So, allegedly, all the texts were destroyed by using them as tinder for the bathhouses of the city. Some of the ancient scientists who studied and performed experiments in the Musaeum were Hero, who is known as the father of mechanics, Euclid, the father of geometry, and Archimedes, the father of engineering. Edward Parsons, The Alexandrian Library, 1952. So who did burn the Library of Alexandria? Some people believe that the library once held documents describing the achievements of Imhotep, The Grand Vizier who created the step pyramid of Djoser. Bibliotheca Alexandrina. With time, the research center moved to the famous Alexandrian Serapeum. The loss of the ancient world's single greatest archive of knowledge, the Library of Alexandria, has been lamented for ages. The fire spread and destroyed the Egyptian fleet. The library continued to operate afterward, and while the extent to which it was destroyed is uncertain, there were undoubtedly countless irreplaceable texts lost. Paleo rock art from around the world ranges in style, method, and age, and includes cave paintings, petroglyphs, pictographs, polished and engraved stones such as effigies, stone sculptures, and portable ceremonial objects. Ive read about some of the stuff that was in there and saw some of the the excavation of machine like objects that we dont even know how it worked. It housed anywhere between 650,000 to one million scrolls, which was basically everything ever written up until that point. Most of the earliest clay tablets that were created contained information saved for practical purposes. Lilith: Adam’s First Wife in Eden or a Diabolical Demoness? After his death, his friend (or perhaps step brother) Ptolemy I became the pharaoh of Egypt. Their creators had no need to save or archive them and as such those first examples of writing are lost. The ancient Egyptian scrolls were full of knowledge collected by priests on papyri from the earliest days of the civilization. However, in 642 AD, when the city was captured by Muslims, they burned all the books not related to Islam that they found in public places. This is the untold story of the Library of Alexandria. Current: None. The Ptolemy kings became patrons of scholarship and learnings, which eventually led to the formation of the Great Library of Alexandria. Greatly outnumbered and in enemy territory, Caesar ordered the ships in the harbor to be set on fire. Answer to: What knowledge was lost in the Library of Alexandria? I would not agree that the Moslems destroyed the library of Alexandria in 642 ce. Immediately after the death of Hierax a group of Jews who had helped instigate his killing lured more Christians into the street at night by proclaiming that the Church was on fire. Ptolemy was also the creator of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The library was built in the heart of the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt, and was founded in the 3rd century BC by Ptolemy II, one of Alexander the Great’s successors. Even then it was said to have taken six months to burn all the documents. In 2002, they constructed one more library close to the site of the initial Library of Alexandria. Alexandria was founded in Egypt by Alexander the Great. This is the Ancient Origins team, and here is our mission: “To inspire open-minded learning about our past for the betterment of our future through the sharing of research, education, and knowledge”. The Musaeum was home to 1,000 scholars at one point in time. Selected sources:"The Vanished Library" by Luciano Canfora"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbons. Therefore, many researchers wanted to go to the Musaeum and study. 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And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained. However, Demetrius of Phalerum, Theophrastus’ student, was likely the one who proposed the idea to Ptolemy. Plutarch and Cassius's bio also wrote that Caesar destroyed the library. The Library of Alexandria burned in the first century AD and with it the vastest collection of irreplaceable and priceless objects that humanity has collected in History. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 ). Unfortunately most of the writers from Plutarch (who apparently blamed Caesar) to Edward Gibbons (a staunch atheist or deist who liked very much to blame Christians and blamed Theophilus) to Bishop Gregory (who was particularly anti-Moslem, blamed Omar) all had an axe to grind and consequently must be seen as biased. The mystery exists not for lack of suspects but from an excess of them. The original library branch was located at the royal palace at Alexandria, near the harbor. Most of these works were never copied and did not survive in other collections. Luciano Canfora, The Vanished Library, 1990. The library was named after Alexander the Great, who initiated the collection of documents in 334 BCE. But after having been long torn by violent seditions, at last, when Aurelian was emperor, and when the intestine quarrels of its citizens had proceeded to deadly strife, its walls were destroyed, and it lost the largest half of its territory, which was called Bruchion, and had long been the abode of eminent men. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. Unfortunately, the tablets along with the rest of the library have been lost to fire or time, meaning we have little record of the library’s exact contents. A notion of 'lost' implies that the Library of Alexandria held the last (and only remaining) copy of a work, and with its destruction (whether we mean the plundering of Aurelian in c. 274 AD, mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, or the plundering of Christians connected with the destruction of Serapeum in 391 AD, or then the Muslim conquest of Alexandria in 642) whether this last copy was indeed lost. Many Renaissance scholars devoted themselves to remembering what was lost. At Ancient Origins we believe that one of... Read More. A bishop soon destroyed the heritage of many generations of ancient minds in the name of a new faith. Upon learning of "a great library containing all the knowledge of the world" the conquering general supposedly asked Caliph Omar for instructions. As such, it has not been reviewed for accuracy by the University and does not necessarily adhere to the University's scholarly standards. Many writers seem to equate the Library of Alexandria with the Library of Serapis although technically they were in two different parts of the city. The Museum was a shrine of the Muses modeled after the Lyceum of Aristotle in Athens. 150,000-Year-Old Pipes Baffle Scientists in China: Out of Place in Time? There were also many prototypes for inventions, priceless pieces of art, etc. The Library of Alexandria was completely destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago leaving no physical trace behind – but its formative scholarship and cultural resonance endure. The final individual to get blamed for the destruction is the Moslem Caliph Omar. There had lived Aristarchus, that illustrious grammarian; and Herodianus, that accurate inquirer into the fine arts; and Saccas Ammonius, the master of Plotinus, and many other writers in various useful branches of literature, among whom Didymus, surnamed Chalcenterus, a man celebrated for his writings on many subjects of science, deserves especial mention; who, in the six books in which he, sometimes incorrectly, attacks Cicero, imitating those malignant farce writers, is justly blamed by the learned as a puppy barking from a distance with puny voice against the mighty roar of the lion. The library had been heavily stocked by the aid of the perpetrator's non-Christian predecessor, Emperor Julian (the Apostate). To best-preserved library building of the ancient world. The great library of Cordoba and through out Iberia are testament to this sympatico and tolerance then in vogue with Islamists. It is known that many works by Callimachus, Eratosthenes, Herophilus, Hipparchus, Pappus, Theon and his daughter Hypatia (her early work) were once part of the library too. Ships arriving in Alexandria were reportedly ransacked for any texts the Library … Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, available at: http://lexundria.com/amm/22.16/y. Ancient Wonder of the World: Egypt Approves Plan to Rebuild Pharos of Alexandria. Library of Alexandria has been one of the largest libraries of the ancient world.People believed that it was destroyed in a huge fire some 2000 years back and the vast collection of scrolls and manuscripts were destroyed with it. Student of history and Antiquity enjoy the work you do. There is no evidence of the existence of the library after that date, but it seems that the people of Alexandria, the legendary philosophers, scientists, and their supporters saved some of the books. More research and less bias. The Library of Alexandria was not created as a benevolent or altruistic center of knowledge. These facts condemning Omar were written by Bishop Gregory Bar Hebræus, a Christian who spent a great deal of time writing about Moslem atrocities without much historical documentation. The story varies slightly depending upon who tells it but she was taken by the Christians, dragged through the streets and murdered. 8) The ancient library of Alexandria was destroyed on two different occasions. Messiah on Temple Mount: Are We Nearing the End of Time? The real tragedy of course is not the uncertainty of knowing who to blame for the Library's destruction but that so much of ancient history, literature and learning was lost forever. Roy MacLeod, The Library of Alexandria: centre of learning in the ancient world, 2000. Nonetheless, the idea that the ancients had amazing scientific knowledge that was lost when the Library of Alexandria was destroyed that we still haven’t recovered today is a pure fantasy. Much of the contents of the Hanlin Yuan, one of the key centers of learning in Peking (now known as Beijing), was destroyed when the building was set on fire during the conflict. If he was solely to blame for the disappearance of the Library it is very likely significant documentation on the affair would exist today. Statue of Demetrius at the entrance of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Later they’d donate their documents to the library so others could learn about their achievements. Islam was coming into its golden age in 642 and was preserving and transcibing ancient text not destroying such knowledge. It was a noble goal - to house a copy of every book in the world in one place. While the Library of Alexandria survived several destructive forces throughout its existence, the most destructive was due to Julius Caesar. Ptolemy VIII Physcon's expulsion of the scholars from Alexandria brought about a shift in the history of Hellenistic scholarship. As such, when their relevance expired, the tablets were either erased and used again or re-used as building materials. Egyptian Blue, also known as calcium copper silicate, is one of the first artificial pigments known to have been used by man. In the Hellenistic world, many sciences (like anatomy) were forbidden. There are many reported human skeletal finds which are in discordance with current evolutionary beliefs dating back to anomalously ancient geological periods in the distant past, way before it is accepted that human beings ever existed. The tragic burning of the great library of Alexandria destroyed over 500,000 scrolls amassing the collective thought of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Macedonians, Babylonians, and unknown others, depriving these priceless items from future scholars. The second story of the Library's destruction is more popular, thanks primarily to Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". Alexander and Ptolemy were both students of the famous philosopher Aristotle - and his teachings influenced the Musaeum’s creation. Those who wished to discredit Islam attributed the destruction to Muslim conquerors of Egypt during the Arab Conquest; more recently, it has been used to discredit Christians and to portray them as destroyers of ancient knowledge. Some regard the death of Hypatia as the final destruction of the Library. It formed part of the research institute at Alexandria in Egypt that is known as the Alexandrian Museum. But scientists in Egypt could voice even the most rebellious theories and explore any field of science. Is St Catherine of Alexandria a Fictional Person Based on Hypatia of Alexandria? Such an omission proves little since he was not in the habit of including unflattering facts while writing his own history. 3 Problems to Remember When Trying to Find Atlantis, Egyptian Alexandria - Ancient underwater finds revealed the Pharaonic roots of the Ptolemaic City, The destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria, The Canopus Way of Ancient Alexandria and the Birthday of Alexander the Great. The consequences of religious pomposity and arrogance. What exactly happened to this amazing storehouse of ancient knowledge, and who was responsible for its burning? The first person blamed for the destruction of the Library is none other than Julius Caesar himself. 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MMDE: Thousands. When Strabo visited the Musaeum he was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the temple of knowledge. Great Library of Alexandria- Pool of knowledge including the facts about alien sightings. The monumental Musaeum of Alexandria was famous for its legendary library. Beyond the Pyramid Ramp: Unravelling Egypt’s Most Elusive Enigma, Cover Up: Very Early Human Presence in Malta Has Been Intentionally Hidden, Enigmatic Carvings on Underwater Ruins in China Mystify Investigators, Alba Fucens, a City Not Even the Roman Gods Could Protect, From the Vikings to WWII, the Danevirke Wall Has Seen it All, The Wolves of Dacia Take On the Roman Empire, Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire Served the Sultan in More Ways Than One, Lockdown Looting: Massive Hoard of Stolen Serbian Artifacts Seized. The library was so large it actually had another branch or "daughter" library at the Temple of Serapis. Legendary Claddagh Rings: What are the True Origins of these Symbolic Irish Wedding Rings? They translate them from Hebrew. Alexandria had long been known for its violent and volatile politics. Therefore, the building contained several unique texts. Researchers are still working to unveil the wonderful story of the Musaeum. But these details, from the Caliph's quote to the incredulous six months it supposedly took to burn all the books, weren't written down until 300 years after the fact. The loss of scientific understandings in that of physics and medicine, as well as the loss of cultural and historical documentation and knowledge, and much more, is unlike any other event in recorded history. Scholars from all over the Hellenistic world were allowed to browse the library. It is likely that no one else followed as director of the Musaeum after Aristatchus of Samothrace stopped holding the role in 145 BC. So what treasures were lost in its devastating fire? The tragic story of the building’s destruction continues to be a painful one for people who love ancient history and literature. library of Alexandria myth But according to 1st-century ad roman playwright and stoic philosopher, Seneca the younger, the fire started by Caesar destroyed forty thousand scrolls from the library of Alexandria. After his death, his nephew Cyril became Patriarch. Ancient Origins © 2013 - 2021Disclaimer - Terms of Publication - Privacy Policy & Cookies - Advertising Policy - Submissions - We Give Back - Contact us. Thoughtful Archimedes by Fetti (1620) ( Public Domain ). When the Christians rushed out the largely Jewish mob slew many of them. Perhaps one of the most interesting accounts of its destruction comes from the accounts of the Roman writers. The Musaeum, or Mouseion, was a home to art, music, poetry, and philosophy. In 640 AD the Moslems took the city of Alexandria. We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives. The so-called destruction of the Library of Alexandria is largely myth, and of modern origin. After this there was mass havoc as Christians retaliated against both the Jews and the Pagans - one of which was Hypatia. Nevertheless, this particular story has something of the happy ending. The nature of the Library of Alexandria was meant to compile all of the world's knowledge. Aristarchus's student Egypt was a country of free thinkers. Ptolemy II, who became the ruler of Egypt after Alexander the Great in the third century BC, was a great patron of learning. As an accidental casualty of war, the Library suffered extensive damage during the Ptolemaic siege in 48 BCE. At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. But how and why it was lost is still a mystery. For instance, Mark Antony was supposed to have given Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls for the Library long after Julius Caesar is accused of burning it. The first person blamed for the destruction of the Library is none other than Julius Caesar himself. Library of Alexandria, the most famous library of Classical antiquity. Shortly after that, riots broke out when Hierax, a Christian monk, was publicly killed by order of Orestes the city Prefect. Probably everyone mentioned above had some hand in destroying some part of the Library's holdings. The imperial harem of the Ottoman era was the collection of wives, servants and concubines of the Sultan, who sometimes numbered in the hundreds. In truth, ancient peoples generally had extremely limited knowledge of science and medicine—knowledge which modern peoples long ago surpassed. In 387 AD, the Roman writer Ammianus Marcellinus wrote about the site. Greatly outnumbered and in enemy territory, Caesar ordered the … In any case, losing the data included in the library is sufficient in order to still the soul of many academics these days. But Caesar was not without public detractors. In it were libraries of inestimable value; and the concurrent testimony of ancient records affirm that 70,000 volumes, which had been collected by the anxious care of the Ptolemies, were burnt in the Alexandrian war when the city was sacked in the time of Cæsar the Dictator. Moreover, the Ptolemies bought many ancient scrolls, including texts by Homer, Sapho, and other ancient writers. It has been estimated that at one time the Library of Alexandria held over half a million documents from Assyria, Greece, Persia, Egypt, India and many other nations. The infamous destruction by fire of the Library of Alexandria, with the consequent loss of the most complete collection of ancient literature ever assembled, has been a point of heated debate for centuries. 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