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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
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EGYT-1470 -- Egypt after the Pharaohs Essay Assignment #1

Due in Class Thursday 9/30


Respond to the following essay prompt in a paper of roughly1500 words. You should develop an argument that specifically addresses the question and articulates a clear thesis. As you defend that thesis you will want to use evidence from our course materials such as particular events, sites, social developments, and quotes from primary and secondary sources to support your argument. As you work on these essays it will be important that you recognize when you are making claims that need evidentiary support and how those claims develop a logical structure for the overall argument. Essays will be graded on content (i.e. the soundness of the argument and the use of evidence), structure and general writing mechanics.

Essays should be double spaced and in a reasonable font with reasonable margins. Don’t forget page numbers and a title. Citations of course materials should be parenthetical – e.g. (Bagnall 1993: 137). If you use any materials from outside of the course (not at all required or expected for this essay) please provide a full bibliographical reference at the end of your paper.

Essay Topic:

Have a look at the images below and reflect on the juxtapositions in the material fabric of the city. Can we talk of just one Alexandria? (Put aside that there were, in fact, numerous distinct urban foundations that bore the name of the great Macedonian conqueror. The one sandwiched between the banks of Lake Mareotis and the Mediterranean that seems to gets all the attention.) Is Alexandria best represented and explained as a unified historical entity or would analysis of the city be better served by clear demarcations along temporal, ethnic, social, political, religious or other lines? You might think of this question in another way and consider whether the Alexandria imagined by the rural farmer who never passed through its walls or visited its monuments had any connection with the experience of the city by its wealthy elite inhabitants, regardless of time period.

As you think through this question keep in mind some of our larger themes about the role of state and imperial politics, cosmopolitanism, continuity and rupture. As you look for evidence to support your position consider the spatial organization of the urban fabric, the social groups that comprise the city, and Alexandria’s social and geo-political relationship to the wider world of Egypt and beyond.