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By Christopher Haas

Second basically to Rome within the historical international, Alexandria used to be domestic to lots of past due antiquity's such a lot great writers, philosophers, and theologians -- between them Philo, Origen, Arius, Athanasius, Hypatia, Cyril, and John Philoponus. Now, in Alexandria in past due Antiquity, Christopher Haas bargains the 1st ebook to put those figures in the actual and social context of Alexandria's bustling city milieu.

Because of its transparent demarcation of communal barriers, Alexandria presents the trendy historian with an excellent chance to probe the multicultural make-up of an historical city unit. Haas explores the wide avenues and again alleys of Alexandria's neighborhoods, its suburbs and waterfront, and features of fabric tradition that underlay Alexandrian social and highbrow existence. Organizing his dialogue round the city's non secular and ethnic blocs -- Jews, pagans, and Christians -- he information the fiercely aggressive nature of Alexandrian social dynamics. not like contemporary scholarship, which cites Alexandria as a version for peaceable coexistence inside of a culturally diversified group, Haas unearths that the varied teams' struggles for social dominance and cultural hegemony usually ended in violence and bloodshed -- a unstable state of affairs often exacerbated by means of imperial intervention on one aspect or the other.

Eventually, Haas concludes, Alexandrian society completed a undeniable balance and reintegration -- a procedure that ended in the transformation of Alexandrian civic id through the the most important centuries among antiquity and the center a long time.

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Another crucial element is the issue of political authority inAlexandria and its division between local and imperial officials. Only thendo I turn to a social description of the city’sethno-religlous communities. For eachcommunity, I notonlyexamine its internal structure and governance but also give attention to the community’s topographical and social location within thecity. Finally,I address the question of intercommunal competition by examining three critical flashpoints in thelr relations.

Toward the center of the city, the street broadenedInto the spaciousAgora surrounded by porticoeswith afour-sided monumental arch at one end. Legal petitions were often posted in the Agora since the city lawcourts were located nearby. ~g The gymnasium, possessing “porticoes more than a stadium in length,” either adjoined theAgora or was situated nearby. 3” However, the district around the Agora continued to boast numerous public buildings throughout the late Roman period. It is quite possible that the baths, lecture halls, and small theater located close-by at Kom el-Dikka weredesigned, in part, to take overthe social role formerly held by the gymnasium.

In supportof this view, Baconpoints to classical Athens, where the Panathenalc Way is easily seen as the city’sprincipal “movement system” leading to the city’s focal point-the Acropolis. 25 Urban topography serves as both the ground and the articulation of the lives of city dwellers. As a result, episodes in the city’s history may be illuminatedby constantly referring to the question of loca16 L Introductlon tion, in the belief that the changing fortunes of individuals and groups were shaped by the topography of Alexander’s magnificent city.

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