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Alexandria, city, Egypt
Alexandria, Arabic Al Iskandariyah, city, N Egypt, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is at the western extremity of the Nile River delta, situated on a narrow isthmus between the sea and Lake Mareotis (Maryut). The city is Egypt's leading port, a commercial and transportation center, and the heart of a major industrial area where refined petroleum, asphalt, cotton textiles, processed food, paper, and plastics are produced. The Univ. of Alexandria; the Institute of Alexandria, an affiliate of Al Azhar Univ. in Cairo; a college of nursing; and medical and textile research centers are in the city, which is also the Middle East headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria houses a vast collection of Coptic, Roman, and Greek art. The striking Bibliotheca Alexandrina contains library, museum, planetarium, and conference facilities.
Much of ancient Alexandria is covered by modern buildings or is underwater; only a few landmarks are readily accessible, including ruins of the emporium and the Serapeum and a granite shaft (88 ft/27 m high) called Pompey's Pillar. Nothing remains of the lighthouse on the Pharos (3d cent. B.C.), which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the site of the royal palace lies under the older (east) harbor.
Alexandria, founded in 332 B.C. by Alexander the Great, was (304–30 B.C.) the capital of the Ptolemies. The city took over the trade of Tyre (sacked by Alexander the Great), outgrew Carthage by c.250 B.C., and became the largest city in the Mediterranean basin. It was the greatest center of Hellenistic civilization and Jewish culture. The Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament into Greek, was prepared there. Alexandria had two celebrated royal libraries, one in a temple of Zeus and the other in a museum. The collections were said to contain c.700,000 rolls. A great university grew around the museum and attracted many scholars, including Aristarchus of Samothrace, the collator of the Homeric texts; Euclid, the mathematician; and Herophilus, the anatomist, who founded a medical school there.
Julius Caesar temporarily occupied (47 B.C.) the city while pursuing Pompey, and Octavian (later Augustus) entered it (30 B.C.) after the suicide of Antony and Cleopatra. Alexandria formally became part of the Roman Empire in 30 B.C. It was the greatest of the Roman provincial capitals, with a population of about 300,000 free persons and numerous slaves. In the later centuries of Roman rule and under the Byzantine Empire, Alexandria rivaled Rome and Constantinople as a center of Christian learning. It was (and remains today) the seat of a patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The libraries, however, were gradually destroyed from the time of Caesar's invasion, and suffered especially in A.D. 391, when Theodosius I had pagan temples and other structures razed. When the Muslim Arabs took Alexandria in 642, its prosperity had withered, largely because of a decline in shipping, but the city still had about 300,000 inhabitants. The Arabs moved the capital of Egypt to Cairo in 969 and Alexandria's decline continued, accelerating in the 14th cent., when the canal to the Nile silted up.
During his Egyptian campaign, Napoleon I took the city in 1798, but it fell to the British in 1801. At that time Alexandria's population was only about 4,000. The city gradually regained importance after 1819, when the Mahmudiyah Canal to the Nile was completed by Muhammad Ali, who developed Alexandria as a deepwater port and a naval station.
During the 19th cent. many foreigners settled in Alexandria, and in 1907 they made up about 25% of the population. In 1882, during a nationalist uprising in Egypt spearheaded by Arabi Pasha, there were antiforeign riots in Alexandria, which was subsequently bombarded by the British. During World War II, as the chief Allied naval base in the E Mediterranean, Alexandria was bombed by the Germans. In a 1944 meeting in Alexandria, plans for the Arab League were drawn up. The city's foreign population declined during the 20th cent., particularly after the 1952 Egyptian revolution.
Alexandria, cities, United States
Alexandria (Independent City), Virginia
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 838-4500
Fax: (703) 838-6433
On the Potomac River, immediately south of Washington, D.C. Established 1749; incorporated as a town in 1779; as a city in 1852. Name Origin: For colonial settler John Alexander, who came to the area in 1669. Formerly known as Hunting Creek Warehouse and Belhaven
Area (sq mi):: 15.41 (land 15.18; water 0.23) Population per square mile: 8915.50
Population 2005: 135,337 State rank: 13 Population change: 2000-20005 5.50%; 1990-2000 15.40% Population 2000: 128,283 (White 53.70%; Black or African American 22.50%; Hispanic or Latino 14.70%; Asian 5.70%; Other 12.10%). Foreign born: 25.40%. Median age: 34.40
Income 2000: per capita $37,645; median household $56,054; Population below poverty level: 8.90% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $48,106-$55,690
Unemployment (2004): 2.90% Unemployment change (from 2000): 0.10% Median travel time to work: 29.70 minutes Working outside county of residence: 74.80%
See other counties in Virginia.
Alexandria(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Alexander the Great's (356-323 BCE) conquests created the largest empire in the world to that time. He planned to build a great city in Egypt and call it Alexandria. When he died suddenly and mysteriously in 323 BCE, his plans were continued by Ptolemy, one of his four major generals and king of Egypt. Alexandria soon became the most important city of the African continent and the intellectual capital of the world.
Its library became the acknowledged center of learning, with an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 works along with priceless treasures of art and antiquity. As scholars flocked there to study, a blend of Greek, Hebrew, Egyptian, Chaldean, and Persian mysticism developed that, centuries later, was to blossom into a school of learning and a cult of Alexandrian alchemists who taught their secrets of chemical philosophies only to the initiated. Alchemy was not simply an attempt to turn base metals into gold. It was a metaphysical attempt to discover the very composition of how the world was made—the very structure of the cosmos.
In 80 BCE Roman emperor Julius Caesar invaded Egypt. A fire, attributed to warships burning in the Alexandrian harbor, spread to land and destroyed a major part of the collection of the library, but Alexandria still exerted a great intellectual influence over the Western world.
By the third century CE, the condition of the Roman Empire had deteriorated. Although Alexandria was second only to Rome in prestige, its time was limited. When Constantine, emperor of Rome, made Christianity the state religion in the early fourth century, it became the recognized duty of the state to eliminate all forms of what was considered idolatry and paganism, including representations of such in literature. In 389 CE, Theodosius called for the final destruction of paganism. Although the university in Alexandria struggled on, by 415 the frenzied, zealous religious mobs ruled, and the wonderful library, along with its priceless scrolls and artifacts, was burned to the ground.
What was not generally known was that many of the Greek and Egyptian texts had been translated to Arabian and Syrian languages and carried to other places of learning. When Muslim influence swept as far east as Spain and Morocco in the seventh and eighth centuries, much learning attributed to Islamic scholars was, in fact, knowledge that had been preserved from the time of the Alexandria academic community. The alchemists' cult of chemistry had been somewhat preserved, but we will never fully know what has been lost.
Alexandria was also an important Jewish center of learning and culture. It was here that scholars labored to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek for the benefit of Jews living abroad. This translation was called the Septuagint, so named because it was thought to be the work of seventy scholars.
Meanwhile, Alexandria was becoming important in Christian history. Egyptian Christianity is attributed to the missionary efforts of the apostle Mark, the man generally credited with the authorship of the second Gospel of the New Testament. It was the home and final battleground of Gnosticism (see Gnosticism), an early group of Christians, later declared heretical, who believed Jesus imparted a secret knowledge, or gnosis, to a select group of apostles. Some of their writings, including the Gospel of Thomas, thought to have been lost forever along with other Coptic writings, have been discovered within the last fifty years.
Origen, writing from Alexandria in the third century, was one of the first Christian scholars to treat biblical passages metaphorically rather than literally. In his On First Principles, he writes:
Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first and the second and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the sun and the moon and the stars? And that the first day, if we may so call it, was even without a heaven (Gen.1:5-13)? And who is so silly as to believe that God, after the manner of a farmer, "planted a paradise eastward in Eden," and set in it a visible and palpable "tree of life," of such a sort that anyone who tasted its fruit with his bodily teeth would gain life; and again that one could partake of "good and evil" by masticating the fruit taken from the tree of that name (Gen. 2:8, 9)? And when God is said to "walk in the paradise in the cool of the day" and Adam to hide himself behind a tree, I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events (Gen. 3:8).
Augustine (354-430 CE), Bishop of Hippo in North Africa and intimate with Alexandrian tradition, believed the Greek neo-Platonists were right when they described a universal, cosmic hierarchy, descending from an eternal, intelligible God. His City of God, inspired by the fall of Rome in 410, criticized "pagan" religious, natural philosophy. Rumors were circulating that Rome fell because it had deserted its ancient religion. Augustine disputed these rumors in his book that describes two cities built on love. The earthly city is built on love of self. The city of God is built on love of God. Although they intermingle, they are at war. Earthly cities are destined to fall, but according to Augustine, the city of God will remain forever.
(Arabic Al-Iskandariyah), a city in the north of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the administrative center of the Alexandria governorate. Located on the Mediterranean Sea in the western part of the Nile Delta, Alexandria is second only to Cairo in population—1.8 million in 1966—and economic importance. The city, an important transportation and trade center, is Egypt’s chief seaport; it is open to ocean navigation and is linked with the Nile by the Mahmudiya Canal. The port’s navigation turnover is one of the biggest, and its equipment is among the best on the Mediterranean: it handles approximately 80 percent of the UAR’s foreign trade shipments, chiefly cotton. Alexandria is also a railroad and highway center. Its enterprises include shipbuilding, ship repair, machine building, metalworking, petroleum, chemical, cement, and textile industries, and a variety of artisan crafts.
Alexandria, founded between 332 and 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great, was the capital of Egypt and the center of Hellenic civilization under the Ptolemies from 305 to 30 B.C. The Alexandria Mouseion and the Alexandria Library were located in the city. It remained an important cultural and economic center under the Roman Empire, from 30 B.C., and under the Byzantine Empire, beginning with the fourth century A.D. In the first century it was the second largest city in the ancient world after Rome, with a population of about 1 million. Alexandria was one of the major centers of early Christianity. Conquered by the Arabs in the seventh century, it began to decline after the founding of Cairo in 969. The city underwent large-scale destruction at the time of the Turkish conquest of Egypt in 1517 but began to revive in the 19th century. A shipyard and the Mahmudiya Canal were built under Mehemet Ali. In 1856 a railroad linked Alexandria with Cairo. The city was brutally bombarded by British ships during the Anglo-Egyptian war of 1882, and after the British occupation of Egypt that year, it became a colonial port from which Britain exported Egyptian cotton. Foreign banks, companies, and agencies were built in Alexandria, and the port was used by British ships for moorings. The city later became a center of the national liberation movement in Egypt; there were demonstrations in 1919–21, 1923–24, 1927, 1930, 1945–48, and 1950–51.
Ancient Alexandria had been built according to a plan drawn up by the Greek architect Dinocrates in the fourth century B.C. Pompey’s Pillar, also called Diocletian’s Pillar, necropolises, and catacombs have been preserved. The island of Pharos, which is linked by a mole to Alexandria, was the site of the famous lighthouse that was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. The Qait Bey fortress, which forms part of the Arab fortifications, now stands there.
Modern Alexandria is composed of the old section with narrow streets and squalid housing and the new section with broad paved avenues, a beautiful embankment, well-appointed private homes, and modern high-rise buildings, including the port terminal, decorated with mosaics and reliefs. There are many mosques in the city. The major palaces, now museums, are the Ras al-Tin, early 19th century; the Montaza, with a large park, early 20th century; and Mehemet Ali’s palace, 20th century. An equestrian statue of Mehemet Ali, done by the French sculptor A. Jacquemart in the second half of the 19th century, stands in al-Tahrir, the central square of the city. Alexandria has a university, five museums exhibiting Greco-Roman antiquities and fine arts, and a national library.
REFERENCEForster, E. M. Alexandria: A History and a Guide, 3rd ed. New York, 1961.
a city in southern Rumania on the Vedea River. It is the administrative center of Teleorman Province. Population in 1966, 22,000. A transportation center, Alexandria is also the site of flour milling, metalworking, and woodworking industries. Initial processing of flax and hemp is done there.
a story about Alexander the Great that appeared between the second and third centuries A. D. in Greek and was groundlessly attributed to Callisthenes, a contemporary of Alexander the Great. It served as a source for medieval poems and knightly romances about Alexander the Great. It came to Russia not later than the 12th century and spread in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries as the Serbian Alexandria.
REFERENCESAleksandria, roman ob Aleksandre Makedonskom po russkoi rukopisi XV v. [Text and translation.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Bertel’s, E. E. Roman ob Aleksandre i ego glavnye versii na Vostoke. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.