1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
9 units of first level topics
Enrolment not permitted
PHIL2605 has been successfully completed
Topic description
This topic explores the fundamental significance of Alexandria in the establishment of Western Culture and civilisation.

The areas covered are:

  • History: The establishment of a new universalistic City, Alexandria; the creation of the famous Alexandrian Library and the development of sciences, philosophy, etc, where Greek, Egyptian, Hebrew and Roman cultures interact

  • Septuagint (translation of the Old Testament into Greek) and the catalytic impact on European-Western Cultures

  • Neo-Platonism (philosophical movement based on Plato's Timaeus) and the overwhelming impact on European-Western Cultures including arts, philosophy, literature and the development of Christianity

  • The rise of Christianity: e.g., Apocalypse, monastic movements

  • Literature: Poems by the Alexandrian poet, C. Cavafy, which "expose" subjects emerging from the cultural making of the Hellenistic and Roman period of Alexandria
Educational aims
This topic aims to provide students with an understanding of:

  • The history of 600 years, (300 BC -300 AD), and the creation of the firsts ecumenical empires (Greek, Roman, Byzantine)

  • The creation of the first metropolis and first cosmopolitan centre of the world: Alexandria

  • The transition from the Athenian classical philosophy to the new one: Platonism/ Neoplatonism

  • The development of Hellenistic sciences, arts and literature

  • The catalytic translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek Language and the development of Christianity

  • The aesthetic dimensions of the above: analysis of poems written by the Alexandrian Constantine Kavafis

  • The fivefold synthesis: Alexandria, Athens, Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an historical knowledge about the foundation of the western culture and civilization (300BC-300AD)

  • describe the hybridity of our culture and civilization as a synthesis based on Greek, Hebrew and Roman traditions

  • demonstrate learning and critical skills, combining historical, philosophical, religious and aesthetic knowledge

  • describe current issues concerning cultures, education, philosophy and religion