Blog #7- Alexandria

The city of Alexandria, created by Alexander the Great, really fascinated me this week as it has a distinctive history significant to the people of ancient Egypt that lived during the Hellenistic and Ptolemaic periods. This site is so special because of its representation of the historic events that occurred in association with Alexander the Great and his defeat of the Persian state. The Egyptians were not accepting of a ruler that was not native to their state and disapproved when the Persians invaded during the 27th Dynasty. Because of this, they were very fond of Alexander the Great when he liberated them from Persian control and shows that they would support anyone who opposed the Persians even if they were foreigners. As a result Alexander the Great was declared the son of Amun-Re by the oracle at the Temple of Amun at Siwa and was honored by the Egyptians.

Alexander the Great’s achievements are embodied by the city of Alexandria where it is renowned in Egypt for the art and monuments that are there, the centers of learning it has as well as the festival referred to as Ptolemaieia which is similar to the Olympics. The importance of the city only increases as it is the resting place of Alexander the Great’s body since it never made it back to Macedonia where he was originally from. He died at the age of 33 in 323 BC due to an illness which I’m sure he contracted due to his travels around the Mediterranean area. His appearance and accomplishments in the region started the integration of various communities and cultures in Egypt like the Greek, the Jewish and obviously the Egyptian especially during the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt. Throughout its history Alexandria has been a center for many political, cultural and religious features of Egypt and really exemplifies the Egyptian’s gratitude for Alexander the great’s successes  on behalf of their state.

 

3 thoughts on “Blog #7- Alexandria

  1. Although I was familiar with the name Alexander the Great before this week’s materials, it had not occurred to me that I actually had no idea what he meant to the course of history until the lectures. I think I assumed he was a conqueror who was not kind to people and was obsessed with his power. Some regions probably think so, but after studying what he did for Egypt this appears to not be the case. I was also fascinated by all he did accomplish, including the city of Alexandria. Considering the methods of travel of the time, it must have taken a great deal of effort to travel to all of the places that he did. Not only that, he took them all over. Meanwhile, while stopping in Egypt to free them from the Persians, he found a nice location and founded and entire prominent city. The cultural influence one person was able to achieve is absolutely astounding, so it’s no surprise that the Oracle determined he was the son of Amun-Re and admired by the Egyptians, who were definitely no match for the Persians. Alexander the Great really earned his title in those 33 years, whether or not people find the ‘great’ to stand for something positive.

  2. Alexandria is an interesting city because of the unique history of the site. While the Egyptians were a proud people that did not like the intervention of foreigners, one of their most important cities, Alexandria, was founded by a foreigner. It is interesting to see how this dislike of foreigners can be displaced by the way in which the population viewed these outsiders. As you mentioned the Egyptians happily greeted Alexander the Great as a liberator. Due to the way in which Alexander presented himself to the Egyptians it was very easy for them to accept him, even though he was still an outsider. Since the Persians were the major threat during this time it is no surprise that Egypt would accept Alexander because of the role he played in the defeat of Persia and their expulsion from Egypt. As this city developed it became even more important with its great library and other learning centers. It was interesting to learn that this is actually the final resting place of Alexander the Great. It is also interesting to see the many different political, cultural, and religious centers that emerged in this city. Being founded by a foreigner, the Egyptians must have been tremendously grateful to Alexander the Great.

  3. I also wrote my blog on Alexander the Great. I was previously not aware of his role in ancient Egyptian history. I thought it was intriguing how his arrival was greatly accepted and appreciated by the Egyptians because of his replacing the Persians. He was such an important source of hope for them and rather than let it drive them deeper into hopelessness, they embraced the rare opportunity to start a new chapter in their political future. The establishment of the city of Alexandria along with the title of son of Amun Re were extremely important actions on behalf of the Egyptians. They didn’t just see his rule as their only option but embraced it fully and developed perhaps even a preference for him. To associate him with a god was a huge deal, and I had no idea he had any role in their history let along such a prestigious one. He must have had a very likable persona, making him an easy person to honor and obey. I love that he returned to that city in the end to be buried; it holds such a significant meaning. I wrote about his mysterious death in my blog. Although the cause is still unknown, poison has been suggested as a possibility. It is a pity, if that was the case, that he was brought down after all that he had done for the people. Too many great rulers have their times cut short just due to one opposer, while thousands of people weep in response.

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