Caesareum of Alexandria

Coordinates: 31°12′03″N 29°53′58″E / 31.2009°N 29.8994°E / 31.2009; 29.8994
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General information
TypeBuilt as a temple; converted to a Christian church (late-4th century)
Town or cityAlexandria
Completed1st century BC
Renovated4th century (converted to Christian church)
Destroyed19th century
Client • Cleopatra VII (started)
 • Augustus (finished)

The Caesareum of Alexandria is an ancient temple in Alexandria, Egypt. It was conceived by Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic kingdom, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, to honour her first known lover Julius Caesar[1] or Mark Antony.[2] The edifice was finished by the Roman Emperor Augustus, after he defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt. He destroyed all traces of Antony in Alexandria, and apparently dedicated the temple to his own cult.[3]

Converted to a Christian church in the late 4th century, the Caesareum was the headquarters of Cyril of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444.[4]

The philosopher and mathematician Hypatia was murdered at the Caesareum by a Christian mob in 415; they stripped her naked and tore her to pieces.[5]

Elements of the temple survived until the 19th century. Cleopatra's Needles, obelisks from the temple, now stand in Central Park in New York City and on the Thames Embankment, in London.[3][6] The underwater archaeological work of Franck Goddio and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) in the eastern harbour of Alexandria[7] has added to the knowledge about the Caesareum. An article "The Caesarium",[8] published in 2021, reveals that the groundworks were started prior to the reign of Cleopatra VII. It also considers the building's relationship with the harbour based on ancient texts and the position of Cleopatra's Needles and it provides some indications about the siting of the temple itself.

Today, a large statue of the Alexandrine nationalist leader Saad Zaghloul (1859–1927) stands on the Caesareum site.

The Saad Zaghloul Pasha statue in Alexandria, built over the Caesareum site.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fletcher, Joann (2008), Cleopatra the Great: The Woman Behind the Legend, New York: Harper, pp. 216–217, ISBN 978-0-06-058558-7.
  2. ^ Centre d'Études Alexandrines (2022). "Le Césaréum". Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b McKenzie, Judith (2007). The Architecture of Alexandria and Egypt, c. 300BC to AD 700. Vol. 63. Yale University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-300-11555-0.
  4. ^ Staff (2012). "The Caesarium of Alexandria – Scene of the Crime". Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  5. ^ Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Bk VI: Chap. 15.
  6. ^ Ellis, Simon P. (1992). Graeco-Roman Egypt. Osprey Publishing. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-7478-0158-0.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "The sunken ancient port of Alexandria". Franck Goddio - Underwater Archaeologist. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  8. ^ Franck Goddio, Catherine Grataloup (pottery): The Caesarium, edited by Damian Robinson, Franck Goddio, "Constructing, Remaking and Dismantling Sacred Landscapes in Lower Egypt from the Late Dynastic to the Early Medieval Period", Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology Monograph, volume 11. University of Oxford, Oxford 2021, ISBN 978-1-9989943-0-4.

31°12′03″N 29°53′58″E / 31.2009°N 29.8994°E / 31.2009; 29.8994