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Thursday, May 26, 2011

REVIEW of B. Mojsov, Alexandria Lost

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.05.54

Bojana Mojsov,  Alexandria Lost: From the Advent of Christianity to the Arab Conquest.   London:  Duckworth, 2010.  Pp. 155.  ISBN 9780715638651.  $29.95 (pb).   

Reviewed by Christopher Haas, Villanova University (christopher.haas@villanova.edu)
Nearly two decades ago, Peter Fraser observed that classical Alexandria, like Antioch and other cities of the Middle East, did not ultimately die of “a slow cancer, but two massive heart attacks following upon a chronic illness.”1 He identified these coronary catastrophes as the Sassanian capture of the city in 619 and `Amr ibn al-As’s conquest in September of 641. This is the principal theme of Bojana Mojsov’s Alexandria Lost. Mojsov, an Egyptologist with long experience in the field of Pharaonic religion, exhibits from the first page a passion for the city known by the ancients as “most glorious Alexandria.” She sets out to discover “What happened to ancient Alexandria and to the Great Library? Alexander’s city was the shining star of the Mediterranean Sea, the museum the pride of the classical world, the library the greatest collection of antiquity. How could they disappear so thoroughly, without a trace?” (6).
ETc. at BMCR