Chapter

Alexandrian Intellectual Life in the Roman Imperial Period

Edward J. Watts

in City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780520244214
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931800 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520244214.003.0006
Alexandrian Intellectual Life in the Roman Imperial Period

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This chapter discusses the intellectual and cultural life of Alexandrians during the Roman Empire. It presents descriptions of the centers of scholarship in the city which included the Serapeum library, the Royal Library and Mouseion. Accounts of the establishment, public support, membership and decline of these centers of culture and scholarly life throughout the history of Hellenistic and Roman Alexandria are presented as well. This chapter also discusses Alexandria's mixed cultures and the tensions that rose among its diverse inhabitants. Despite religious differences, educated Christians and pagans shared a great deal in Roman Alexandria. They shared a geographic space, a collection of educational institutions, and a common intellectual culture. Indeed, because conversions between the two faiths were not uncommon, they even shared people. It was inevitable that mixed intellectual circles comprised of pagans and Christians would develop, both in the Alexandrian schools and outside of them.

Keywords: Alexandria; Roman Empire; libraries; culture; cultural centers; educational institutions

Chapter.  13407 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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