Lauren Albert's Reviews > The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind

The Rise and Fall of Alexandria by Justin Pollard
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Dec 25, 2011

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bookshelves: history-middle-east, cities-and-urban-studies
Read from December 24 to 25, 2011

The book was strong in the first section where the authors cover the founding of Alexandria with Alexander and then the building and flourishing of it under the Ptolemies. But then they lose me when the book turns almost entirely to intellectual history. Not because of its being intellectual history (although I think they should have not drifted so far away from the narrative) but because they seem intent on connecting as many things as possible to the city. They refer to it as being a thinker's "spiritual home." In discussing Origen they claim he did a "Alexandrian job on Christianity." Scientists and philosophers are assumed to be Alexandrian simply (it appeared to me) because of their cosmopolitan views. Because it is truly amazing how many great thinkers were from Alexandria it makes no sense to me to make such stretches.
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Greg Tatum I'm not quite done with the book, but your comments hit the nail on the head.

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