Ancient Topography. ALEXANDRIA. 2. Route. 9
the world, and gave its name of 'Pharos' to all lighthouses afterwards
erected. Its original height is said to have been 400 ells (590 ft.), and
though even in antiquity it threatened more than once to collapse, part
of the ancient tower still stood erect after the great earthquakes of 1303
and 13.6. This was overwhelmed hy the sea a little later, and the present
fortifications ('Fort du Phare' or 'Fort Kait-Bey') were erected near its
site in the 15th century. The Heptastadium, a vast embankment seven
stadia (1400 yds.) in length, as its name imports, was constructed by
Ptolemy Soter, or his son Philadelphus. It was pierced by two passages,
bridged over, and before Caesar's time served also as an aqueduct. Having
since that period been artificially enlarged by debris from the ancient city,
thrown into the sea, as well as by natural deposits, it has attained a
width of more than 1600 yds , and now forms the site of a great part of
the modern city.
Among the Principal Quarters of the ancient city Strabo partic¬
ularly mentions the Necropolis or city of the dead, at the extreme W.
end, 'where there are many gardens, tombs, and establishments for em¬
balming bodies'; Rhakotis, 'the quarter of Alexandria situated above the
ships' magazines', chiefly inhabited by Egyptians (comp. p. 8); the Royal
City (Regia; afterwards called Bruchium), which was subsequently walled
in, and contained the palaces and public buildings, on the mainland
between the Lochias and the Heptastadium; the Jews' Quarter, situated
to the E. of the Lochias. Outside the Canopic gate, on the E., lay the
hippodrome, and farther to the E. was the suburb of Nicopolis (p. 18),
30 stadia from Alexandria, which possessed an amphitheatre and a race¬
The town was regularly built, with streets intersecting each other
at right angles. The main artery of traffic seems to have been the long
street beginning at the Canopic gate (comp. p. 15).
Of the Principal Buildings of ancient Alexandria the scanty relics
of only a few can be identified (p. 12). The Paneum is doubtless identical
with the modern Kom ed-Dik (p. 15). The Gymnasium probably lay to
the W. of this point.
The theatre, the Sema, and the Museum were situated in the 'Royal
City' (see above), which originally occupied a fifth and afterwards a fourth
or even a third part of the whole extent of the city. The Alexandrian
Theatre lay opposite the island of Antirrhodui, so that the spectators
had a view of the sea in the background. The Sema was an enclosed
space, within which were the tombs of Alexander the Great and of the
Ptolemies. Adjoining the tomb of Queen Cleopatra stood a temple of Lis,
remains of which have been discovered at the intersection of the Rue
Nabi Daniel and the Rue de l'Hopital Grec. This discovery should go far
to settle the site of the eagerly-sought tomb of Alexander.
The Museum probably stood on a site to the E. of the church of St.
Athanasius. According to Strabo, it contained 'a hall for walking, an¬
other for sitting, and a large building with the refectory of the scholars
residing at the Museum.1 Connected with the Museum was the famous
Alexandrian Library, which contained 400,000 scrolls as early as the reign
of Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, while in Ca?sar's time, when it was burned,
the number had risen to about 1;00,000. The library lay to the N. of the
Museum, near the harbour. Besides the revenues enjoyed by the Museum
in its corporate capacity, a yearly salary was paid to each of the members,
whose number in the time of the first Ptolemies has been estimated at
one hundred at least.
The site ofthe Serapeum, or great temple of Serapis, may be approxi¬
mately determined by the fact that Pompey's Pillar (p. 12) stood in the
midst of it. The god to whom it was dedicated was introduced by the
Ptolemies, and the temple is said to have been surpassed in grandeur by
no other building in the world except the Roman Capitol.
In A.D. 69 Vespasian was proclaimed emperor by the Alexan-
' drians, his election having been to a great extent due to the