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The Fate of the Library of Alexandria
American Thinker ^ | May 02, 2010 | John O'Neill

Posted on 05/02/2010 3:17:15 PM PDT by neverdem

The great Library of Alexandria, established by Ptolemy II (circa 280 BC), has come to symbolize the receptacle of knowledge of Classical civilization. This great repository was barbarously razed in the Middle Ages.

At its height, the Library contained an estimated forty thousand volumes on a wide variety of topics. It held works on astronomy, mathematics, physics, medicine, and philosophy -- many of which were copied from the hieroglyphic and cuneiform texts of the Egyptians and Babylonians. It also stored histories of all the countries of the known world: histories of Egypt, of Babylonia, of Persia, of the lands of North Africa, of the lands of Western Europe, etc.


Although it was the greatest bibliographic collection in the ancient world, the Library probably held few books that were unique to it; almost all of the documents were copies of manuscripts held in other libraries or institutes of learning. Nonetheless, the Alexandria Library was celebrated as the most important treasury of information in the world at the time. Its disappearance is rightly seen as a catastrophe and symbolic of the loss of respect for knowledge that followed the collapse of Classical civilization.

Of the volumes held by the Library, as well as the other libraries of the time, it has been estimated that something like 95% were lost. What remains of the writings of antiquity is but a tiny relic of what once existed.

A story, apparently first appearing in the thirteenth century (mentioned first by Abd al Latif, who died in 1231, and later by Gregory Bar Hebraeus, who died in 1286), says that the Arabs, under Caliph Umar, destroyed the Alexandria Library shortly after the conquest of Egypt in 639 AD. The account states that the caliph, when informed about the institution, declared that if the books it contained agreed with the Koran, then they were superfluous, and if they disagreed, then they were heretical. In either event, they were worthless and should be obliterated. The books of the Library were put to the torch -- used to heat the palace baths.

For centuries, Europeans had little cause to doubt this story. There were very good reasons indeed, as we shall see, for believing it to be true. Yet by the late nineteenth century, historians were having second thoughts. Evidence, they said, showed that the early Arabs had great respect for learning, and the period between the seventh and eleventh centuries was coming to be regarded as an Islamic Golden Age, when Muslim societies led the world in science and medicine.

Indeed, it was argued that the Arabs were the saviors, rather than the destroyers, of Classical learning. A prime example of this genre of thinking is Robert Briffault's 1919 book, The Making of Humanity, which argued that the real Renaissance, or rebirth, of Classical learning actually occurred in eleventh-century Islamic Spain rather than fifteenth-century Italy.

Briffault's thinking, with its negative view of Christianity and European culture, may be regarded as an early form of political correctness. His thesis has become the default mode of thought in much of academia. And this is reflected in theories about the fate of the Library at Alexandria. A prime example of this may be seen in the Wikipedia page dealing with the Library. Here we encounter a lengthy discussion of the destruction of the institution. The accidental destruction caused by Julius Caesar is given pride of place, as are other real or apparent destructions which occurred at later periods of the Roman Empire. The final destruction, which must surely be the most important -- that carried out by the Arabs -- is mentioned rather briefly at the end, only to be dismissed "as a hoax or propaganda."

But if the destruction carried out by the Arabs was a hoax, then what happened to the Library? Even the authors of the Wikipedia page admit that following the earlier destruction by Caesar, the Library was rebuilt and restocked. This needs to be stressed: Until the disappearance of Classical civilization (apparently in the seventh century), the Library could be restocked and recreated -- for the great majority of the volumes it contained were not unique to it. They were copies of books also available in the other libraries and institutes of learning that dotted the Mediterranean world. It was only with the disappearance of Classical civilization as a whole -- along with the cultural, social, and economic infrastructure that underpinned it -- that the restocking and re-endowing of the Library became impossible. The lost volumes could not then be replaced because all other copies, in the other libraries and academies, were also gone.

Leaving aside the assertions of the Wikipedia authors, there is irrefutable proof that the wider dissolution of Classical culture occurred in the seventh century, and that this was a direct consequence of the Arab conquests. Furthermore, there is clear evidence that this dissolution and destruction was the result of a deliberate act of policy on the part of the Arabs.

This is seen most clearly in the sudden rupture, in the seventh century (in the lands conquered and controlled by the Muslims), of all cultural links to the past.

Until the first quarter of the seventh century, Classical civilization was alive and well in the Mediterranean world. City life flourished, as did the economy and the arts. Literacy was widespread, and the works of the Classical historians, as well as the philosophers, mathematicians, and physicians, were readily available and discussed in the academies and libraries located throughout the Near East, North Africa, and Europe.

In Egypt during the sixth century, renowned philosophers such as Olympiodorus (died 570) presided over the academy that presumably had, if not the original Library, then at least a well-stocked and well-funded library of some sort. The Alexandrian academy of this time was regarded as the most illustrious institute of learning in the known world, and it is virtually beyond doubt that its library matched, if indeed it did not surpass, the original Library founded by Ptolemy II.

The writings of Olympiodorus and his contemporaries demonstrate intimate familiarity with the great works of classical antiquity -- very often quoting obscure philosophers and historians whose works have long since disappeared. Among the general population of the time, literacy was the norm, and the appetite for reading was fed by a large class of professional writers who composed plays, poems, and short stories -- these last taking the form of mini-novels.

In Egypt, the works of Greek writers such as Herodotus and Diodorus were familiar and widely quoted. Both the latter and such native Egyptian writers as Manetho had composed extensive histories of Egypt of the time of the pharaohs. These works provided, for the citizens of Egypt and other parts of the Empire, a direct link with the pharaohnic past. Here the educated citizen encountered the name of the pharaoh (Kheops) who built the Great Pyramid, as well as that of his son (Khephren), who built the second pyramid at Giza, and that of his grandson Mykerinos, who raised the third and smallest structure. These Hellenized versions of the names were extremely accurate transcriptions of the actual Egyptian names (Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure). In the history of the country written by Manetho, the educated citizen of the Empire would have had a detailed description of Egypt's past, complete with an in-depth account of the deeds of the pharaohs as well as descriptions of the various monuments and the kings who built them.

The change that came over Egypt following the Arab Conquest can be described only as catastrophic. All knowledge of the country's past disappears, and it does so almost overnight. Consider the account of the Giza Pyramids and their construction written by the Arab historian Al Masudi (regarded as the "Arab Herodotus"), apparently in the tenth century (though there are good grounds for believing substantially earlier):

Surid, Ben Shaluk, Ben Sermuni, Ben Termidun, Ben Tedresan, Ben Sal, one of the kings of Egypt before the flood, built two great pyramids; and, notwithstanding, they were subsequently named after a person called Shaddad Ben Ad ... they were not built by the Adites, who could not conquer Egypt, on account of their powers, which the Egyptians possessed by means of enchantment ... the reason for the building of the pyramids was the following dream, which happened to Surid three hundred years previous to the flood. It appeared to him that the earth was overthrown, and that the inhabitants were laid prostrate upon it, that the stars wandered confusedly from their courses, and clashed together with tremendous noise. The king though greatly affected by this vision, did not disclose it to any person, but was conscious that some great event was about to take place. (From L. Cottrell, The Mountains of Pharaoh, London, 1956.)

This was what passed for "history" in Egypt after the Arab conquest -- little more than a collection of Arab fables. Egypt, effectively, had lost her history.

Other Arab writers display the same ignorance. Take for example the comments of Ibn Jubayr, who worked as a secretary to the Moorish governor of Granada, and who visited Cairo in 1182. He commented on "the ancient pyramids, of miraculous construction and wonderful to look upon, [which looked] like huge pavilions rearing to the skies; two in particular shock the firmament[.]" He wondered whether they might be the tombs of early prophets mentioned in the Koran, or whether they were granaries of the biblical patriarch Joseph, but in the end came to the conclusion, "To be short, none but the Great and Glorious God can know their story." (Andrew Beattie, Cairo: A Cultural History, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 50.)

We should not imagine that this loss of connection with the past occurred gradually. From the very beginning, the Arabs displayed absolute contempt for the culture and history of both Egypt and the other countries of the region they conquered. Immediately upon the invasion of Egypt, the caliph established a commission whose purpose was to discover and plunder the pharaohnic tombs. We know that Christian churches and monasteries -- many of the latter possessing well-stocked libraries -- suffered the same fate.

The larger monuments of Roman and pharaohnic times were similarly plundered for their cut-stone, and Saladin, the Muslim hero lionized in so much politically correct literature and art, began the process by the exploitation of the smaller Giza monuments. From these, he constructed the citadel at Cairo (between 1193 and 1198). His son and successor, Al-Aziz Uthman, went further, and made a determined effort to demolish the Great Pyramid itself. (Ibid.) He succeeded in stripping the outer casing of smooth limestone blocks from the structure (covered with historically invaluable inscriptions) but eventually canceled the project owing to its cost.

The loss of contact with the past occurred in all the lands conquered by the Muslims. Here we need only point to the fact that the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam, at the end of the eleventh century, was largely ignorant of his own country's illustrious history and imagined that the great palaces built by the Achaemenid Emperors Darius and Xerxes, as Persepolis and Susa, were raised by a genie-king named Jamshid.

What then of the much-vaunted Arab respect for learning and science that we hear so much of in modern academic literature? That the Arabs did permit some of the science and learning they encountered in the great cities of Egypt, Syria, Babylonia, and Persia to survive -- for a while -- is beyond doubt. Yet the learning they tolerated was entirely of a practical or utilitarian nature -- and this is a fact admitted even by Islamophiles such as Briffault. Thus, for a while, the Arabs patronized physicists, mathematicians, and physicians. Yet the very fact that knowledge had to plead its usefulness in order to be permitted to survive at all speaks volumes in itself. Even this utilitarian learning was soon to be snuffed out under the weight of an Islamic theocracy (promulgated by Al Ghazali in the eleventh century) that regarded the very concept of scientific laws as an affront to Allah and an infringement of Allah's freedom to act.

The crushing of all science occurred far earlier than is generally believed. As I explain in some detail in my Holy Warriors, the entire concept of an Islamic Golden Age, the three centuries between the seventh and tenth centuries during which the Muslim world enjoyed an altogether higher level of culture than Europe, is little more than a myth. The Golden Age of Islam, as archaeologists have found to their astonishment, has no archaeological confirmation.

Not a trace of the supposedly fabulous, wealthy Baghdad of Harun al Rashid in the ninth century has been found. The first Muslim remains in Baghdad, as everywhere else in the Muslim world, date from the first half of the tenth century. (A few monuments dated to the seventh century also occur, with nothing in between.) The lack of archaeological evidence is also true for Cordoba in Spain, supposedly a metropolis of half a million souls during the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries. The earliest Islamic remains for Cordoba are also dated to the mid-tenth century. All of this suggests that the appearance of Islam on the world stage has been seriously misdated and somehow placed three centuries in the past. This means, among other things, that the destruction of native cultures in the lands conquered by the Muslims occurred quicker than is generally taught and believed. Thus, Al Masudi would have displayed his complete ignorance of the pyramids and of Egyptian history not three centuries after the Muslim conquest, but only a few decades after.

Admittedly, the question of chronology is still extremely controversial. Further excavation throughout the Near East is necessary to confirm what actually happened in the three missing centuries. Nevertheless, it appears that the entire Islamic Golden Age is a phenomenon that existed only on paper and in the imagination of the storytellers of the Arabian Nights.

What, then, of the destruction of the Alexandrian Library? Were the Arabs responsible? The evidence indicates overwhelmingly that not only did the Arabs destroy the library or libraries of Alexandria, but they simultaneously put to the torch all secular learning (with the exception of the sciences) throughout the entire Middle and Near East.

Thus the Arabs, as I show in Holy Warriors, destroyed Classical civilization in Europe through an economic blockade, but in the Middle East, they destroyed it deliberately and methodically.

Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization is published by Felibri. 


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: alexandria; arab; babylonia; baghdad; cordoba; egypt; faithandphilosophy; godsgravesglyphs; herodotus; jihad; koran; libraries; library; libraryofalexandria; manetho; muslim; persia; pharaoh; pyramid; religionofpeace; saladin; syria; wikipedia
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1 posted on 05/02/2010 3:17:15 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
What, then, of the destruction of the Alexandrian Library? Were the Arabs responsible? The evidence indicates overwhelmingly that not only did the Arabs destroy the library or libraries of Alexandria, but they simultaneously put to the torch all secular learning

If true, they set the whole world back possibly a century or more.
2 posted on 05/02/2010 3:26:05 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: neverdem

For science, WIKI can at least be read and checked.

For anything else, WIKI’s about as believable as CNN.


3 posted on 05/02/2010 3:33:51 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: neverdem

An excellent summary. Worth a close reading, and not just on the Library of Alexandria.

There never was a golden age of Islamic civilization. There were merely short periods during which the Mohammedan masters squatted in ancient cities and permitted dhimmis and slaves who were formerly members of these conquered civilizations to continue producing science, art, and poetry. But not usually for very long.

Basically, they conquered a whole series of great ancient civilizations, and destroyed them all. Nothing good has ever come from Islam itself, which is a religion for bullies, rapists, and destroyers.


4 posted on 05/02/2010 3:38:40 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: neverdem

Worthwhile article


5 posted on 05/02/2010 3:41:31 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: SunkenCiv; G8 Diplomat
*PING* to archaeology meets Islam...

Cheers!

6 posted on 05/02/2010 3:43:24 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.http://www.free)
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To: GoDuke

pfl


7 posted on 05/02/2010 3:44:06 PM PDT by GoDuke
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To: Cicero

I knew more about the Alexandria from the search for Alexander’s tomb in Egypt. A true wonder of modernity in the backdrop of backward Islam.


8 posted on 05/02/2010 3:44:59 PM PDT by max americana
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To: neverdem

wikipedia is HORRENDOUS on this stuff. Almost any science or math article has insane islamic leanings. Basically everything modern came from them if you go by wikipedia.

They’re a bunch of jackasses of the worst lying kind.


9 posted on 05/02/2010 3:46:06 PM PDT by Tolsti2
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To: neverdem

I always thought the library was destroyed by Caesar....


10 posted on 05/02/2010 4:00:18 PM PDT by GenXteacher (He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart!)
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To: neverdem
Islam is as important to civilization as reverse gear is to an aircraft.
11 posted on 05/02/2010 4:01:48 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Islam is an enemy and not a religion entitled to 1st Amendment protection.)
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To: neverdem; cripplecreek

I want to encourage people to go to the following website:

http://www.assyriatimes.com/engine/modules/news/

The Assyrian Christians of Mesopotamia were the earliest Christians, converted by St. Peter circa 40AD. These were the people who developed astronomy, mathematics and engineering in the Middle East. It was their knowledge of the ancients and tecnology that the Arabs seized and claimed as their own.

Let me clarify this for everyone: the desert Bedouin tribes of the Arabian penninsula did not have a history of sophisticated architecture, mathematics, or science. The Bedouins were a pastoral people with a rich cultural literary treasure of their own, but they were not tecnologically sophisticates as were the Assyrians and Persians whose highly organized and bureaucratic civilizations were destroyed when over run by Arab Muslims.

This is not to slam or belittle Arabs or their culture. It is only that the truth is important.


12 posted on 05/02/2010 4:06:53 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: neverdem

Actually the Libray and Museum of Alexandria was pretty much gone by the time of Arab conquest but I won’t argue that the Islamics destroyed more than they saved. Baghdad had a great library but that was destroyed by the Mongols. Crusaders and later Turks destroyed the cultural legacy of Constantinople. There is blame to be shared by all.


13 posted on 05/02/2010 4:10:19 PM PDT by Eternal_Bear (`)
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To: GenXteacher

Well, it was. Oops! Cleopatra was not ammused. But, not completely and permanently. It was rebuilt. No doubt much was lost during that first major destruction. But, probably not as much as we might imagine. The larger Greco-Roman world around the Mediterranean had many libraries preserving the same texts.


14 posted on 05/02/2010 4:10:20 PM PDT by MrChips (MrChips)
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To: neverdem

It’s highly unlikely that what remained of the Library in 5th century Alexandria would be continually restocked with pagan works.


15 posted on 05/02/2010 4:10:25 PM PDT by Kleon
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To: SatinDoll

ping


16 posted on 05/02/2010 4:13:37 PM PDT by mick (Central Banker Capitalism is NOT Free Enterprise)
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To: Cicero
There never was a golden age of Islamic civilization

I have always been skeptical--it just sounded too pat. An occasional doctor here and there, or a mathematician.

The great claim to fame was an allegedly islamic University at Cordoba but Cordoba was a Roman capital long before the muzzies seized it. Anything that came out of there likely was due to the existing intellectual infrastructure of a once great city.

It is an underappreciated fact of history that the sweep of empire has largely been a great civilizing force, eg Greece, Rome, the British Empire. The Moslem empire may be a stark exception. They did more harm than good and left little but debris behind.

17 posted on 05/02/2010 4:16:37 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: neverdem

I thought this would be an article about the library in Alexandria, Virginia.


18 posted on 05/02/2010 4:18:16 PM PDT by rabidralph
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To: SatinDoll
Let me clarify this for everyone: the desert Bedouin tribes of the Arabian peninsula did not have a history of sophisticated architecture, mathematics, or science. The Bedouins were a pastoral people with a rich cultural literary treasure of their own, but they were not technologically sophisticates as were the Assyrians and Persians whose highly organized and bureaucratic civilizations were destroyed when over run by Arab Muslims.

There would have been little reason for bedouins to pursue the sciences. They were nomadic and would have had little time to waste on sciences that would have had no purpose in their lives. I suspect they had a decent working knowledge of the stars but that was useful to them.

My personal feeling is that most of the tribes of north America were in a similar position and lived pretty primitive lives as a result. The more technologically advanced tribes were the ones who lived more sedentary lives with some farming.
19 posted on 05/02/2010 4:18:57 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Cicero

Muslims are the Borg.


20 posted on 05/02/2010 4:18:58 PM PDT by Alkhin (I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. ~ Harry S Truman)
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To: Cicero
Basically, they conquered a whole series of great ancient civilizations, and destroyed them all. Nothing good has ever come from Islam itself, which is a religion for bullies, rapists, and destroyers.

As Petraca (Petrarch) said in the 14th century, "I will not be persuaded that any good can come from Arabia..."

21 posted on 05/02/2010 4:19:07 PM PDT by stripes1776 ("That if gold rust, what shall iron do?" --Chaucer)
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To: Jacquerie

Bookmark


22 posted on 05/02/2010 4:21:25 PM PDT by Publius6961 (10% of muslims, the killer murdering radicals, are "only" 140,000,000 of 'em)
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To: neverdem

Thanks and bookmark for later


23 posted on 05/02/2010 4:24:50 PM PDT by Leofl (I'm from Texas, we don't dial 9-11)
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To: neverdem
Two points made by the author seem to me at least highly debatable:

1. The classical world and its learning was still intact throughout the Mediterranean and Europe prior to Islam. Literacy was the norm.

2. Islamic civilization did not begin to produce anything until three centuries after the conquest.

#1. Classical civilization was severely messed up well prior to Mohammed. The limited civilization still hanging on in the Eastern Empire was severely damaged during and following the reign of Justinian by: J's attempt to reconquer the West, which destroyed the West while bankrupting the East; a massive plague under J, probably worse than the Black Death; repeated civil wars in the Empire; decades-long war between the Empire and Persia which utterly exhausted both combatants morally and physically, leaving both vulnerable to Muslim conquest. During this war the Persians conquered Egypt, leaving them as at least possible causes of the destruction of the library.

It is reasonable to consider the Muslim conquest of these two civilizations not so much a conquest but more an occupation of two civilizations that had already killed each other. It is highly relevant that there was apparently no resistance by the people in most areas the Muslims conquered, but only by the State and its armies. The State had quite apparently already lost its people's allegiance.

#2. This one is just weird. I've never seen anything similar proposed. We have extensive contemporaneous accounts from Byzantine and Western sources of the glories of Muslim civilization. PC doesn't go back that far. No references are provided to back up these amazing assertions. Here's a link to an article about a major mosque built starting in 670. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Uqba

The author makes some potentially valid points about the presently-accepted narrative being aimed at glorifying Islamic history so as to denigrate the West, but I think he leans too far in the other direction and falls off his horse.

24 posted on 05/02/2010 4:37:29 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: neverdem
Until the first quarter of the seventh century, Classical civilization was alive and well in the Mediterranean world. City life flourished, as did the economy and the arts. Literacy was widespread, and the works of the Classical historians, as well as the philosophers, mathematicians, and physicians, were readily available and discussed in the academies and libraries located throughout the Near East, North Africa, and Europe.

This is highly debatable. One reason the Carolingian Renaissance of the eighth and ninth centuries is so-named is because the centuries before had seen a dramatic drop in literacy and knowledge of Classical authors. Literacy was almost non-existent, and not even widespread among the clergy.

25 posted on 05/02/2010 4:49:12 PM PDT by Kleon
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To: rabidralph

Alexandria Va was named after Alexander Pope the famous librarian.
Pope never married....as in keeping with most Popes.
Pope did father a child. That child was named after some ancient Greek general whose name escapes me.
( wikipedia )


26 posted on 05/02/2010 4:49:14 PM PDT by Duffboy
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To: Cicero

The Library of Alexandria was accidently set on fire the first time by Julius Caeser. Over the centuries it decayed and by the time Timothy of Alexandria come around there wasn’t much left for the Muslims destroy.


27 posted on 05/02/2010 4:53:14 PM PDT by Boiler Plate ("Why be difficult, when with just a little more work, you can be impossible" Mom)
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To: Kleon

There were Christian cities all across North Africa. St. Augustine was Bishop of Hippo, and even the smaller cities of his time were civilized. You get some sense of it from the earlier chapters of the Confessions.

That was the case until the Muslims led by Mohammed swept across North Africa and destroyed it all. Europe was set back by tribal invasions from the North, but those peoples then gradually were converted to Christianity and became civilized. That was not the case in North Africa and the Near East, where the invading Muslims destroyed the former civilizations and they never really recovered.


28 posted on 05/02/2010 5:10:28 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: neverdem
Fatwa coming I'm sure. You just can't go around accusing the Muslims of being NAZI book burners and calling their History a Fairy Tale at best. < / s
29 posted on 05/02/2010 5:14:20 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: cripplecreek
Actually, reading over the posts I disagree with some of the more benign interpretations of Islam.
It was a plague that kick started the Renaissance. Much of those that could escape, did as the darkness spread people brought the ancient world's knowledge with them.
The final choking off of the East corresponded with the West's effort to find a new trade route around Islam to China and India.
When Christopher Columbus sailed West, he was searching for a route to the East that bypassed Islamic controlled territory. If there hadn't been that need, who knows how long it would have been until it became feasible and desirable to search for a Western route? Another hundred years?
30 posted on 05/02/2010 5:29:03 PM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local Communist or Socialist Party Chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing!)
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To: grey_whiskers; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 240B; 24Karet; ...

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Thanks grey_whiskers. Fascinating history of the library. Notes that the library was *not* burned by Julius Caesar, and in fact was around during Roman times, and was finally consigned to the flames by the Moslems:

The Vanished Library The Vanished Library
by Luciano Canfora
tr by Martin Ryle

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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31 posted on 05/02/2010 5:31:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: neverdem
...the Arabs... destroyed Classical civilization in Europe through an economic blockade, but in the Middle East, they destroyed it deliberately and methodically.

They'll do it here if they have half a chance...

"Draw Mohammad Day" - - May 20, 2010 - Draw for freedom - draw for your children's freedom.

32 posted on 05/02/2010 5:39:04 PM PDT by GOPJ ("Draw Mohammad Day" - - May 20, 2010 - Draw for freedom - draw for your children's freedom.)
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To: neverdem

Ping for later. I appreciate your posting of this...


33 posted on 05/02/2010 5:40:35 PM PDT by eleni121 (For Jesus did not give us a timid spirit , but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline)
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To: GOPJ; Cicero

http://www.ninevehsoft.com/fiorina.htm

What Arab Civilization?
This letter was sent to Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard Corporation, in response to a speech given by her on September 26, 2001.

Excerpt:

Arabs and Muslims appeared on the world scene in 630 A.D., when the armies of Muhammad began their conquest of the Middle East. We should be very clear that this was a military conquest, not a missionary enterprise, and through the use of force, authorized by a declaration of a Jihad against infidels, Arabs/Muslims were able to forcibly convert and assimilate non-Arabs and non-Mulsims into their fold. Very few indigenous communities of the Middle East survived this — primarily Assyrians, Jews, Armenians and Coptics (of Egypt).

Having conquered the Middle East, Arabs placed these communities under a Dhimmi (see the book Dhimmi, by Bat Ye’Or) system of governance, where the communities were allowed to rule themselves as religious minorities (Christians, Jews and Zoroastrian). These communities had to pay a tax (called a Jizzya in Arabic) that was, in effect, a penalty for being non-Muslim, and that was typically 80% in times of tolerance and up to 150% in times of oppression. This tax forced many of these communities to convert to Islam, as it was designed to do.

You state, “its architects designed buildings that defied gravity.” I am not sure what you are referring to, but if you are referring to domes and arches, the fundamental architectural breakthrough of using a parabolic shape instead of a spherical shape for these structures was made by the Assyrians more than 1300 years earlier, as evidenced by their archaeological record.

You state, “its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption.” The fundamental basis of modern mathematics had been laid down not hundreds but thousands of years before by Assyrians and Babylonians, who already knew of the concept of zero, of the Pythagorean Theorem, and of many, many other developments expropriated by Arabs/Muslims (see History of Babylonian Mathematics, Neugebauer).

You state, “its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease.” The overwhelming majority of these doctors (99%) were Assyrians. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries Assyrians began a systematic translation of the Greek body of knowledge into Assyrian. At first they concentrated on the religious works but then quickly moved to science, philosophy and medicine. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and many others were translated into Assyrian, and from Assyrian into Arabic. It is these Arabic translations which the Moors brought with them into Spain, and which the Spaniards translated into Latin and spread throughout Europe, thus igniting the European Renaissance.

By the sixth century A.D., Assyrians had begun exporting back to Byzantia their own works on science, philosophy and medicine. In the field of medicine, the Bakhteesho Assyrian family produced nine generations of physicians, and founded the great medical school at Gundeshapur (Iran). Also in the area of medicine, (the Assyrian) Hunayn ibn-Ishaq’s textbook on ophthalmology, written in 950 A.D., remained the authoritative source on the subject until 1800 A.D.

In the area of philosophy, the Assyrian philosopher Job of Edessa developed a physical theory of the universe, in the Assyrian language, that rivaled Aristotle’s theory, and that sought to replace matter with forces (a theory that anticipated some ideas in quantum mechanics, such as the spontaneous creation and destruction of matter that occurs in the quantum vacuum).

One of the greatest Assyrian achievements of the fourth century was the founding of the first university in the world, the School of Nisibis, which had three departments, theology, philosophy and medicine, and which became a magnet and center of intellectual development in the Middle East. The statutes of the School of Nisibis, which have been preserved, later became the model upon which the first Italian university was based (see The Statutes of the School of Nisibis, by Arthur Voobus).

When Arabs and Islam swept through the Middle East in 630 A.D., they encountered 600 years of Assyrian Christian civilization, with a rich heritage, a highly developed culture, and advanced learning institutions. It is this civilization that became the foundation of the Arab civilization.

You state, “Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.” This is a bit melodramatic. In fact, the astronomers you refer to were not Arabs but Chaldeans and Babylonians (of present day south-Iraq), who for millennia were known as astronomers and astrologers, and who were forcibly Arabized and Islamized — so rapidly that by 750 A.D. they had disappeared completely.

You state, “its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.” There is very little literature in the Arabic language that comes from this period you are referring to (the Koran is the only significant piece of literature), whereas the literary output of the Assyrians and Jews was vast. The third largest corpus of Christian writing, after Latin and Greek, is by the Assyrians in the Assyrian language (also called Syriac; see here.)

You state, “when other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.” This is a very important issue you raise, and it goes to the heart of the matter of what Arab/Islamic civilization represents. I reviewed a book titled How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs, in which the author lists the significant translators and interpreters of Greek science. Of the 22 scholars listed, 20 were Assyrians, 1 was Persian and 1 an Arab. I state at the end of my review: “The salient conclusion which can be drawn from O’Leary’s book is that Assyrians played a significant role in the shaping of the Islamic world via the Greek corpus of knowledge. If this is so, one must then ask the question, what happened to the Christian communities which made them lose this great intellectual enterprise which they had established. One can ask this same question of the Arabs. Sadly, O’Leary’s book does not answer this question, and we must look elsewhere for the answer.” I did not answer this question I posed in the review because it was not the place to answer it, but the answer is very clear, the Christian Assyrian community was drained of its population through forced conversion to Islam (by the Jizzya), and once the community had dwindled below a critical threshold, it ceased producing the scholars that were the intellectual driving force of the Islamic civilization, and that is when the so called “Golden Age of Islam” came to an end (about 850 A.D.).

Islam the religion itself was significantly molded by Assyrians and Jews (see Nestorian Influence on Islam and Hagarism: the Making of the Islamic World).

Arab/Islamic civilization is not a progressive force, it is a regressive force; it does not give impetus, it retards. The great civilization you describe was not an Arab/Muslim accomplishment, it was an Assyrian accomplishment that Arabs expropriated and subsequently lost when they drained, through the forced conversion of Assyrians to Islam, the source of the intellectual vitality that propelled it. What other Arab/Muslim civilization has risen since? What other Arab/Muslim successes can we cite?

You state, “and perhaps we can learn a lesson from his [Suleiman] example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.” In fact, the Ottomans were extremely oppressive to non-Muslims. For example, young Christian boys were forcefully taken from their families, usually at the age of 8-10, and inducted into the Janissaries, (yeniceri in Turkish) where they were Islamized and made to fight for the Ottoman state. What literary, artistic or scientific achievements of the Ottomans can we point to? We can, on the other hand, point to the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians and 400,000 Greeks in World War One by the Kemalist “Young Turk” government. This is the true face of Islam.

Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it (as the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan were destroyed, as Persepolis was destroyed by the Ayotollah Khomeini). This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record. If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is and was Arab, as is the case of most of the Arab “accomplishments” you cited in your speech. For example, Arab history texts in the Middle East teach that Assyrians were Arabs, a fact that no reputable scholar would assert, and that no living Assyrian would accept. Assyrians first settled Nineveh, one of the major Assyrian cities, in 5000 B.C., which is 5630 years before Arabs came into that area. Even the word ‘Arab’ is an Assyrian word, meaning “Westerner” (the first written reference to Arabs was by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, 800 B.C., in which he tells of conquering the “ma’rabayeh” — Westerners. See The Might That Was Assyria, by H. W. F. Saggs).


34 posted on 05/02/2010 5:58:14 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (fair dinkum!)
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To: neverdem

An equal tragedy was the Mongol destruction of the Great Library of Baghdad, where the waters of the Tigris are said to have run black with ink from the destroyed books and red with the blood of the scholars butchered.


35 posted on 05/02/2010 6:02:07 PM PDT by Androcles (All your typos are belong to us)
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To: Cicero

That has been my take on this Cult of Death for the past 50 years.

I became aware of Islam at age 18, and following a fairly extensive personal research project concluded that Islam was not a religion — it is a death cult.

I have never trusted, and will never trust a Moslem.


36 posted on 05/02/2010 6:04:09 PM PDT by Taxman (So that the beautiful pressure does not diminish!)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thank you for the ping(s) SC. This is extremely interesting; what stood out to me was that the ‘golden age of islam’ is something that the potus has touted since his own campaign started. I’m gathering that his belief system includes readings such as ‘The Making of Humanity’.

Something I’m completely unlearned in is arab/muslim/islamic history but what I’ve learned so far is that they are/were absolute barbarians and liars and thieves; stealing from other cultures and laying claim to advancements they had nothing to do with.

This author best be careful or he will end up on a muslim’s ‘list’.


37 posted on 05/02/2010 6:07:32 PM PDT by Outlaw Woman (Control the American people? Herding cats would be easier.)
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To: Fred Nerks

Thanks. I was aware of the contributions of various ancient civilizations, including Egypt and Persia, but I don’t think I understood the importance of the Assyrians.


38 posted on 05/02/2010 6:08:20 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: neverdem
Here is the only contemporary account of the Muslim conquest of Egypt:



He only covers it in the last few pages, but it's not a pretty picture. Let me see if I can find a link online.
39 posted on 05/02/2010 6:09:40 PM PDT by Antoninus (It's a degenerate society where dogs have more legal rights than unborn babies.)
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To: GOPJ; SunkenCiv; neverdem
"Draw Mohammad Day" - - May 20, 2010 - Draw for freedom - draw for your children's freedom.

The Islamites destroy all they touch. There is a reason they were put in a sandbox.

40 posted on 05/02/2010 6:14:51 PM PDT by bigheadfred (If I've said it once, I've said it a million times...)
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To: Antoninus
Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu

Scroll all the way down to the bottom. Nothing about the library, but a few tidbits about the ruinous taxation the Muslims imposed on the Egyptians.

Coincidentally, the Christian Egyptians put up little resistance to the Muslim invasion because they were too busy arguing with each other....
41 posted on 05/02/2010 6:18:57 PM PDT by Antoninus (It's a degenerate society where dogs have more legal rights than unborn babies.)
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To: Eternal_Bear
Crusaders and later Turks destroyed the cultural legacy of Constantinople.

Wasn't Constantinople the capitol of the Roman empire at one time?


42 posted on 05/02/2010 6:24:51 PM PDT by rdb3 (The mouth is the exhaust pipe of the heart.)
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To: neverdem
This great repository was barbarously razed in the Middle Ages.

Actually, no. It was destroyed by fire during fighting in the city between the Roman Emperor Aurelian (the man for whom Orleans and New Orleans are named) and Queen Zenobia of Palmyra in the 270's AD. If there was anything left of the three libraries in 391 AD, then the Coptic bishop will have destroyed them when he obtained permission from the court of Theodosius I to destroy the pagan temples of Alexandria. There were three libraries in Alexandria: the royal library and two others attached to temples of Serapis and Caesarion, the son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. Historical accounts of the destruction in 391 AD make no mention of libraries or what happened to them.

Best bet is that the royal library was destroyed in the 3rd century, and the surviving temple libraries mined out for the establishment of the library at Constantinople some 40 or 50 years later, so that there was no longer a "library of Alexandria" in the time of Theodosius.

Umar's destruction of Alexandrian libraries was, according to Bernard Lewis and other historians, propaganda generated by Saladin to cover his destruction of "heretical" Islamic texts, i.e. to make his own action seem less extreme, and precedented.

43 posted on 05/02/2010 6:36:12 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem

Thank you for posting this article. It seems to be better than the ‘Thinker’s usual material. I shall have to look for more from this O’Neill.


44 posted on 05/02/2010 6:43:28 PM PDT by Brass Lamp
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To: Outlaw Woman

Well put.


45 posted on 05/02/2010 6:44:00 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: Sherman Logan
1. The classical world and its learning was still intact throughout the Mediterranean and Europe prior to Islam. Literacy was the norm.

Disagree. The cities of the West were much decayed, their nobility fled into the countryside with their wealth, to hide it from the imperial tax collectors and the trading class taxed into near-nonexistence. The high-cultural appurtenances of civilization will have suffered disproportionately, surviving mostly as private libraries and Kunstzimmer kept by rusticating sub-Roman nobles like Sidonius Apollinaris and other remnants of the plutocratic Late Roman senatorial class.

Viticulture and olive orchards continued in the early Dark Ages, but so to say, is not to say that they flourished, or that they enjoyed anything like the prosperity and security of 300 years before, much less the 200 years before that; and tellingly, land-use patterns in sub-Roman Spain show a marked shift toward locations near water, indicating possibly a need to escape up or down rivers at a moment's notice. Similar land-use changes are seen in Britain, where some villas continued to be "occupied" -- but by task-oriented activities, while actual occupation (as in, I live and sleep here) moved to hilltop settlements.

46 posted on 05/02/2010 6:44:54 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Boiler Plate
The Library of Alexandria was accidently set on fire the first time by Julius Caeser.

Wiki says that scholars incline to the view that the books destroyed during the "Alexandrian War" were actually commercial account-books and such, and that the great collection in the Ptolemaic palace wasn't threatened, being in another area from the fire.

47 posted on 05/02/2010 6:47:21 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Fred Nerks
Assyrians first settled Nineveh, one of the major Assyrian cities, in 5000 B.C., which is 5630 years before Arabs came into that area.

Uh, no. The Amoritic Subiru (the original name for the Assyrians) appeared in the second Semitic migration out of Arabia during the middle third millennium BC. Their cousins the Habiru we call Hebrews; as the Bible informs us, the Hebrews settled in Abraham's birthplace, Ur "of the Chaldees" (actually of the Sumerians), and thereabouts.

The Amorites were called by their Semitic bretheren, the Akkadian-speaking Babylonians who arrived a few hundred years earlier in the first wave, "the hateful Amurru". (Thus the Cambridge Ancient History.)

48 posted on 05/02/2010 6:54:22 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Antoninus
When the Arabs got to Cyprus, part of their "toleration" involved reducing the island's population precipitously ..... with the edge of the sword.

Thus a recent lecturer I heard on the archaeological excavation projects of Cyprus and their ties to historical records.

49 posted on 05/02/2010 6:59:25 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Sherman Logan
One of my post graduate professors of Renaissance studies (head of the department, these days) spared no harsh language explaining that all material written under the influence of "Orientalist Nostalgia" was highly suspect (he blamed Richard Burton) and that ideas like Briffault's had no currency within modern (post-post modern?) academia. He was an arch-leftist who was so PC he once tried to rally the students to protest a speaking engagement by Larry Summers, of all people, because his position on women's interest in the sciences was to unPC.
50 posted on 05/02/2010 7:03:32 PM PDT by Brass Lamp
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