The Rise And Fall Of Alexandria

The following sample essay on Rise And Fall Of Alexandria offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below. How the modern world was actually established is often overlooked and attributed to the powers and domination of Athens and Rome. What authors Justin Pollard and Howard Reid urge readers to understand, however, is the significance that the city of Alexandria had on Western Civilization. Both authors have worked in British and American television, and are accomplished in the film documentary industry.

Reid has also previously written five other books. In their narrative book, The Rise and Fall of Alexandria, they seek to emphasize just how important this little city was to the foundation of the modern world through accounts of history. Alexandria was built on the foundation of knowledge and intellect, with some of the greatest minds in the fields of Philosophy and Astronomy behind the operation.

Alexandria was the birthplace of some of history’s most influential people and the ideas that accompanied them.The ideas of these influential people, such as Herophilus and his discovery of the human organs, and Aristarchus with his idea of a heliocentric universe, have been carried down for centuries and will never be forgotten. Alexandria was home to the incredible library and museum where some of the world’s greatest thinkers pondered and hypothesized the abstracts and ideas that were foreign to their time. Along with all of these historical facts about Alexandria, the city also houses one of the Seven Wonders of the World—the magnificent lighthouse, the Pharos.

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Alexandria, one of the most influential cities in the foundation of the modern world and a city whose “unique soul” has been overlooked by history. But, through The Rise and Fall of Alexandria, readers are able to experience the climb to knowledge and intellect, as well as the rise and fall of this “most extraordinary city on earth”. Alexander founded the city of Alexandria in 331 BC. Alexandria was in a prime location for a provincial capital with its “access to Egypt’s wealth and connections on to the Red Sea”. He wanted Egypt as part of his growing empire.Not long after in 323 BC, however, Alexander died and left this newly established city to his half brother and baby son. Alexander’s childhood friend, Ptolemy, soon came to rule over the city and Alexandria began rising. Ptolemy had plans for the city and began building innovative roads and two sea harbors. With these new developments, authors note, the “fundamental plan of the greatest city in the ancient world was complete. ” Houses, slaves, cattle, and taxpayers were being taken from surrounding villages and given to the capital city of Alexandria.When Ptolemy’s son and successor began his rule on the city, he, too, threw himself into developing Alexandria and created a currency that could be used to sell and trade. Structures were built, such as temples and the lighthouse, and Alexandria was becoming known as “the light of the world”.

Along with the furthering of physical growth to the city of Alexandria, there was also growth politically and religiously. Ptolemy wished to fuse ancient thinking with the modern thinking of the Greeks, so he devised a plan and created a cult through a fusion of two gods: the god of the dead and the living bull.And this Greco-Egyptian cult was created and called Serapis. Through this newly founded religion and the constant furthering of the city’s buildings and technology, Alexandria began to rise. One of the main and most important themes found in the history of Alexandria is how much the city and that period in time contributed to the knowledge of the world. Some of the most brilliant people influenced that particular time, including the great philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as others such as Euclid of Alexandria, Herophilus, Aristarchus, and Eratosthenes.Alexandria was rich in knowledge because of the great minds that utilized and contributed to the city’s institutions, such as the library and the lighthouse, to hypothesize theories and concepts. For example, Eratosthenes observed ships on the horizon from atop the lighthouse in Alexandria and eventually was the first to compass the world and describe the globe. Aristotle, being the private tutor of Alexander, could be credited for laying the intellectual foundation for the city of Alexandria. He, too, contributed to the Library of the city.Behind the brilliance of Aristotle, one can find the influences of the great philosophers that preceded him: Socrates and Plato. Because of its saturation of intellects and the availability of resources (the library and museum), Alexandria was a city thriving with knowledge and new schools of thought. Alexandria was the birthplace of the modern world, “not led by legions of soldiers, but by dynasties of scholars navigating on a sea of books”. Alexander was considered to be a living god by the Egyptians for over 3,000 years, but the Greeks, however, did not so easily accept this notion.At the death of Alexander, dispute over who should rule over the largest empire on earth was in play. Finally, Alexander’s childhood friend, Ptolemy who looked like an Egyptian and spoke like a Greek, became Pharaoh. The reign of Ptolemy, including his heirs, was one that lasted for five generations. As even the beginning of the Alexandria Empire showed a trend of a constant power struggle among kings and pharaohs, so it continued this way until its fall. With rulers coming in and out of power, Alexandria was under a constant power struggle.Since Alexander’s death, “the eastern Mediterranean had been involved in an almost continuous struggle among the descendants of his heirs for control over” Alexandria.

A power that was becoming stronger and more threatening was that of Rome. Whether it was the grain that attracted the Romans to Alexandria, or the hunger for a place in history with the greatest conqueror, Alexander, the Romans were drawn to Alexandria. While under the rule of Cleopatra, the city of Alexandria was invaded by the Romans and the city was set in flames.The great Library of Alexandria lost some 4,000 papyrus scrolls, which although was not the end of the library, was the symbol of the city falling as the heart of it had been burned. In the spring of 30 BC, Alexandria was again invaded by Octavian and his army, and on August 1, “the Ptolemaic kingdom came to an end”. Alexandria became a city in which it was dangerous to express one’s religious beliefs or opinions. In the middle of this dangerous time, the last scientist who worked in the library was a woman named Hypatia.The fact that she was a woman and that she was friends with the Roman governor made the Archbishop of Alexandria, Cyril, hate her. Hypatia was killed, and soon after, the Library was destroyed. The heart and mind, the central being, the core of Alexandria was destroyed with the Library, and “with the death of Hypatia, her city also began to die. The streets were filled with religious extremism and violence and with ethnic tension; the customs were changing and even the language was transforming as influenced by the Egyptians.

Eventually the great city of Alexandria was torn down by the Muslim general and the place that had once flourished with civilization and knowledge became nothing but ruins covered in flour and grain—and so was the fall of Alexandria. Alexandria was a city that started out strong and promising, with its dedicated rulers and the plans they had to nurture and expand the empire. It was the center of knowledge and wisdom, a magnet for those with great minds and ideas about the world.The heart of the city was its beloved library. Intellects swarmed this great city to teach, to learn, to ponder, and to discover. Aristarchus “put the earth in heavens in motion” when he proposed a model of the solar system; Eratosthenes found the solution to the “Delian Problem”; Archimedes figured out how to calculate the volume of a sphere: all these discoveries out of the city in Egypt. As I read through this book, I felt as though I was in the middle of it all.It felt like I was watching the birth of a baby as the city was founded, the hard life of growing up as the city underwent so many changes, and eventually the death of a legacy as the city was torn down. The city of Alexandria served its purpose of facilitating the minds of philosophical geniuses and an important chunk of history in our world. Through this book, Justin Pollard and Howard Reid were able to bring to life a long-lost empire that rose and fell, but will never be forgotten. Pollard, Justin and Howard Reid. The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern World. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.

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The Rise And Fall Of Alexandria
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