Inspired by the tales of Homer & his own ambitions of empire, Alexander the Great sketched the idea of a city onto the sparsely populated Egyptian coastline. He did not live to see Alexandria built, but his vision of a sparkling metropolis that celebrated learning & diversity was swiftly realised & still stands today. Situated on the cusp of Africa, Europe & Asia, great civilisations met in Alexandria. Together, Greeks & Egyptians, Romans & Jews created a global knowledge capital of enormous influence: the inventive collaboration of its citizens shaped modern philosophy, science, religion & more. In pitched battles, later empires, from the Arabs & Ottomans to the French & British, laid claim to the city but its independent spirit endures. In this biography of the great city, Islam Issa takes us on a journey across millennia, rich in big ideas, brutal tragedies & distinctive characters, from Cleopatra to Napoleon.