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The Center of Alexandria’s Jewish Community

Miriam tells us about the Great Synagogue in The Deadliest Lie:

Although we have many synagogues throughout the city, none surpass the size and splendor of the Great Synagogue. This double-colonnaded basilica modeled after the Jerusalem Temple boasts seventy-one thrones of gold to correspond to the seventy-one elders of the Great Sanhedrin and a sanctuary so vast that on the High Holy Days the sexton has to wave a flag to signal the thousands of us when to say Amen.

Although preeminently a house of prayer—Jews gathered until late afternoon on the Sabbath and Holy Days to listen to and study the Torah —it was also where Jews gathered to delve into secular matters, conduct business before the religious court, and socialize. Jewish craftsmen socialized with members of their own guild in the huge central hall and met with newcomers to give advice on conducting business and where to settle.

Much of the action in The Deadliest Fever, the fourth Miriam bat Isaac book scheduled for release late in 2018, takes place in the sanctuary during the visit of a sage from Judea. Although I placed the Great Synagogue on the city’s main boulevard, the Canopic Way, its precise location and architecture are unknown. It was destroyed by fire some fifty years after Miriam’s time during the reign of Trajan.

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