Skip to comments.Library of Alexandria discovered
Posted on 05/17/2004 10:10:51 AM PDT by presidio9
Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the site of the Library of Alexandria, often described as the world's first major seat of learning. A Polish-Egyptian team has excavated parts of the Bruchion region of the Mediterranean city and discovered what look like lecture halls or auditoria.
Two thousand years ago, the library housed works by the greatest thinkers and writers of the ancient world.
Works by Plato and Socrates and many others were later destroyed in a fire.
Announcing their discovery at a conference being held at the University of California, Zahi Hawass, president of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the 13 lecture halls uncovered could house as many as 5,000 students in total.
A conspicuous feature of the rooms, he said, was a central elevated podium for the lecturer to stand on.
"It is the first time ever that such a complex of lecture halls has been uncovered on any Greco-Roman site in the whole Mediterranean area," he added.
"It is perhaps the oldest university in the world."
Professor Wileke Wendrich, of the University of California, told BBC News Online that the discovery was incredibly impressive.
Alexandria was a major seat of learning in ancient times and regarded by some as the birthplace of western science.
Birthplace of geometry
It was a tiny fishing village on the Nile delta called Rhakotis when Alexander the Great chose it as the site of the new capital of his empire.
It was made Egypt's capital in 320 BC and soon became the most powerful and influential city in the region.
Its rulers built a massive lighthouse at Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the famed Library of Alexandria.
It was at the library that Archimedes invented the screw-shaped water pump that is still in use today.
At Alexandria Eratosthenes measured the diameter of the Earth, and Euclid discovered the rules of geometry.
Ptolemy wrote the Almagest at Alexandria. It was the most influential scientific book about the nature of the Universe for 1,500 years.
The library was later destroyed, possibly by Julius Caesar who had it burned as part of his campaign to conquer the city.
The library was later destroyed, possibly by Julius Caesar who had it burned as part of his campaign to conquer the city.I heard he did it to protest the late fees ...
Sometimes, when I receive literature from the ALA, I'm tempted to burn libraries to the ground right now.
The idea of destroying knowledge to defeat one's enemies is an amazing thought process. Conquer them and access the knowledge. Don't destroy it.
Every once in a while, something the BBC says makes me smile. Auditoria. What a great word.
Julius was quite educated and claimed it burned by accident. To make up for it he endowed about 20 major libraries in Italy.
"The library was later destroyed, possibly by Julius Caesar who had it burned as part of his campaign to conquer the city."
I understood that it happened when Cesar was in Egypt, making time with Cleopatra, and there was an uprising within his legions. Caesar burned his fleet to prevent the insurgents from capturing them, and therefore being able to use them against Cesar, and unfortunately much of the library also caught on fire.
However I am not positive if that was the only fire that ever occurred at the Alexandria library.
If Caesar hadn't burned it, the Muslims surely would have, so I don't blame him regardless.
Actually, I believe that it was the muslims who destroyed the library, around the middle of the 7th century AD when they conquored Alexndria, while Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria (later St. Cyril), burned Hyapatia (one of the greatest "librarians" of Alexandria) in the early 5th century.
I could be wrong about this. It's been about 20 years since I looked into this stuff.
It was not the only fire - and what ever was left of the library was done in by the Arabs - they used the books to heat their baths for months.
Now Bobbie "Sheets" Byrd will have to cough up the $12.8 million in overdue fines he owes the library for the books that he read to become the eloquent orator and statesman whom we all have come to love and admire.........
"It was not the only fire - and what ever was left of the library was done in by the Arabs - they used the books to heat their baths for months."
I though I had read some years back that at one point there was a massive fire that destroyed everything but I wasn't sure. Cesar's burning of his fleet only partially destroyed the library.
At any rate if this is even part of the Alexandrian library they have uncovered this is a major find. It will be interesting to see what comes out from there.
As long as we are making jokes about library fines, I guess somebody needs to make the appropriate Seinfeld referrence.