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Cyrene, Libya

Cyrene, a city in North Africa (in present-day Libya) was a colony of the Greeks of Thera, founded in approximately 630 BC[?]E. The area became part of the Greek Ptolemaic empire and later, part of the Roman empire. It remained an important capital until the earthquake of 365.

Details concerning the founding of the city are contained in Book IV of the Histories, by Herodotus.

The Greek element, in Cyrene, started to decline after 116 AD when Jews started a genocide against Greeks which ended two years later after the Roman emperor Hadrian established peace within the empire.

It is now an archeological site near the village of Shahat. One of its more significant features is the Temple of Apollo which was originally constructed as early as 7 BCE. Other ancient structures include a Temple to Demeter and a partially unexcavated Temple to Zeus (the latter was intentionally damaged under orders of Gaddafi in summer 1978). There is a large, approximately 10 kmē, necropolis between Cyrene and its ancient port of Apollonia.

Cyrene was the birthplace of Eratosthenes and there are a nuber of philosophers associated with the city including Callimachus, Carneades[?], Aristippus and Arete.

Cyrene is also mentioned in the New Testament: One Simon of Cyrene[?] carried the cross of Christ (Mark 15:21 and parallels). See also Acts 6:9; 11:20; 13:1.



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