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Library of Alexandria discovered
BBC News ^ | Wednesday, 12 May, 2004 | Dr David Whitehouse

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.

Oldest University

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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: alexanderthegreat; alexandria; archaeology; cantstandsya; classicalgreek; economic; epigraphyandlanguage; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; library; libraryofalexandria; tropicofcancer
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1 posted on 05/17/2004 10:10:52 AM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9
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 ...
2 posted on 05/17/2004 10:13:55 AM PDT by eastsider
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To: eastsider

Sometimes, when I receive literature from the ALA, I'm tempted to burn libraries to the ground right now.


3 posted on 05/17/2004 10:15:47 AM PDT by LanPB01
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To: blam

bump


4 posted on 05/17/2004 10:16:56 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: presidio9

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.


5 posted on 05/17/2004 10:19:00 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: presidio9

>> auditoria<<

Every once in a while, something the BBC says makes me smile. Auditoria. What a great word.


6 posted on 05/17/2004 10:21:14 AM PDT by dangus
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7 posted on 05/17/2004 10:27:01 AM PDT by eastsider
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To: DoughtyOne

Julius was quite educated and claimed it burned by accident. To make up for it he endowed about 20 major libraries in Italy.


8 posted on 05/17/2004 10:27:39 AM PDT by FreedomSurge
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To: presidio9

"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.


9 posted on 05/17/2004 10:29:14 AM PDT by Kerberos (Groups are inherently more immoral than individuals.)
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To: Kerberos

If Caesar hadn't burned it, the Muslims surely would have, so I don't blame him regardless.


10 posted on 05/17/2004 10:31:38 AM PDT by KellyAdmirer
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To: presidio9
The library was later destroyed, possibly by Julius Caesar who had it burned as part of his campaign to conquer the city.

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.

Mark

11 posted on 05/17/2004 10:32:18 AM PDT by MarkL (The meek shall inherit the earth... But usually in plots 6' x 3' x 6' deep...)
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To: Kerberos

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.


12 posted on 05/17/2004 10:34:12 AM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: presidio9
Neato!!

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.........

13 posted on 05/17/2004 10:36:24 AM PDT by tracer
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To: presidio9

read later


14 posted on 05/17/2004 10:36:35 AM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: Destro
Various Perps
15 posted on 05/17/2004 10:37:13 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: MarkL
The Usual Suspects
16 posted on 05/17/2004 10:39:46 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: MarkL
An internet search will yield several versions of how the fire happened, who did it, etc. As others have posted there may also have been more than one fire.
17 posted on 05/17/2004 10:39:57 AM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Destro

"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.


18 posted on 05/17/2004 10:41:47 AM PDT by Kerberos (Groups are inherently more immoral than individuals.)
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: tracer; eastsider

As long as we are making jokes about library fines, I guess somebody needs to make the appropriate Seinfeld referrence.

20 posted on 05/17/2004 10:44:02 AM PDT by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does)
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To: ThatsAllFolks2

Because thinking about burning the local library down is easier than complaining to the ALA and/or asking to be removed from their mailing list.

Some people like to be upset.


21 posted on 05/17/2004 10:56:22 AM PDT by inflation
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To: presidio9
Works by Plato and Socrates and many others were later destroyed in a fire.

I've been under the impression that Socrates left no writings. If so, that name should have been Aristotle, some of whose works are known to have been lost.

22 posted on 05/17/2004 10:59:02 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (A compassionate evolutionist!)
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To: KellyAdmirer

The Muslim conquerer of Egypt in the 7th century did burn the reconstructed libary of Alexandria, and apparently did so without remorse.


23 posted on 05/17/2004 11:04:28 AM PDT by gaspar
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To: Destro

"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."

Since when do Arabs bathe?? ;)


24 posted on 05/17/2004 11:28:32 AM PDT by adam_az (Call your State Republican Party office and VOLUNTEER!!!!)
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To: adam_az

BUMP!


25 posted on 05/17/2004 11:35:20 AM PDT by Publius6961 (I don't do diplomacy either.)
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To: ThatsAllFolks2

I assume you're not familiar with the ALA's refusal to condemn Castro's imprisonment of the Cuban librarians, their press releases decrying the supporters of Robert Kent's Cuban Librarian organization as "right wing" (and therefore, wrong), and their love of everything socialist.


26 posted on 05/17/2004 11:37:12 AM PDT by LanPB01
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To: presidio9
The library was later destroyed, possibly by Julius Caesar who had it burned as part of his campaign to conquer the city.

Sheesh. What's with all the dumping on Julius Caesar lately?

The library might have been damaged when Caesar's troops got caught up in the nasty little civil war between Cleopatra and her little brother. But there are historical references to it beyond that time, so it wasn't destroyed until later.

27 posted on 05/17/2004 11:42:08 AM PDT by Snuffington
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To: stainlessbanner
Thanks for the ping.

If they hadn't burned down this library, we would probably know the location of Atlantis today.

28 posted on 05/17/2004 11:49:50 AM PDT by blam
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To: presidio9

This is very exciting news!


29 posted on 05/17/2004 11:53:16 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: MarkL
My understanding has always been that the original library was burned during Caesar's campaign in Egypt. I suppose it's possible that during the next few hundred years another was built and books / scrolls were collected only to be burned again by the muslims who invaded in in the late seventh century, but I have never heard that except here at this site.

The Arabs did have possession of many ancient texts which were translated from Greek into Arabic, carried across North Africa to the real gem in their empire, Andalusian Spain, and then translated again into Latin. This was the source of Europe's exposure to Plato's and Aristotle's writings during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. But the point is that during a time when any manuscript, scroll, or book was priceless the (First?) Library of Alexandria was a genuine treasure house.

30 posted on 05/17/2004 11:53:29 AM PDT by katana
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To: presidio9

well, except that whole 1 Euclid 5 thing.


31 posted on 05/17/2004 11:53:31 AM PDT by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: inflation; LanPB01

If you're going to talk about someone it is courteous to ping them.


32 posted on 05/17/2004 11:59:26 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: cyncooper

I have no idea what you're talking about.


33 posted on 05/17/2004 12:02:19 PM PDT by LanPB01
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To: KellyAdmirer
I have read other accounts that state that the bulk of the world's mathematic and scientific information was lost in Alexandria Fire and much had to be rediscovered in later centuries.

I have always wondered how much more scientific, medical and technological information the world would now posses if it had not been for the Alexandria Fire.

Without Question the Fire was one of the World's greatest tragedies.

34 posted on 05/17/2004 12:02:27 PM PDT by pete anderson
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To: katana
...the (First?) Library of Alexandria was a genuine treasure house.

I cannot imagine how much further technological and scientific progress we could have achieved if it had not been for the Alexandria Fire.

35 posted on 05/17/2004 12:05:21 PM PDT by pete anderson
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To: inflation

And some people - who obviously don't work in a library and deal with the ALA on an almost daily basis - should keep their mouth shut.


36 posted on 05/17/2004 12:12:47 PM PDT by LanPB01
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To: LanPB01

People should not call for the burning down of public buildings.

That's what those we are fighting wish to do, and I would like to think that we are better than that.

If you don't like the ALA, the ask to be removed from their mailing list.

If you don't like working in a library , than quite or work to have it changed so you do like it. Don't support their destruciton.


37 posted on 05/17/2004 12:14:38 PM PDT by inflation
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To: MarkL

I believe you are correct. The Caliph's "reasoning" was that if a book agreed with the Koran, it was superfluous, if it disagreed, it was heretical. You only need 12 billion copies of one book.


38 posted on 05/17/2004 12:18:38 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Uday and Qusay are ead-day)
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To: Kerberos
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.

It wasn't. In 391 AD, the Roman Emperor Theodosius, a Christian zealot, permitted the Patriarch of Alexandia, another zealot, to burn the "pagan" materials in the Library.

In 646 AD the Muslims burned what was left of the Library for similar reasons.

-Eric

39 posted on 05/17/2004 12:24:05 PM PDT by E Rocc (It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child. - PJ O'Rourke)
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To: DoughtyOne

China went through a revolution in ancient times in which nearly all books were destroyed. Someone built hollow walls in a house and save a bunch. Otherwise we'd know even less about the history of China.


40 posted on 05/17/2004 12:27:08 PM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: presidio9
Library of Alexandria discovered

Guess I have to return that book now ...

41 posted on 05/17/2004 12:28:52 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: inflation

I hope your humor and Freeper etiquette improve the longer you're here.


42 posted on 05/17/2004 12:30:51 PM PDT by LanPB01
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To: MarkL

Caesar burned it by accident, he set fire to an enemy fleet and the fire spread. Terrible lose, Muslims of 7th century would not have burned it. Todays Muslims might.


43 posted on 05/17/2004 12:34:14 PM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: Doctor Stochastic

Somewhere I've read that the library was destroyed when the Byzantine general Belisarius retook Alexandria from the Vandals in Justinian's reign (mid-500s AD). Or you could just say that the destruction has been put by someone or other at every hiccup of history from about 50 BC to 700 AD.


45 posted on 05/17/2004 12:36:29 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: LanPB01

It isn't humor when you talk about burning down buldings that that are the only place for some kids to get books from. The comment was made in bad taste and I think you know that.


46 posted on 05/17/2004 12:37:24 PM PDT by inflation
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To: gaspar
Really? Hmmm, I thought the early Muslims were keepers of knowledge not destroyers. Got a source? I'd like to read up on that.
47 posted on 05/17/2004 12:37:43 PM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: presidio9

So it took 2000 years to find a library, and we knew what city it was in. But they expect Bush to find WMDs in a place where they were deliberately hidden, and we don't know where?


48 posted on 05/17/2004 12:42:26 PM PDT by Bon mots
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To: presidio9

bttt


49 posted on 05/17/2004 12:44:25 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: presidio9

awesome


50 posted on 05/17/2004 12:45:57 PM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" -- Abraham Lincoln)
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