Alexandria in Late Antiquity: Topography and Social Conflict by Christopher Haas

By Christopher Haas

Second in basic terms to Rome within the historical international, Alexandria was once domestic to a lot of overdue antiquity's such a lot very good writers, philosophers, and theologians -- between them Philo, Origen, Arius, Athanasius, Hypatia, Cyril, and John Philoponus. Now, in Alexandria in past due Antiquity, Christopher Haas deals the 1st e-book 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 offers the trendy historian with a fantastic chance to probe the multicultural make-up of an historical city unit. Haas explores the huge avenues and again alleys of Alexandria's neighborhoods, its suburbs and waterfront, and facets of fabric tradition that underlay Alexandrian social and highbrow lifestyles. Organizing his dialogue round the city's non secular and ethnic blocs -- Jews, pagans, and Christians -- he info the fiercely aggressive nature of Alexandrian social dynamics. unlike fresh scholarship, which cites Alexandria as a version for peaceable coexistence inside of a culturally varied neighborhood, Haas reveals that the varied teams' struggles for social dominance and cultural hegemony frequently ended in violence and bloodshed -- a unstable state of affairs often exacerbated via imperial intervention on one part or the other.

Eventually, Haas concludes, Alexandrian society accomplished a undeniable balance and reintegration -- a technique that led to the transformation of Alexandrian civic id in the course of the the most important centuries among antiquity and the center a long time.

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During this period of intense intercommunal competition,diverse factors conducive to mobviolence came together on the urban stage and were frequently exacerbated by the intervention of imperial power on one side or another. After this conflict wasfinally resolved, and Alexandrian society achieved a certain reintegration, the Christians emerged as the hegemonic community. Once again, we find the virtual identification of Alexandrian civic consciousness with theideology of one ethnoreligious community, testifying to the success of this social reintegration.

W G. Liebeschuetz’s Antioch: Czty and Imperial Administration in the Later Roman Empire (1972). Despite the laudable qualities of these two traditional approaches to urban history, they are unable to capture an essential element in the history of Alexandria: the constant interplay among the built environment, the socioeconomic andpolitical structures of the city, and the ongoing competitionfor cultural hegemony In order to explore this interplay as fully as possible, I first sketch the city’s physical setting and then proceed to a general discussion 14 Introductm of the economic and social structures of Alexandrian life.

52 However, the lake’s inhabitants in antiquity supplemented their income from fishing andpapyrusgatheringwithanother form ofeconomic activity-piracy. ”5+ This semiruralregion south and west of the lake possessed ten or more villages and a larger urban center 37 i named Marea around which there was a countryside dotted with prosperous villas. Archaeological remains from the region supply striking confirmation of the vital role held by wine production in the economy of Mareotis, since an elaborate wine “factory”has recently been discovered at a site some * thirty kilometers from Alexandria.

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