THE CAESAREUM OF ALEXANDRIA – Scene of the crime
Painting of the Caesareum temple of ancient Alexandria by Don Dixon

The Caesareum (or Caesarium) was a temple built by Cleopatra VII to commemorate the deification of her murdered lover Julius Caesar and to honor her husband Marc Antony. When Octavian, Caesar's heir, conquered Antony and occupied Alexandria he destroyed every statue of the "Egyptian whore" but preserved her monument, rededicating it to himself. So travelers entering Alexandria's harbor might notice the temple he set before it two fifteen-centuries-old obelisks from the temple of Ra in Heliopolis, one of which now stands behind the Metropolitan Museum in New York's Central Park and the other in London's Thames Embankment. Until the middle of the 4th century the Caesareum was the center of a temple complex that included gardens, lecture halls, and satellites of the Great Library. Converted to a Christian church in the late 4th century, The Caesareum served as headquarters to Bishop Cyril who led a campaign to stamp out all non-Christian influences in Alexandria. The philosopher Hypatia was murdered on the steps of this temple in March, 415. The artist's reconstruction above depicts how the temple might have looked during late afternoon on 15 March, 415 A.D. A print of this image is available.

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