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Co-funded by the
Creative Europe Programme
of the European Union

Coin « Alexandria lightouse » #2

Coin “Alexandria lighthouse”. 2nd century AD. Bronze, diam. 3,5 cm. Morlanwelz, Royal Museum of Mariemont © Royal Museum of Mariemont.

About the artwork:

This bronze coin, kept in the Royal Museum of Mariemont, dates from the 2nd century AD and measures 3.5 cm in diameter. In its centre we can see the engraved Lighthouse of Alexandria. 

Between East and West, Alexandria has often been considered as an ideal city. A commercial metropolis of the Eastern Mediterranean and a centre of universal knowledge, it is the cradle of major scientific discoveries and artistic productions. Altered over time by urban transformations and seismic and geological phenomena, the image of ancient Alexandria seems to have escaped us. The city and its major monuments can be seen today through literary passages, historical maps and reconstructions.

Built under the first Ptolemies, the lighthouse is no longer visible today. Collapsed into the sea, it is a Mamluk fortress that has marked its location since the 15th century. Its shape is known from various sources (texts, coins and drawings from the Arab period). It is 135m high and was a three-storey tower consisting of a square base, an octagonal column and a small cylindrical tower topped by a statue.

Text: Musée royal de Mariemont