Author: Barbara Tkaczow | Pages: 685–697
The traditional division of the development of ancient Alexandria as a city into three clearly defined periods – Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine – seems more and more imprecise in the face of the latest archaeological discoveries. Archaeological evidence shows that the Ptolemaic Period does not finish in 30 BC at all; the territory of the city, its street grid, buildings and architectural styles remain generally unchanged probably throughout first century AD. That century is therefore a kind of ‘intermediate period’, during which new Roman buildings are gradually incorporated into the Ptolemaic street grid and architecture. The Roman-Imperial Period (second–third centuries AD) introduces certain significant modifications – the territory of the city is expanded and the architecture of some districts is altered but the street grid persists, especially in the central and eastern quarters, only some secondary streets of appear or disappear from its topography. Unfortunately, it is still impossible to indicate the precise location of Roman buildings known from written sources, with the exception of the Serapeum and Caesareum. The end of third century AD and the first half of fourth century AD are another ‘intermediate period’, after which – from the end of fourth century AD on – considerable changes in the street grid are observed. In many places, a completely new type of architecture emerges. This is already the Late Roman and Byzantine Alexandria, which will survive in such a form for some time after the Arab conquest.