The Bibliotheke or Library of Alexandria

Michael Lahanas

Η Βιβλιοθήκη της Αλεξάνδρειας

Die Bibliothek von Alexandrien

...I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. Jorge Luis Borges, Poema de los Dones, from El Hacedor

The Library burning in the film Caesar and Cleopatra

The Library of Alexandria was a place where most of the written knowledge of antiquity was collected and stored. Interesting is that we know almost nothing about the Library, when was it exactly founded, who were the directors and what was their work, how many "books" were collected, how long it was open, who could use the library, etc. etc..

Historians have different opinions of whether the so called catastrophic events related to the Library of Alexandria had really an influence in the development of science and technology. The question is how many books were destroyed and did copies of these books not exist in other libraries? How large was the number of books in the Library. Even with the upper estimates it would be nothing in comparison to the number of written books in our times. But is the number that matters? I find the discussion of the number of books of the Library by scholars useless. A single book can be more important than milions of “cooking books” that fill our modern libraries. What we probably certainly can say is that only a small fraction of ancient literature survived. It would require a financial support similar to that of the Ptolemies to collect, preserve and produce new copies of the ancient books.

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. Many works were later destroyed in a fire. For example from the 90 plays of the sources for these events are discussed and they are considered as not supported. Works such as that of Gibbon's “The Decline and the Fall of the Roman empire” seems to be responsible for the opinion that Christianity is against science and the story of the Library of Alexandria is an example for this as also the history of

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece