Throwback Thursday: “Cultural Collaborations: Alexandria”

In today’s modern age cultures from any corner of the world can come into contact with each other. Though we now often take the collaboration of different cultures for granted, many great things have come of two or more cultures coming together- as I am sure many more great things are to come.

Arguably one of the earliest and most elegant combinations of cultures occurred in 331 B.C. during Alexander the Great’s conquest through Egypt. Alexandria served as one of several capitals Alexander erected in his name. This particular capital diversified with the recently mixed Roman-Greek culture (due to Rome’s victory at the Battle of Corinth) and also with the unique Egyptian culture, was intended to be the storehouse of all knowledge on Earth.

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To uphold its name, a great library was built in Alexandria in which one copy of every single book in the world was to be stored. It is estimated that up to half a million works from all over the world were kept in Alexandria’s library during its apex-  let’s keep in mind that this was before press-publishing, and most publishing was hand-written on papyrus! The picture above shows you Alexandria’s new library, since the original has long been gone.

Another outcome of Alexandria’s diverse culture worth note is its’ distinctive forms of fine art. Though Egyptian and Roman-Greek sculptures are very distinguishable when juxtaposed, these separate forms were molded into a mixture of the two during Alexandria’s Hellenistic period. In the picture of the statue above, notice how the body is very much like that of traditional Egyptian sculpting, but the face very detailed and soft like that of the Roman-Greek culture.

This ancient collaboration of knowledge and the arts are just a few examples of what can come when people from different places come together and pool their knowledge and talents. How fortunate we are that we live during a time when entire cultures can come together with a press of a button.

– ISSO Bloggers

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