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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (396 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Justin Pollard, Howard Reid Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Founded by Alexander the Great and built by self-styled Greek pharaohs, the city of Alexandria at its height dwarfed both Athens and Rome. It was the marvel of its age, legendary for its vast palaces, safe harbors, and magnificent lighthouse. But it was most famous for the astonishing intellectual efflorescence it fostered and the library it produced. If the European Renaissance was the “rebirth” of Western culture, then Alexandria, Egypt, was its birthplace.

It was here mankind first discovered that the earth was not flat, originated atomic theory, invented geometry, systematized grammar, translated the Old Testament into Greek, built the steam engine, and passed their discoveries on to future generations via the written word. Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Jewish scholars, Greek philosophers, and devout early Christians all play a part in the rise and fall of the city that stood “at the conjunction of the whole world.” Compulsively readable and sparkling with fresh insights into science, philosophy, culture, and invention, this is an irresistible, eye-opening delight.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Most readers, especially those interested in the history of science, will find this a nourishing account.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A lively history of the legendary ancient city, from creation to destruction…Historical fragments and extensive research, combined to form a captivating mosaic.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Elizabeth Sulzby | 1/31/2014

    " To come. . . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Philippa | 1/31/2014

    " I thought this was a concise outline and introduction into Alexandria and i believe told very charmingly. It has wet my appetite to do some research into philosophy and astronomy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Richard | 1/28/2014

    " This book was great. It shows the importance of knowledge and how we have to save it at all costs. The book explains the growth of a great city and library and the minds it helped nurture. The city was a growth spot for all future learning centers, as well as for religion. It is also a lesson on how we can destroy all that we honor and use it against ourselves. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Willowwind | 1/22/2014

    " A fascinating study of a great dream - to gather all the knowledge of the world together in a great library and museum and to provide a place for the most creative thinkers of the world to interact. And how it was all eventually betrayed by the greed of personal politics and religious intolerance. There was true vision here and amazing creativity and yet humans have repeated destroyed those qualities in the name of faith and chosen ignorance. A marvelous look at the intellectual center of the ancient Mediterranean world. "

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About the Author
Author Justin Pollard

Justin Pollard, a freelance writer and producer specializing in historical documentaries, has written for PBS and A&E. He is currently providing script and historical consultancy for Sam Mendes’ upcoming feature film, Tom Fool.