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Alexandria: The New Center

Susan Stephens
Wednesday November 9, 2016

Poets Posidippus of Pella and Callimachus of Cyrene, writing during Ptolemy II’s reign, actively construct a new Mediterranean geography in which people and luxury goods, even divinities, move from the Northern and Eastern Mediterranean to the new city of Alexandria. The building of the Library of Alexandria provides a more concrete demonstration of that same trend, as the Ptolemies under the influence of both Greek thinkers, such as Demetrius of Phaleron, and of Egyptian cultural practices, such as the great temple libraries strive to move the center of Greek learning from Athens to Alexandria. In my paper I will explore the ways in which Posidippus and Callimachus shift Greek culture south, and how their writings reflect the activities of the newly-established Library.
Susan A. Stephens is a Professor of Humanities and Classics at Stanford University. She graduated from Stanford University in 1965, and obtained her PhD in Classics from Stanford University in 1972. She was a member of several associations, such as the Egypt Exploration Society, the Association Internationale de Papyrologues, and the American Philological Association. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Scholars Press (1980–1985), and California Classical Association (1979–1981). In addition, she was Senior Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, Humanities and Sciences (2005–2009), and Chairwoman at the Senate Committee for the Review of the Undergraduate Major (2012/2013). She wrote 48 articles and eight books, including Ancient Greek Novels: The Fragments. Introduction, Text, Translation and Commentary and Greek Prose Composition. She was also granted several fellowships, such as Morse Fellowship, Sibley Fellowship Selection Committee, and a Senior Fellowship from National Endowment for the Humanities.