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A Short Guide to the Gręco-Roman Museum, Alexandria

Jean-Yves Empereur

A Short Guide to the Gręco-Roman Museum, Alexandria, Jean-Yves Empereur,
2nd ed. 2000. 17x24cm. 52 colour photos. 37 pp. Paperback. ISBN 977 5845 01 7

The author

Jean-Yves Empereur
Jean-Yves Empereur is a director of research with the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and founder/director of the Centre d'Etudes Alexandrines (CEAlex), the official French archaeological mission in Alexandria.

Founded in 1892, the Gręco-Roman Museum of Alexandria holds a vast collection, gathered together over more than one hundred years. The thousands of artifacts of all sizes and materials exhibited in the Museum's halls offer an accurate and varied panorama of all aspects of Graeco-Roman civilisation as it manifested itself in the land of Egypt. From the founding of Alexandria in 331 BC, this experience was to cover a millennium. The Greek or Ptolemaic period lasted three centuries: centuries of opulence, artistic creation and technical innovation, which would influence the whole of the ancient world. Alexandria stood as a lighthouse for the Mediterranean basin and as a very real threat to the supremacy of Rome. It subsequently became the capital of a Roman province and was one of the most active centres of the growth of Christianity, which, in less than four centuries, was to dominate the country, smothering, often violently, the last glimmers of pagan science and philosophy. The birth of the Coptic Church in the 4th century brought a more national form to art, as will be discovered in the later halls of the Museum. A visit here is part of a journey through the history of this country and complements visits to the three museums of Cairo which present the other eras of Egypt's heritage: The Egyptian Museum (Pharaonic), The Coptic Museum and The Islamic Museum.
This little guide, however, is not designed to be an exhaustive description of the entire collection of the Museum. It is more the personal choice of archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur of those exhibits that best represent Alexandria's civilisation.

Also available in French.

Copyright © Harpocrates Publishing, 2004