Articles with keyword: Acta Alexandrinorum

Alexandria and the Second Sophistic
Dimitrios Karadimas National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


Volume 2, Issue 1

 | pp.



Alexandria was theoretically an ideal place to become a center of sophistic activity during the period of the Second Sophistic (c. middle of the first century to the beginning of the third century AD). The fact is, however, that the centers of this cultural, educational, and intellectual activity were to be found in various cities of Asia Minor and Greece (e.g. Athens, Smyrna, Ephesus), while Alexandria is not mentioned among them. Philostratus, who gives a panoramic view of the sophistic movement of this period, does not include any sophists from Alexandria in his list, while the city itself is not mentioned at all. Moreover, Philostratus mentions four sophists from the neighbouring Naucratis, and gives the impression of a certain sophistic activity there, but not in Alexandria. Then, the questions that arise here are whether the sophistic movement had also developed in Alexandria and, if so, why Philostratus does not regard any of its sophists worthy of mention. The existing evidence shows that there was a significant development of the sophistic culture in Alexandria already from the early first century AD. As to the second question, I maintain that there was a clear incompatibility between Philostratus’ political ideas and the way he understood the role of the sophists, on the one hand, and the general tenets and practices of Alexandrians and Alexandrian sophists, on the other. I argue that this incompatibility was the main reason for Philostratus’ silence.