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Definition of CYRENE
ancient city N Africa on the Mediterranean in NE Libya
— Cy·re·ni·an\-nē-ən\adjective or noun
Sanctuary of Apollo, Cyrene—Josephine Powell, Rome
Ancient city, North Africa. Located in modern-day Libya, it was founded c. 630 BC by a group of emigrants from the Aegean island of Thíra. Their leader, Battus, became the first king; his dynasty ruled until c. 440 BC. Under the aegis of Ptolemaic Egypt (from 323 BC), Cyrene became one of the great intellectual centres of the Classical world, boasting such scholars as Eratosthenes and Aristippus, founder of the Cyrenaics. Taken by the Romans in 96 BC, it later declined and, with the Arab conquest of AD 642, ceased to exist. Areas of the old city have been excavated, revealing impressive ruins.