A city drawn in sand.
Inspired by the tales of Homer and his own ambitions of empire, Alexander the Great sketched the idea of a city onto the sparsely populated Egyptian coastline.
He did not live to see Alexandria built, but his vision of a sparkling metropolis that celebrated learning and diversity was swiftly realised and still stands today. Situated on the cusp of Africa, Europe and Asia, great civilisations met in Alexandria.
Together, Greeks and Egyptians, Romans and Jews created a global knowledge capital of enormous influence: the inventive collaboration of its citizens shaped modern philosophy, science, religion and more.
In pitched battles, later empires, from the Arabs and Ottomans to the French and British, laid claim to the city but its independent spirit endures.
In this sweeping biography of the great city, Islam Issa takes us on a journey across millennia, rich in big ideas, brutal tragedies and distinctive characters, from Cleopatra to Napoleon.
‘A multifaceted history of an enthralling city’ – Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, author of Persians: The Age of the Great Kings
‘Monumental and vividly imagined…a fitting tribute to a city that has survived, changed and grown for so many centuries’ – Daily Telegraph
‘A cornucopia of fascinating details, every page revealing a new delight’ – Paul Strathern, author of The Medici