Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: Ptolemy II Philadelphus and His World

Bryn Mawr Classical Review (Reviewed by Lucia Criscuolo)

Paul McKechnie, Philippe Guillaume (ed.), Ptolemy II Philadelphus and His World. Mnemosyne Supplements 300. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008.

Table of contents available at the above address.

The volume offers the proceedings of a conference which took place in Auckland in July 2005, with two later additions, by S. Burstein and S. Pfeiffer. The topic chosen by Paul McKechnie and Bridget Buxton was strikingly new, as stressed in the preface: despite the importance of the character and the strategic leading position kept by Ptolemy II in the political chessboard of the second generation of Alexander's successors, no monographs have been dedicated to him until now. Moreover, as the title reminds us, Ptolemy Philadelphus was also the protagonist of the remarkable period of building up and developing that exceptional cultural centre which made Alexandria the capital of the Mediterranean for at least two centuries. The conference and consequently the proceedings were conceived under the sign of interdisciplinarity, as the editor McKechnie declares in the Introduction, the aim being to look for and find out the different "facets of the gem", Philadelphus's world, a paradigm of the multiculturalism which represented and included the main features of the Hellenistic world.

The result of such an enterprise is uneven, though the intention of balancing the issues is well expressed by the subdivision into five chapters named by the districts of Alexandria, from Alpha to Epsilon.

1 comment:

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