Alexandria: The Ptolemaic Dynasty

For the next three centuries the Ptolemaic Dynasty would hold sway over Egypt, surviving both family feuds and external conflicts while living an unusual combination of Hellenic and Egyptian life. And under them Alexandria grew mighty and prosperous, the center of an empire that extended around the coast of Syria to the Aegean Sea. In fact, if Alexandria had been any more prosperous, it might have replaced Rome as the center of the world, as Rome was neither as strategically located nor as culturally diverse. But all this is not to say that Alexandria was a city completely at peace with itself. With the large numbers of people and cultures coming through the city, it was inevitable that conflict would arise. Certainly racial tensions, by no means an invention of the twentieth century, played a strong part. Additionally, a number of more tradition-minded Egyptians resented the presence of the Greeks, nations brought their feuds with them to the streets and businesses of Alexandria, and there was always the wildly unpredictable Alexandrian Mob to lend spice to things.