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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 12:27 am (UTC)

This is an interesting speculation. Might have been so, I can't really answer your question, but I certainly like your way of thinking ;)

Nice map of Alexandria. Thanks for sharing.

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!

Thu, Jun. 24th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
valoa: This is totally great!:)

Thank for sharing.
Yeah, I do think so. This map seems so neat:)
I love the Jewish Quarter!:D

Thu, Jun. 24th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC)
kizzikat: Re: This is totally great!:)

Thank you! It's great to know that the temple actually was built, and that it must have been used, or else it would have just fallen into ruins after Alexander and Cleomenes' deaths.

I think the Jewish quarter might be outside the original city walls because they arrived later, presumably in the Roman era, rather than from any religious reasons.

Fri, Jun. 25th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
valoa: Great points!

*Claps claps*
How I love being there in its prime time! *Sniffs*

Sat, Jul. 3rd, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)

Thanks a lot for sharing - this is a very interesting find. Did you ever heard about the temple before? Just when you think you know everything there is to know, there is something new to explore and ponder upon. Is there more about the temple in the book?

thanks a lot for sharing.

Sun, Jul. 4th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)

Hello, thanks for commenting. I'm afraid that is all he says, other than that the tomb of Alexander was at the crossroads within the city. I must read Andrew Chugg's book on the tomb of Alexander!