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 in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, 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 OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 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)

Friday, March 23, 2018

The fame of elusive Pelusium

When in 333 BC Alexander took possession of Pelusium situated on a branch of the Nile that has shifted since, it was a wealthy settlement as it contributed to his treasury with 800 talents (20 tons of silver and gold). It was his first stop in Egypt as it was for all conquering armies before and after him.

Pelusium was not only the point of entry for invaders but also the departure point for Egyptian expeditions to Asia. In short, it was a place of huge strategic importance and the second port of Egypt after Alexandria as it served as a transit station for the goods coming from and going to the lands around the Red Sea.

Yet, in spite of its fame and importance in antiquity and the many sources among which Herodotus, Polybius, Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Arrian, Strabo, etc. the site of Pelusium, associated with modern Tell el-Farama has never been properly excavated. Antique sources describe the city as a bustling harbor with magazines and customs offices trading in salt, textiles, potteries and fish. On the site which is believed to be almost six kilometers long, we find the remains of a fortress and marble columns from a possible Roman Theater that closely resembles the one in Alexandria. There are remains of several necropolises, a hippodrome, fish tanks for garum, Roman baths with mosaics from the 3rd century AD, a stadium, many temples and even a military installation.

However, the little we know about Pelusium is now under thread by the construction plans for a massive canal through the northern part of the Sinai Desert. This waterway is meant to bring fresh water to the city of El Arish, 60 kilometers from the border with Israel. Unfortunately, in that part of the world nothing is simple. As early as 1991, archaeologists launched a project to survey the course of this canal in order to pinpoint any site that may be worth recovering before being destroyed by the dig works or if possible, divert the route in order to save important remains. It is no surprise that by 2010, both the canal and the archaeological project have been put on hold.

It seems that ancient Pelusium will not resuscitate from its ruins any time soon.

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