Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Two other cultures also compete for influence. Traditionally, Alexandria also had an influential Jewish population, academic and financial by nature. Kingsley shows the devious nature of this influence, and the destabilizing effect when its financial basis is largely destroyed by the mob. The “mob” is, in effect, a Christian one, comprising some two thirds of the city’s population. They are led by Christian monks and church officers under the authority of Archbishop Cyril, the metropolitan of Egypt and third-most powerful figure in fifth century Christendom. The mob also destroys Hypatia and the last remnants of the high culture of neoplatonic philosophy.
A final culture in this restless and violent city is that of the pagan Goths, nomads from northern Europe who still worship their Germanic gods. As nomads, however, their influence in Alexandria is peripheral, unlike elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
Museum. Place where Hypatia lectures. More a library than a museum in the modern sense, this building includes picture galleries and a series of lecture halls, much like what is termed a university. The museum is the local center of Greek culture, especially its late Platonic forms, which still vie intellectually with newer Christian theologies. It also has a garden. In Museum Street is located the modest house of Hypatia and her father.
Archbishop’s house. Home of the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church; located near the Serapeium and the center of the real power in the city. From here, Kingsley shows, comes good and evil: good in the way that only the church is seen to be dealing with the poverty and disorder in the city; evil, in the way fanatic hatred of “the heathen” is fanned into riots, civil disturbances, and murder. The novel’s cool debates over the merits of Christianity versus Platonism take place in other locations and in contrast to these irreconcilable opposites.
Cyrene (si-REE-nee). North Africa town in what is now Libya that is the seat of Bishop Synesius, who, by contrast to Cyril, is shown to be a cultured and balanced churchman. Cyrene is also the power base of Heraclian, its governor, the count of Africa, whence he launches an ill-fated revolt against Rome. The resulting military weakness allows devastation by the Moorish inhabitants of the hinterland.