The port of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in ca. 331 BC at the site of the city Rhakotis in the Nile delta. It became the intellectual and cultural centre of the world. In the harbour was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, called Pharos. Equally famous was the library.
With Rome, Alexandria was one of the most important harbours of classical antiquity on the Mediterranean Sea. In the Roman period it was private property of the emperor. The export of grain to Rome was of great importance. It was transported to Puteoli and later Ostia-Portus by a fleet of very large ships.
During a Jewish-Roman war, the so-called Kitos War named after the Roman general Lusius (sic) Quietus and taking place between 115 and 117 AD, Alexandria was damaged. The emperor Hadrian ordered his archtitect Decrianus to rebuild. In 215 AD the emperor Caracalla visited the city. Because of some insulting satires about him he ordered his troops to put to death all young people capable of bearing arms.
Alexandria had a trading office at the Piazzale delle Corporazioni in Ostia. In the imperial harbour of Ostia, Portus, Claudius built a lighthouse imitating and surpassing ("imitatio et aemulatio") the Pharos. As a symbolic act of suppression, part of the foundation consisted of a ship that had carried an obelisk from Egypt to Rome.
Archaeological research of great importance was carried out by Jean-Yves Empereur, leading the Centre d'Études Alexandrines / Alexandria Studies Centre.