Alexandria’s magnificent library

Alexandria’s magnificent library is a treasure trove of knowledge.

Alexandria’s magnificent library was the biggest in the ancient world, with over a million volumes.

When Alexander the Great constructed Alexandria in the 4th century BC, it became the cultural and intellectual hub of the Hellenistic world, and it has remained so to this day.

Plutarch, the Greek historian, recounted the story of the founding of the city of Alexandria, saying, “They say that once he had conquered Egypt, he desired to found a city that would be large and populous and name it after his name; and he had almost finished measuring and delimiting the site, according to the advice of the architects.”

Upon Alexander’s death, the first two Ptolemies seized control of the city and worked tirelessly to transform it into the most beautiful capital of their country, while also elevating it to the most dazzling center of scientific and cultural activity in all of Egypt.

The Library was created by Ptolemy I Sóter, and the Museum was erected by his son Ptolemy II Filadelfo, who was the most famous institution in the city at the time.

The Lighthouse, the Royal Palace, the Gymnasium, the Serapio, and the royal tombs are just a few of the treasures that can be seen in Alexandria (the Soma).

Alexandria's magnificent library
The burning of the library at Alexandria has gone down in the annals of history.

This institution, which housed some of the most distinguished intellectuals of the period from all disciplines of science and literature, was known as the Library because it was the most well-known and representative edifice of the Museum.

There was documented material on a broad variety of disciplines on its shelves, which included more than 500,000 papyrus rolls, including science, literature, philosophy, and so on.

Aristophanes of Byzantium and Apollonius Pantograph were among the most illustrious and wise men of the world who held positions in the Museum of Antiquities, including Zenodotus of Ephesus, who was among the first to organize productions of Greek theatre and Homeric songs, Apollonius of Rhodes, Eratosthenes, Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace, among others.

The character of Callimachus of Cyrene stands out among these librarians since he was commissioned by Ptolemy II to categorize the Library’s collection and was afterward executed.

The so-called Pinakes (in ancient Greek, v “tables”), which were a collection of “tables of eminent persons in each branch of knowledge together with a list of their works,” were created in response to this request by Callimachus (considered by some to be “the father of librarians,” and allowed the great Library of Alexandria to classify and catalog its bibliographic collection, which is still in existence today.

Alexandria's magnificent library
The magnificent ancient library of Alexandria collected all the Greek books of its time and also had quite a significant connection.

A total of more than 120 rolls or tables comprised this “catalog,” which categorized the whole documentary collection in great detail and was organized by subject.

We do not know the exact location of these Pinakes since they were not preserved, but we are aware of their presence because they were mentioned by ancient writers.

The library attracted scholars from all fields of study, who studied great thinkers such as Euclid, who formulated his laws of Geometry, Archimedes, who discovered the principle of hydrostatic thrust, Hipparchus, who explained Trigonometry to everyone and defended the geocentric view of the Universe, Eratosthenes, who drew his map of the inhabited world in Geography, the astronomers Timócaris and Aristilo, and many others.

The Beginning of the Decline

In the year 48 B.C., according to the most authoritative historians, more than forty thousand rolls of parchment from the library were destroyed in the “first fire,” which was provoked by the military tactics of Julius Caesar and destroyed the whole library.

Later, Mark Anthony had it reconstructed and supplemented with 200,000 books from Pergamon, which he purchased from the library.

During the 4th century A.D., Bishop Theophilus I will rush into the building with a mob of Christians, plundering and setting fire to it, destroying pearls of old knowledge in every corner.

Alexandria's magnificent library
Library of Alexandria, the most famous library of Classical antiquity.

Despite all of its trials and tribulations, it maintained its position as a major city and intellectual center until the Arab conquest of the city in 640 AD, when the city was overrun by a Muslim force under the leadership of Amr ibn al-As.

And it was this general, according to legend, who would have ordered the destruction of the library on the instructions of Caliph Omar if the order had been followed.

After nearly 1600 years, the international community, through the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), funded a project for the reconstruction of the ancient library of Alexandria, which was reborn in October 2002 to restore the spirit of the original Alexandria Library and is located in the same location where the great thinkers of antiquity passed through.

The new library, which is shaped like an angled disc or a sundial, was designed by the Norwegian company Snohetta and opened in September.

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