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in Atripe and its environs, trying to provoke allegiance one way or the other -to Christ or to the devil - among people of his region.24 His disciples and proteges Moses of Abydos and Macarius of Tkow were said to have taken up his anti-heathen militancy, although their legends portray their violent acts as meant more to protect Christians than to provoke heathens. Alexandria itself continued as the site of violent demonstrations and clashes throughout the early fifth century. Much of this violence had religious overtones, stoked particularly by Bishop Cyril (sed. 412-44). In 415 alone we find: the expulsion of Jews and burning of synagogues; the invasion ofNitrian monks to attack Cyril's nemesis the Roman prefect; and the public murder and dismemberment of the philosopher Hypatia.25

When the healing cult of Isis in Menouthis was destroyed in 489, after co-existing for half a century with a small Christian healing shrine, the initiators of violence were not monks but philoponoi, a fanatic Christian confraternity, who secured both the bishop's approval for the raid and the company of monks. These last, from the Enaton monastery, proved themselves experts in overcoming the demons in Egyptian divine images, chanting psalms against the statues' potency. Yet as the historian and eyewitness Zachariah of Mitylene reports this episode, the tensions expressed in iconoclasm and demolition were not so much Christian-versus-Egyptian cult as Christian-versus-Hellenic intelligentsia, with undercurrents of intra-Christian theological hostilities. The suburban temple, unthreatening and unnoticed for a century since the Serapeum's downfall, exhibited the deceptive heathen tricks with which the heathen intellectuals had (it was accused) associated themselves and thus provided a convenient focus for inciting Christian solidarity in a time of theological and monastic schism. The traditional temple became the 'fall-guy' amid much more complex tensions.

Indeed, if the destruction of temples did not obliterate the fundamental sentiments of Egyptian religion, neither did such dramatic attacks deflate the Hellenic intelligentsia. Their schools continued, albeit in diminished form and progressively disconnected from Egyptian temple religion. Over the fifth and sixth centuries we see figures like Asclepiades and Horapollon trying to attach themselves to existing shrines and reinventing priestly traditions for themselves; while others, like Hypatia's student Synesios and the poet Nonnos, assumed Christian idioms for their writing.26

24 Stephen L. Emmel, 'From the other side of the Nile'.

25 Socrates, H.E. 7.13-15; in general, see C. Haas, Alexandria in late antiquity, 295-316.

26 Cf.Johannes Geffcken, Thelastdays of Greco-Romanpaganism; Alan Cameron, 'Wandering poets'.

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