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====The Construction of the Lighthouse====
[[File: Louvre_Museum_PtolemyII.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left|Bust of Ptolemy II in the Louvre Museum, Paris]]
Although located in Egypt, the city of Alexandria was founded by the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great when the wrested Egypt away from the Persians in 331 BC. Alexander liked the location of the area because of its natural harbor and so decided to build a city there as a monument to his greatness and to promote the Greek concept of Hellenism. Construction of the city began under the first of the Greek-Macedonian rulers of Egypt, Ptolemy I (ruled 305-282 BC), who commissioned the architect Dinocrates of Rhodes to design the city on a grid-pattern, which was quite revolutionary at the time. <ref> Clayton, Peter A. “The Pharos at Alexandria.” In <i>The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.</i> Edited by Peter Clayton and Martin J. Price. (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 140</ref> The centerpiece of this bold new city would be the landmark known as the Pharos Lighthouse or Lighthouse of Alexandria.
Construction of the Lighthouse probably began during Ptolemy I’s reign, but was completed during the rule of his successor, Ptolemy II (284-246 BC). Although there is no consensus among modern historians, many believe that the dyke that joined the mainland to the Pharos island, known as the “Heptastadion,” was built during Ptolemy I’s reign, but most of the actual Lighthouse was constructed during Ptolemy II’s rule. <ref> Scheidel, Walter. “Creating a Metropolis: A Comparative Demographic Perspective.” In <i>Ancient Alexandria between Egypt and Greece.</i> Edited by W.V. Harris and Giovanni Ruffini. (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 23</ref> As was the case in many instances in the ancient world, it is not known for sure who was the architect of the Lighthouse. Ancient historians associated the name Sostratus with the Lighthouse in their writings and his name was supposedly inscribed on the edifice, so modern scholars believe that he was either its architect or one of the chief donors. <ref> Clayton, pgs. 142-3</ref>
====Ancient Descriptions of the Lighthouse====
Although Caesar’s troops caused a certain amount of destruction on the Pharos Island and also apparently to the Lighthouse itself, it took little time for the Romans to rebuild Egypt’s second entry into the Seven Wonders of the World. Alexandria continued to be an important city once its control passed from the Ptolemies to the Romans. The Romans apparently quickly repaired the damage to the Lighthouse because when the first century AD Jewish historian Josephus wrote about it, no damage was mentioned.
[[File: Kom el-Dika.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left|Ruins of the Roman Amphitheater in Alexandria]]
“For Egypt is difficult to enter by land, and the coast is almost harbourless. . . It is difficult even in peacetime for ships to approach the harbour of Alexandria; the entrance is narrow, and submerged rocks make a straight course impossible. The left side is shut in by artificial moles; on the right the island of Pharos lies off shore, and from this rises an enormous lighthouse whose fires are visible thirty-five miles away, warning visiting ships to anchor at night well away from the shore because of the difficulty of making port.” <ref> Josephus. <i> The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged.</i> Translated by William Whiston. (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1987), Book IV, 6043</ref>
Besides demonstrating that the Lighthouse was functioning fully again about 100 years after Caesar’s campaign, Josephus’ passage relates that it was a true lighthouse, which used firewood as its source for light. Other ancient descriptions of the Lighthouse can be found on coins that were minted in Alexandria during the Roman period. The so-called “Pharos Coins,” which featured a depiction of the Lighthouse, were issued through the reigns of six emperors from Domitian through Marucs Auerilius and then again in the twenty-ninth year of Commodus. <ref> Handler, Susan. “Architecture on the Roman coins of Alexandria.” <i>American Journal of Archaeology</i> 75 (1971), p. 182</ref>