By Christopher Haas
Second merely to Rome within the historic international, Alexandria was once domestic to a lot of past due antiquity's such a lot fabulous writers, philosophers, and theologians -- between them Philo, Origen, Arius, Athanasius, Hypatia, Cyril, and John Philoponus. Now, in Alexandria in overdue Antiquity, Christopher Haas bargains the 1st booklet to put those figures in the actual and social context of Alexandria's bustling city milieu.
Because of its transparent demarcation of communal limitations, Alexandria presents the trendy historian with a terrific chance to probe the multicultural make-up of an old city unit. Haas explores the wide avenues and again alleys of Alexandria's neighborhoods, its suburbs and waterfront, and elements of fabric tradition that underlay Alexandrian social and highbrow lifestyles. Organizing his dialogue round the city's spiritual 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 reveals that the varied teams' struggles for social dominance and cultural hegemony usually ended in violence and bloodshed -- a unstable state of affairs usually exacerbated through imperial intervention on one facet or the other.
Eventually, Haas concludes, Alexandrian society completed a definite balance and reintegration -- a procedure that led to the transformation of Alexandrian civic identification throughout the an important centuries among antiquity and the center a while.
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Additional info for Alexandria in Late Antiquity: Topography and Social Conflict
From these collecting points, fleets of riverbarges would then carry the grain down to the city.
Egypt was one of the empire’s mostimportant granaries, and Alexandria served as the conduit for this vltal grain supply as well as for much of the empire’s trade with the east. 2 Although the city’s development was not governedby an inexorable geographical determinism, a combination of unique geographical factors interacted with Alexandria’s institutions and history in a fashion perhaps unparalleled in other Mediterranean cities of antiquity. Alexandria possessed one of the very few favorable sites along the marshy coast of Egypt which allowed for the construction of a major port.
The positionof the legionary camp took advantage of the east-west axis of the Via Canopica, allowingfor the rapid intervention of Roman authority into the city via the Sun Gate. The camp’s proximity to the hippodrome also facilitated the enforced maintenance of order during occasionally turbulent gatheringsin this all-important Alexandrian locale. 31 Athanasius, who knew Alexandrian topographyas well as anyone inthe fourth century, presents a marvelous picture of the city’s configuration in a passage condemning the violent persecutions instituted by the Arians: Where is there a house [oikon]which they did notravage!
Alexandria in Late Antiquity: Topography and Social Conflict by Christopher Haas