Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

An update about Naucratis

So far, Naucratis has been put on the map as a trade emporium which the Greeks established in the Nile Delta as early as the 7th century BC (see: Egypt, land of the free for ancient Greeks?)

Where earlier excavations led to believe that Naucratis occupied only a small area, it has recently been established that the city was at least twice the original assumed size.

[A stele from the site of Thonis-Heracleion (picture) matches one from Naukratis]

Herodotus in the 5th century BC tells us that Naucratis was the main link in the trade between Egypt and other countries around the Mediterranean. In its heydays, it was home to at least 16,000 people who appear to have lived in high-rise buildings of three to six floors, not unlike the mud-brick houses we encounter today in Yemen. It was a cosmopolitan city with Greek temples and sanctuaries (Herodotus even mentions a Hellenion).

Thanks to its lively trade, goods but also different cultures mixed and mingled. Grain, papyrus and perfumes from the Egyptian hinterland were exchanged for silver, wine and oil from mainland Greece, Phoenicia and the isle of Cyprus. Amphorae, cooking pots and statuettes in both Egyptian and Greek fashion have been recovered, generally dating to the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Ritual terracotta figurines  deposited during the local festival related to the inundation of the Nile have been found, as well as statuettes of Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of the sky, women and love.

Major digs have unearthed a wide range of objects among which rare wooden remains of Greek ships. Further archaeological research has found proof that the Canopic Branch of the Nile was navigable all the way down to the heart of the city, although Herodotus gave us the impression that the freight from the ships arriving from the Mediterranean was to be transhipped into barges which would sail the river to reach Naucratis.

As a comparison for its importance, Naucratis has been called the Hong Kong of its time. I guess that says it all.

It will be interesting to visit the British Museum later this year as they’ll feature a special exhibition Sunken Cities, Egypt’s lost world, a way to give us a better insight it that underwater world. The exhibition will run from 19 May until 27 November 2016.

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