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 The shape of the site of the city is that of a chlamys or military cloak. The sides, which determine the length, are surrounded by water, and are about thirty stadia in extent; but the isthmuses, which determine the breadth of the sides, are each of seven or eight stadia, bounded on one side by the sea, and on the other by the lake. The whole city is intersected by roads for the passage of horsemen and chariots. Two of these are very broad, exceeding a plethrum in breadth, and cut one another at right angles. It contains also very beautiful public grounds and royal palaces, which occupy a fourth or even a third part of its whole extent. For as each of the kings was desirous of adding some embellishment to the places dedicated to the public use, so, besides the buildings already existing, each of them erected a building at his own expense; hence the expression of the poet may be here applied, “‘one after the other springs.’1” All the buildings are connected with one another and with the harbour, and those also which are beyond it. The Museum is a part of the palaces. It has a public walk and a place furnished with seats, and a large hall, in which the men of learning, who belong to the Museum, take their common meal. This community possesses also property in common; and a priest, formerly appointed by the kings, but at present by Cæsar, presides over the Museum. A part belonging to the palaces consists of that called Sema, an enclosure, which contained the tombs of the kings and that of Alexander (the Great). For Ptolemy the son of Lagus took away the body of Alexander from Perdiccas, as he was conveying it down from Babylon; for Perdiccas had turned out of his road towards Egypt, incited by ambition and a desire of making himself master of the country. When Ptolemy had attacked [and made him prisoner], he intended to [spare his life and] confine him in a desert island, but he met with a miserable end at the hand of his own soldiers, who rushed upon and despatched him by transfixing him with the long Macedonian spears. The kings who were with him, Aridæus, and the children of Alexander, and Roxana his wife, departed to Macedonia. Ptolemy carried away the body of Alexander, and deposited it at Alexandreia in the place where it now lies; not indeed in the same coffin, for the present one is of hyalus (alabaster ?) whereas Ptolemy had deposited it in one of gold: it was plundered by Ptolemy surnamed Cocce's son and Pareisactus, who came from Syria and was quickly deposed, so that his plunder was of no service to him.
1 Od. xvii. 266.
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