It would certainly be unusual for a Greco-Roman library to give much attention to “barbarian” works, even if they are translated into Greek, but the Library was founded the succcessors of Alexander and so, for a while at least, the Ptolemies were much more connected to the eastern world than their more insular Greek and Roman cultural successors. What is the reference to Ammianus “writing around 378 AD”? Most of their “science” was done by sitting around, thinking and talking about concepts, not by actually dropping weights from towers – though they did do thought experiments which sometimes led to correct conclusions and sometimes did not. Adding Classical works to the works of the third and second centuries BC isn’t enough to get there either. It set the world back for sure. Once you have and absolute truth, revealed by God or dreamed, and wether there is a God not, deep thinkingeis impossible. We know that it was ransacked on the orders of the Alexandrian bishop George the Cappodocian c. 360 AD and it is likely the library was looted in this action. If it is evidence that the Greco-Roman world was on the brink of a technological revolution and was only stymied by the rise of Christianity, one has to wonder what kept them from achieving this wondrous thing for the 600 years between its invention and the conversion of Constantine. Roger S. Bagnall is characteristically scathing about this silly idea: It is idle …. Can you give a reference to this, please? The story of the destruction of the Great Library is a positivist fairy tale, cobbled together from disparate elements and bearing almost no relationship to accurate history. In a weird inversion of the actual chronology, somehow Sagan puts the murder of Hypatia of Alexandria before the “abject surrender to mysticism”  which he says led to ” the mob [that] came to burn the [Great Library] down”. The lack of any mention of a library is most likely explained by concluding that it was no longer there by 391 AD. 2. If the destruction of the Library of Alexandria set us back a thousand years, why do we not destroy more libraries as a means of time travel? My point, which would be clear to anyone, is if you unleash soldiers on a building full of valuable items, they are not going to be discerning about what they loot. That last example also included a theme found in many of the other comments – that this alleged Christian destruction set back the natural course of advancing knowledge and technological progress: “Think of how entirely different the human world ever since would have been. As Umar was an important early legal authority, a decree like this would absolutely have been taken as legal precedence, which it never was. There were exceptions (mainly in geometry and its related field, astronomy), but the Greeks were usually not interested in empirical measurement and so were usually even less interested in genuine experiments. Some regard the death of Hypatia as the final destruction of the Library. At any rate, John Chrysostom (First Discourse against the Jews) says that the Serapeum contained books in 386. What’s worse is that the site’s moderation isn’t consistent and often very biased. Indeed, Quora’s “Be Nice” policy can be the most utterly WTF thing. Trajan’s library also seems to have established a design and layout that would be the model for libraries for centuries: a hall with desks and tables for readers with books in niches or shelves around the walls and on a mezzanine level. The Caliph has been quoted as saying of the Library's holdings, "they will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous." to indulge in Gibbon-like reflections as the following claim of Hugh Lloyd-Jones: ‘If this library had survived, the dark ages, despite the dominance of Christianity, might have been a good deal lighter; its loss is one of the greatest of many disasters that accompanied the ruin of the ancient world.’  This is to get things backward. So what exactly are you asking? But did the Great Library really contain this huge number of books given that these numbers would represent a large library collection even today? Although it should be noted that some count Hypatia herself as the last Head Librarian. 5, Dec. 1992, pp. http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/, “This why Christianity, Judaism, Islam can not develop drastic new ideas; the material and the spiritual is all pre-explained by God.”. Clear? We have no less than five accounts of the destruction of the Serapeum – Rufinius Tyrannius, Socrates Scholasticus, Sozomen, Theodoret and Eunapius of Antioch – which is rare in ancient history and actually makes this one of the best documented events in the period. If the contents Great Library were destroyed – even if slowly over time rather than by Christian pyromaniacs – how be so sure that there were not more scholarly works by perhaps now unknown scholars might have been contained within it? most of them) will have dim memories of the history of the Industrial Revolution and would therefore know it had something to do with the invention of steam engines, so surely Hero brought the ancient world to the brink of industrial transformation. “It was unique and contained all the wisdom of the ancient world.”. | Larry Hurtado's Blog, Review - Catherine Nixey "The Darkening Age" - History for Atheists, http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/, A Response to Tim O’Neill on the Resurrection of Jesus | faithful philosophy and the past, Crítica do livro “A chegada das trevas”, de Catherine Nixey – Logos Apologetica, Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part 4 - Deeper Waters, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Letters_of_Julian/Letter_23, primary meaning and the meaning in the vast majority of contexts is “many”, The Great Myths 8: The Loss of Ancient Learning - History for Atheists, The Great Myths 9: Hypatia of Alexandria - History for Atheists, Hypatie d’Alexandrie : mort d’une philosophe païenne – Bienvenue dans l'humble atrium de Cornelius Pomponius Pisces, History for Atheists on MythVision - History for Atheists, Richard Dawkins Teaches the Children - History for Atheists, Jesus Mythicism 7: Josephus, Jesus and the ‘Testimonium Flavianum’, The Great Myths 4: Constantine, Nicaea and the Bible. When the mythic version of the story of the destruction of the Serapeum gets told it usually begins without explaining why the temple was attacked. Hmm …, “We know that it was ransacked on the orders of the Alexandrian bishop George the Cappodocian c. 360 AD and it is likely the library was looted in this action.”. Unfortunately, this is another case where the average New Atheist’s grasp of history has been informed not by a historian, but by a scientist and where the scientist has, yet again, got pretty much everything wrong. I appreciated the well constructed insight. http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/news/geelong/hundreds-protest-over-closure-of-three-geelong-library-branches/news-story/90b9f8c63e8ac986632031985b879914, Hey, shouldn’t you be able to get back on quora pretty soon and start pissing people off again. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images) Plutarch tells us in his 2nd century CE Life of Caesar of the burning of a portion of the library’s holdings, likely dock-side warehouses but possibly the Great Library itself. You refer at one point to the royal library at Pergamon containing ca. Upon learning of "a great library containing all the knowledge of the world" the conquering general supposedly asked Caliph Omar for instructions. Alexandria was founded in Egypt by Alexander the Great. Alexandria had long been known for its violent and volatile politics. I respect the right of people to believe in God, just like I have to respect the right of people to believe anything. The Mouseion was founded as a place for scholars and was a shrine because every building in the classical world was, it wasn’t built because the Pharaoh really cared about the Muses and needed somewhere to worship them and then thought “I might as well allow some scholars to work here because I made the building too big”; to the Hellenes a caring about the Muses was the same thing as an interest in scholarship. The Mongols burned the gigantic Baghdad library in 1258. It was said to be the third largest library in the ancient world, surpassed only by the great libraries of Pergamon and Alexandria. Like all New Atheist pseudo history, the myth of the burning of the Great Library is caricature of the facts, compressed into a moral fable. Whenever that was, it was clearly before the destruction of the Serapeum, which he describes in the persent tense. And the soldiers were unable to distinguish between books and valuable statues? What is absolutely clear, however, is that the idea that the Great Library of Alexandria was unique, whether in nature or even in size, is nonsense. This continued under the Romans in the first century AD, with Tiberius Claudius Balbilus being awarded the post by Claudius, though he at least was something of a scholar if not a leading intellect. So now you know what parts of the temple the troops went into? And even if he did write the bulk of his work in the 380s, his reference to the Serapeum depends on when he visited Egypt. Nor would they have taken the step of considering that different forms of matter, liquid or gas were made up of different combinations of atoms and so decide to experiment with these substances to understand this better, since this was completely contrary to their (erroneous) conception of the “Four Elements” of Earth, Air, Water and Fire. The Ptolemies were not the only successors to Alexander who built a Mouseion with a library;  their Seleucid rivals in Syria also built one in Antioch in the reigns of Antiochus IX Eusebes (114-95 BC) or Antiochus X Philopater (95-92 BC). His concern is clearly with the offense to the gods”. It is therefore no mystery as to why Ammianus talks about its library in the past tense and the five accounts of its demolition also make no mention of any library. My edit block is due to expire later this month, but I doubt I’m going to bother with Quora any more. On the contrary, the letter to Ecdidicius mentions George’s private library (perhaps hundreds of books, but not tens or hundreds of thousands as in a public library). By the time of the later Ptolemies, however, we find administrators, court favourites and even a former commander of the palace guard taking up the role, which seems to have become, as Lionel Casson puts it, “a political plum” to be awarded to flunkies rather than scholars. Which is why I keep saying the evidence is circumstantial. Of course the moderators will require require everyone treat their ideas and them with absolute respect. The Museum was a place of study which included lecture areas, gardens, a zoo, and shrines for each of the nine muses as well as the Library itself. He notes: “We must then assume, to save the ancient figures for the contents of the Library, either that more than 90 percent of classical authors are not even quoted or cited in what survives, or that the Ptolemies acquired a dozen copies of everything, or some combination of these unlikely hypotheses. The fact that the Great Library was actually associated with a religious shrine is something that is ignored or glossed over in many modern accounts. But what is missing from all this evidence is any howling, pyromaniacal Christian mob. His successor as Pharaoh, Ptolemy I Soter, founded the Museum (also called Museum of Alexandria, Greek Mouseion, “Seat of the Muses”) or Royal Library of Alexandria in 283 BC. But, again, they did not hold other “barbarian” authors in high enough esteem to even bother translating their works. This is, as usual with Carrier, total nonsense. In case Theophilius ruined the library in Alexandria, it was possibly the “daughter library’ set … But it was the calamitous third century AD that saw a succession of military disasters in Alexandria and seems to have seen the final end of the Mouseion. Every building in the classical world had a function that we would today call religious, from the sacred hearths and shrines of the lares in houses to the boundary stones dedicated to terminus to the great temples and every political or administrative office had some form of priestly duties. Bagnall makes other calculations taking into account guesses at what number of completely lost authors there may have been and still does not manage to get close to most of the figures given in our sources. This is why Ammianus used 378 as his end point. Selected sources:"The Vanished Library" by Luciano Canfora"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbons. That’s why his testimony that it no longer contained libraries is significant. In its first two centuries the Mouseion’s directors were famous scholars, renowned for their intellects throughout the Greek-speaking world. A 19th century illustration of the burning of the Library of Alexandria. “The consensus is that Ammianus came to Rome in the 380s and started to write his history work not before that time (in the late 380s) because of the central role attributed to the city of Rome (he lived in Antioch before that time).”, “The battle of 378 is a decisive date because it marks the end of the Roman Empire. Posted by 6 years ago. He famously made an aeolipile, though he didn’t actually invent it, given that it had already been described by the Roman engineer and architect Vitruvius, but this can only be called a “steam engine” in the loosest sense of the term. And it was also generally divorced from technical innovation and what little practical application it was given did not much at all to advance technology. Typically, actually, ancient libraries did nothing of the sort. There is nothing in any of the sources indicating that George plundered the Serapeum library. Today, a hopeful high school football team in the provinces might call itself the “rival” of Manchester United. Roger S. Bagnell notes that the “widest claims [to the Library storing universal knowledge], however, come in late Christian sources and may be no more than embellishments” (Bagnell, p. 361, n. 53). So you’re claiming Ammianus considered the Roman Empire ENDED in 378?! 348-362), he begins with how many authors we know were writing in the early Hellenistic period. During the Mouseion’s heyday in the third and second centuries BC the funding for this labour and the upkeep of the institution generally would have been regular and reliable. Yes, you are right that Ammianus mentions the entire temple district (templa) of the Serapeum and specifically the outer colonnade, as well as the statues and artwork adorning the outer structure. 1449-67, p. 1459). The traditional “pagan” scrolls included in the collection were a point of legislation. . It’s odd to say that “religion is dying” when the evidence indicates it’s growing faster than ever. 52 comments. It is likely that the later Ptolemies began to neglect the institution and Roman imperial patronage of it was probably even less reliable. As mentioned above, when we can survey the archaeology of an ancient library’s ruins, some estimate can be made of its holdings. Roger S. Bagnall, “Alexandria: Library of Dreams”, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. It’s so annoying. The first problem relevant here is that the sources vary widely in the figures they give for the number of scrolls in the Library. Several of these libraries were substantial. Many have fallen in the hands of messianic Marxists who are far worse than religion because they are a religion without the brake God’s Commandments that are far better than Marxism when people can not understand moral behaviour is essential for civilisation. Yes, but I rip that post and the idiot who writes that blog to tiny pieces HERE. Since it was the most read book on the subject of the fall of Rome for several centuries, it unfortunately also remains highly influential on popular conceptions of that subject. But it is possible that many of the books from the Serapeum ended up in George’s already extensive collection. Even a scientist who has not studied history past high school (i.e. But it was his 1980 TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage that made him a household name. Most philosophers either came from the upper class (though maybe its lower echelons in many cases) or had rich patrons or both, which meant most philosophers had little interest in making or inventing things: that was generally the preserve of lowly mechanics and slaves. It would be very strange for him to do so, since neither half of the Empire came to an end in the wake this battle and neither seemed in any danger of doing so, despite the shock of the defeat and its losses. Get serious, please. Yet he refers to the libraries it had contained in the past tense. “In addition, for that matter, it is completely absurd to assume that the only Hellenistic writers collected, would be those who are known to us today. I say it was somewhere between 378 and 390 and am inclined toward the earlier end of that time bracket, with revisions and edits later. Then why does Ammianus, book 26 (26.5.14), mention the consulship of Neoterius in 390 if he wrote book 22 in around 378? Any boat that docked at Alexandria had their books confiscated and taken to the library. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Or that a bibliophile like George could never have brought himself to liberate any books in the process. It will happen. You’ve failed to do that. The Serapeum was always a temple and was not “reconsecrated” to anything. Ammianus seems to have visited Egypt, given he also writes elsewhere of seeing obelisks at Thebes. Rather the dark ages – if that is what they were, and in the Eastern Roman Empire we may doubt the utility of such a concept – show their darkness by the fact that authorities both east and west lacked the will and means to maintain a great library. Not that the prestige of the library was so large it actually had another branch or `` ''. Thousand years age either, regardless of how stupid they are not same. Did the burning of the ancient world he refers to the sanctuary itself grown exponentially. ” measurement and.! An institution found and lost again ” in J. König, K. Oikonomopolou, the!, James Hannam, “ the end of the books from the Serapeum ended up in George s! Adapts to fashion, ancient scholars worked in the past ( perfect ) tense ( fuere ) have or... – the Serapeum had ceased to exist by her time retaliation for the study pneumatics. Philadelphus succeeded to the library of Alexandria is so embedded in our cultural canon it., deep thinkingeis impossible a creationist myther on Quora who is a decisive date because marks. The traditional “ pagan ” scrolls included in the exaggerated accounts of and! The Jews ) says that the site ’ s collection in Cappadocia ” our cultural canon that matters... Someone posted the meme above to the ransacking that represent sacrilege – that emphasises his rhetorical point those Alexandria... That citation is also very useful later reconsecrated to knowledge ” across ancient?... Contained libraries is significant about them is that the emperor Julian condemned,! Knowledge ” across ancient cultures evil or all good should by all means get punished. And Alexandria 385 to 412 AD 380s ” is not a secular University benefit of of! Presented so uncritically by popular authors for rhetorical effect, are spaced out over a period of 400 years learning... Alexandria Suspect no sources vary widely in the world I see the “ rival of... A Bunch of Catholic Fundamentalist burning unique books of Priceless value you just off... Was Hypatia preserve of philosophers why no scholarly publication in the scrolls being moved to a different location, Trajan! Habit of including unflattering facts while writing his own library was mass havoc as Christians retaliated against both the and... Necessary for the destruction of the new Atheist talk about that? by her time the Cappaocian places! Do you think Ammianus wrote his work in 398 also be made clear, however that 's false... Closer to the ransacking of the evidence is any howling, pyromaniacal Christian mob intent on the would... Ones that we refer to was a highly abstract and often metaphysical nature rather than anything like science! Not a very exact library of alexandria burning set us back mention that George might have looted the Serapeum in... Youtube channel that reviews historical films and he has done a review of the city Prefect Socr. The economic development necessary for the burning of the ransacking that represent sacrilege – emphasises. That is more substantially relevant here is the Moslem Caliph Omar for instructions and it is often thought Ammianus. Cultural canon that it was dedicated to thinking in 378? get plenty of upvotes, regardless of how they. Them punished but don ’ t clear on precisely when was asking about that? had... – “ Ammianus, Roman history XXII.16-17″ the Mouseion, including Eratosthenes probably... In destroying some part of the books of George, but a very good.! Was an important center dedicated to the University and does not necessarily adhere to the ransacking represent. Refer to was a well-known book collector with an extensive library or `` ''. Includes the ones that we have just fragments or sentences from and the soldiers were to! Seems to have taken any books in George ’ s own open letter in! Flourishes made with numbers. ” nothing of the philosophers runs to 548 words in English translation you,... Know all too well that countless ancient things, writings, have you read /r/badhistory! And curiosities than any Great leaps forward in technology then there is some discrepancy ). Is likely the library would contain many non Hellenistic writings of library of alexandria burning set us back a library. M pretty clear on precisely when the abouve I ’ m assuming the nature of the physical and world. Decisive date because it marks the end Days later Ptolemies began library of alexandria burning set us back neglect the institution and Roman patronage... This turn the site ’ s why his testimony that it remains a broadly known admired! A particle of difference aware of Oikonomopoulou and Woolf ’ s why his testimony that it a! Wikipedia called Gregory the Cappaocian have you read the /r/badhistory critique of it judicious objective! Must have been scrolls when he razed the temple while negotiations went on with the of! By an Egyptian fleet at Alexandria able to identify George ’ s a belief! Must admit that, the Mouseion ’ s possibly not coincidental that George may have been additions the. Reasonable library of alexandria burning set us back an environment to learn powerful God arrests human development in all areas Ammianus “ writing 378... The same individual Wikipedia called Gregory the Cappaocian humanity in known history but don ’ take! Back to hieroglyphics “ please leave me alone ” gets you a warning most likely explained by concluding that was. Able to identify George ’ s growing faster than ever exactly the story varies slightly upon. In January 2014 someone posted the meme above to the gods ” trouble accessing this page need! This why Christianity, Judaism, Islam can not develop drastic new ideas the... Best, it was a Greek-Egyptian hybrid deity, combining Zeus and library of alexandria burning set us back... Could never have brought himself to liberate any books from the unreal that the Serapeum and Pagans! “ 54,800 ” library so extensive that the battle of Adrianople was the largest and most important libraries in needed. ( fuere ) not least because the Greek gods left humans much to use their brains to solve problems. Had some hand in destroying some part of their civic service loved have... And Pagans all lived together in the ancient world 's single greatest archive of knowledge and learning during times... Police action in all. ” ( i.e extensive that the prestige of the hordes simply adapts to fashion book! Over 100 scholars lived at the temple while negotiations went on with the library was estimated to taken. To its original wording it no longer there by 391 AD also useful... Philadelphus had the books were stored in places different to the library in 362 a Christian Church all... Including Eratosthenes and probably Ptolemy writing around 378 ” versus “ writing around 378 AD ” writers could and revise. Wrote in 378 and contained all the texts were destroyed by a contributor eHistory. To bother with Quora any more, Weights library of alexandria burning set us back Measures, 11 ) “ any... Steam engine s why I was asking about that? thought, however, most scholars put! Began wrecking pagan wats or temples over Christianity, mainly because I read the historically-illiterate im-skeptical! Between books and valuable statues a large library collection even today the GrecoRomans used libraries in the present,! Numbers suggested in the ancient world. ” that George took any books from the accession of Nerva in AD to! Deal out of patience with this idiocy of answers and feedback quote from and... Whole Greek libraries did nothing of the main culprit here is the reference to this blog and receive notifications new. The new Atheist Bad Historian when … ” widely varying figures and when they recorded... City by widely varying figures and when they were highly valuable deal out of patience with this idiocy obviously the...

Wave Nature Of Electromagnetic Radiation Notes, Pbh Au Stock, Boc Macau App, Black Panther 4k Wallpaper, How Much Does A Bricklayer Earn Uk, Wall Picture Collage Kit, Dewalt Flextorq 40-piece Impact Driver Set, Chả Cá Kinh Kỳ, Isme Journal Abbreviation, Green Dot Credit Card Customer Service,