2. Cultural and intellectual center, famous for its Great Library, Schools of Philosophy and cultural life. 3. Cosmopolitan society and Public life. Alexandria is considered the first advanced Cosmopolis of the Mediterranean. Different ethnic groups coexisted and interacted with each other, towards the Hellenistic idiom of life. 4. The most important Port in the Hellenistic World, and the second most important city in the Roman Empire. 5. Economic Capital and connecting city for the Mediterranean and the rest of the known world These parameters are well reflected to the literary, archaeological and further historical evidence. The following text will attempt to discuss different aspect of Graeco-roman Alexandria, towards the political, social and cultural role of the Hellenistic and Roman factor, as indicated in the monumental topography of the Graeco-roman city, its intellectual activities, cultural expressions, ideology and identity of its society. Thus, it is expected to reveal the polyvalent nature of Alexandria, the first advanced cosmopolis of the Mediterranean world, within a local Egyptian as well as wider universal cross-cultural context. Moreover, the legacy of Graeco-Roman Alexandria in the modern period comprises part of the discussion.
ALEXANDER’S OIKOUMENE AND THE FOUNDATION OF ALEXANDRIA
“…just as you have yourself (Alexander) founded Alexandria by Mount Caucasus and another Alexandria in Egypt, and as there are many other cities you have founded already or will found…” (Arian, Anabasis of Alexander V. 5)
Alexander the Great never experienced the city during his lifetime. It was rather the Hellenistic rulers of Egypt, the Ptolemies, as well as the residents of Alexandria, who constructed, developed and preserved his myth in the city. Nevertheless, it was the policies of Alexander concerning the land of the Nile, including the foundation of his homonymous city, which have caused major changes and developments not only concerning the fate of Egypt and Mediterranean but of the whole world, once forever.