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Wed, Jun. 23rd, 2010, 11:32 pm
kizzikat: The Temple of Hephaestion

This map of Alexandria comes from E M Forster's Guide to Alexandria (1922).


The island of Pharos was, according to Forster, empty in the early days of Alexandria (possibly until the building of the lighthouse about 279 BC) except for a temple to Hephaestion.  Presumably this temple is the one Cleomenes, the Greek Alexander left in charge of Egypt, built in the hope that Alexander would excuse his corruption charges.  He was executed by Ptolemy in about 322 BC.

It is possible that the temple to Hephaestion might have been the first building that anyone saw on sailing into the new Alexandria. The prehistoric harbour (the island was known to Homer), might still have been in use until the causeway was built, creating the two great harbours, and merchants arriving in the new city might have drawn up their contracts and sworn to uphold them in Hephaestion's temple, as Alexander ordered that merchants' contract were to include Hephaestion's name, and oaths were sworn in Hephaestion's name. 

Is this a testimony to Hephaestion's organisational abilities, and perhaps a reputation for fair dealing?

Thu, Jun. 24th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)

Thank you! It would have been nice to know what Forster's source was, but unfortunately he doesn't mention it.

My thinking was that maybe it wasn't solely Alexander's will that made use of Hephaestion's name - although that might have been enough in itself - unless there was a reputation to back it up. Otherwise they might just have well used anybody's name!