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Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA (ăl'ĕg-zăn'drĭ-a, Gr. Alexandreia). Founded by [[Alexander the Great]], 332 b.c.; successively the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Christian capital of Lower Egypt. Its harbors, formed by the island Pharos and the headland Lochias, were suitable for both commerce and war. It was the chief grain port for Rome. Its merchant ships, the largest and finest of the day, usually sailed directly to Puteoli, but at times because of the severity of the weather sailed under the coast of Asia Minor, as did the vessel that carried Paul (Acts.27.6). Alexandria was also an important cultural center, boasting an excellent university. Patterned after the great school at Athens, it soon outstripped its model. It was especially noted for the study of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and poetry. Literature and art also flourished. The library of Alexandria became the largest and best known in the world. In different eras it reportedly possessed from 400,000 to 900,000 books and scrolls.