Alexander, Cleopatra, Hypatia and others
Founded by the charismatic Alexander the Great, Alexandria became the shining beacon of Hellenistic culture with its fabled library which was a repository of the knowledge of several civilisations. But political rivalries in Rome, and the role played by Cleopatra, signalled the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Christianity spread during the Roman period, together with some heresies, but was not accepted by all. This led to the “martyrdom’ of Hypatia, a neoplatonician philosopher who had refused to convert. Alexandria then passed under Muslim, Mameluke, and Ottoman domination. During the Egyptian campaign, led by Bonaparte, Alexandria was the scene of several battles between the British and the French. Egypt remained under British influence until independence.