  • Destroyed and looted by Aureliano (273 AD). With this last attack the Bruchión was destroyed, damaging the Museum and the Library.
  • Diocletian took and sacked the city, after a siege of 8 months (297 AD).
  • earthquakes. Like the one suffered in the year 365, which caused 50,000 deaths in Alexandria, sinking more than 20% of the city into the waters, including the museum and library.
  • Chosroes II. Sassanid Persian King, takes the city in 616.

After all these disasters, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, recovered the city in the year 629, but a short time later in the year 641, the Arabs under the command of General Amribn al-As They conquered the city after a 14-month siege.

In the year 1517, the city was occupied by the ottoman turks behind the battle Of Ridaniya, occupation that remained until year 1798.

arriving at the Napoleonic erawhen in 1798 his troops stormed the city, making it part of the flourishing French Empire, a city that they would not leave until 1801, Date of the Battle of Alexandria between British and French.

In that same year, the English commissioned Mohammed Ali, governor of Egypt and Ottoman, to rebuild the city, which was completed in 1850.

In 1994, Alexandria became the target of a series of bombing that Israel hecarried out in the so-called Lavon case. In 1954, in Mansheyya Square, an assassination attempt was made on President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Major battles and sieges of Alexandria include:

Alexandria – History of the Capital of Egypt | How was the city

The design of the city was entrusted to Dinocrates of Rhodes, who designed a city in the style of the time, following the plans hydodamic, which consisted of a large square, with a large avenue about 5 km long and 30 m wide. This road ran through the city from East to West and received in the name of Canopic Way. Both parallel and perpendicular streets started from the avenue, but always with crosses at right angles.

The city was governed administratively divided into 5 districts, counting on water conduction systems that circulated through the streets through pipes. On its maritime side we find the great port of alexandria Y the Heptastadion, that was kind of dam that connected the city of Alexandria with the Island of Faro, dividing the port into a western part called Puerto del Buen Regreso and another called Puerto Magno oriental or Great port.

But a city with such an important port needed a good lighthouse to guide the boats. This project was entrusted to Substrates of Gnidowho taking advantage of the Lighthouse Island, raised the impressive Lighthouse of Alejandria, totally covered with marble and with a height of 134 m. The floors of the lighthouse were different from each other, the lower floor being square, the second floor octagonal and the third floor cylindrical, which was also the one that carried the wood fire that was climbed through interior ramps. It is said that the lighthouse was visible from a sea day’s distance.

With the arrival of the Ptolemies, the city was embellished more, built a palace which was lined with marble, the palace had a large garden with fountains and sculptures. At the other end of the marvelous garden, another marble building was built, which was called the Museum.

The museum owed to King Ptolemy I Soter, this museum would serve to house all the knowledge of the time, it had a large Library. near the museum the temple of Serapeus, a god that mixes the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Apis.

The city center was used for public and government uses, such as the assembly, different squares, markets, bathrooms, stadiums, gyms, basilicas, etc. In the city there were different neighborhoods, Although the majority of the inhabitants of Alexandria were Greek, Jewish and Egyptian neighborhoods could also be found, the latter being fishermen descendants of the ancient settlers and inhabiting the worst areas of the city.

Alexandria would soon rank first in importance in the country, Egyptian art and architecture were used in the creation of the city, but the cultural level that the city acquired meant that even when the Romans invaded Egypt, the whole country spoke so much Greek as Egyptian. It came to have so much importance that they called it Alexandria ad Aegyptum, the Alexandria that is close to Egypt, giving more importance to the city than to the country.

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Alexandria – History of the Capital of Egypt | Photo gallery