chapter  5
18 Pages

Alexandria

This chapter discusses how in Friedrich Schlegel's view the blossoming of classical culture ended with an epoch of decay and perished. In addition to the mythical Atlantis, the historical cities of Alexandria and Rome offered historical examples of decadence resulting from excessive urban luxury. The chapter analyses Schlegel's reception of the Alexandrian Grammars and their chemical philology, and explains thereby Schlegel's transition from a classical to a Romantic understanding of antiquity. In his analysis of Sophocles, Schlegel juxtaposes his works with the later sentimental poetry, which postulates a past Golden Age, therefore, it is necessary to explore the genre of idyll poetry that was born in Alexandria and remained a popular genre until the end of the eighteenth century. The chapter discusses his argument that the urban sentimentalism typical of eighteenth-century pastoral was in fact developed by the classical philologists and poets of Alexandria.