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State of Alexandria

A personal visit to Alexandria filled me with disgust at the state of the city. It is inhabited by three distinct races,—native Egyptians, an acute and civilised race; secondly, mercenary soldiers (for the custom of hiring and supporting men-at-arms is an ancient one), who have learnt to rule rather than obey owing to the feeble character of the kings; and a third class, consisting of native Alexandrians, who have never from the same cause become properly accustomed to civil life, but who are yet better than the second class; for though they are now a mongrel race, yet they were originally Greek, and have retained some recollection of Greek principles. But this last class has become almost extinct, thanks to Euergetes Physcon, in whose reign I visited Alexandria; for that king being troubled with seditions, frequently exposed the common people to the fury of the soldiery and caused their destruction. So that in this state of the city the poet's words only expressed the truth—1 “"To Egypt 'tis a long and toilsome road."

1 Homer, Odyss. 4, 485.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ALEXANDREIA
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