Lighthouse of Alexandria

 

Library of Alexandria

In the shadow of the Lighthouse of Alexandria stood the Library of Alexandria, a center of knowledge of the time.

The Ancient Library of Alexandria is the great library built around the 3rd century BC, when successors of Alexander wanted to make the city the commercial and intellectual capital of the world. It vanished almost 1600 years ago.

The library "arranged" for passing ships to be hijacked and relieved of any manu-scripts on board and legend has it that its backers' avowed aim was to own all the books in the world.

Soon the library would contain more than 700,000 papyrus scrolls and secured a reputation attracting scholars from all over the ancient world.

It is said that Archimedes worked at the library and that Herophilus carried out the first dissection of a human body there. Hipparchus is thought to have begun the science of astronomy there while it is believed that geometry and the idea of cataloguing were also developed at the library, by Euclid and Callimachus respectively.

Disaster struck in 48BC when part of the library was demolished by fire during Julius Caesar's occupation of the city. Soon after, Cleopatra had the library rebuilt with the help of her lover Mark Antony, who is said to have provided 200,000 manuscripts with which to rebuild the collection.

More than three centuries later, tragedy revisited, again in the form of fire, when it was destroyed during a civil war, under the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian.

However, some historians insist that the library was not finally destroyed until the seventh century, when an Arab general ordered that the manuscripts be burned to heat the public baths.

Some believe that the loss of the Library of Alexandria set back the development of science and technology by hundreds of years.

Engraving of Ancient Lybrary of Alexandria
Engraving of Ancient Library of Alexandria

Lighthouse of Alexandria
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Pharos of Alexandria