The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern World  -     By: Justin Pollard, Howard Reid
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The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern World

Penguin Books / 2007 / Paperback

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Founded by Alexander the Great and built by Greek pharoahs, 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 fluorescence it fostered and the library it produced. If the European Renassaince 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. Compulsively readable and sparkling with fresh insights into science, philosophy, culture, and invention, this is an irresistible, eye-opening delight.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 8.44 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0143112511
ISBN-13: 9780143112518
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

A short history of nearly everything classical. The foundations of the modern world were laid in Alexandria of Egypt at the turn of the first millennium. In this compulsively readable narrative, Justin Pollard and Howard Reid bring one of history's most fascinating and prolific cities to life, creating a treasure trove of our intellectual and cultural origins. Famous for its lighthouse, its library-the greatest in antiquity-and its fertile intellectual and spiritual life--it was here that Christianity and Islam came to prominence as world religions--Alexandria now takes its rightful place alongside Greece and Rome as a titan of the ancient world. Sparkling with fresh insights on science, philosophy, culture, and invention, this is an irresistible, eye- opening delight.

Author Bio

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’s upcoming feature film, Tom Fool.

Howard Reid has made award-winning documentaries for National Geographic, the BBC, and Channel 4, including The Story of English. He is the author of five books.

Editorial Reviews

"Lively and Lucid. The real action [in] the classical world lay in Alexandria. Tells the story of ancient Alexandrian science, Cleopatra, with relish and brio."
-The Weekly Standard

"A marvelous work, a sweeping narrative, as grand as it is unusual, Pollard and Reid breathe life into the dust of philosophers and kings."
-Barry Strauss, author of The Trojan War: A New History and The Battle of Salamis

"Lucid, entertaining, full of exquisite images."
-Michael Hirst, screenwriter of Elizabeth

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