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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Savvopoulos: Alexandrea in Aegypto

Savvopoulos, Kyriakos
Alexandrea in Aegypto. 
ideology, culture, identity, and public life
Doctoral thesis
Department of Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University

Alexandria, the capital of Egypt during the Hellenistic and Roman periods is often hailed as the ancient cosmopolitan center of Mediterranean par excellence. Since the foundation of the city by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, several traditions- along with their representatives, mainly Greek and Egyptian- coexisted and interacted with each other, resulting in a multiculturalism in Alexandrian society. However, in the past scholarship, the Greek cultural aspect of the city has been extensively discussed, while the Egyptian part has never been fully overviewed and interpreted. Such interpretations caused in a large extent, from the one side, a deformed picture of the Alexandria’s Greek-ness, almost equal to this of a Greek “colony” separated from Egypt –Alexandria ad Aegyptum- and from the other side a blur picture about the role of the Egyptian tradition in the Greco-Egyptian interaction and the life of Alexandrian society. However, over the last decade an alternative framework of understanding has been developed in several case studies, while discoveries from the underwater missions indicate that the city had much more Egyptian characteristics than hitherto believed. Therefore, the thesis aims to provide an overview and interpretation of the Egyptian elements and influences in Alexandria, focusing on issues of ideology, culture, identity and public life. In this way, it has been attempted to offer a better understanding of the multicultural life of Alexandria in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

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