How much was lost when the Library of Alexandria burned?
According to a medieval legend the library of alexandria was destroyed on the orders of. the caliph omar there were so many books the only way. to dispose of them was to use them as fuel in the city's 4 000 bath houses so into the furnaces they went day after day week after week the wit and wisdom of a thousand years went up in smoke and bits of blackened. books raining on the weary rooftops. all this never actually happened the library's site has never. been discovered and is unlikely to ever emerge from its concrete tomb beneath the modern metropolis. i hope to at least contextualize the significance of the library’s loss in this video but in this video i hope that i have at least provided some context for the loss of this great library of the ancient greek world. i will end with a quote from alexander the great about the library and the wisdom of the scholars who worked in the library under the early ptolemies. i'll end with another quote from ptolemy the first about the great library and how it helped to establish the standard text of the homeric poems. I hope that this video has helped you understand some of the questions that surround the library that can never be answered but i will try to give you a sense of its significance in the context of the history of the world. I will end the video with an image of the Library of Alexandria and the meaning that it holds for us today. I love the library so much that i can't bear to think of it without a glass of wine. i love it so much I can't imagine what it would be like to live in it. i miss it. I miss the library. I want to go back to it. It was in thelibrary that the circumference. of the earth was first calculated that the standardText of the Homeric poems were established and fittingly that the first library catalog was devised like tenured academics in every. era the scholars of thelibrary also spent a great deal of time and energy. attacking one another on points of pedentry a habit that earned the museum the nickname. bird cage of the muses the library declined under the later p tolemies who had. less money and less inclination to spend that money on squabbling scholars but it wasn't until 48 bc and at the hands of julius caesar that the library suffered its first. great disaster. when caesar ordered the ships burnt to keep. them out of enemy hands that the fire spread from the docks to the adjacent. palace quarter according to some agent authors the flames destroyed the library other authors claimed that it contained seven hundred thousand books books in this context. meaning papyrus scrolls we don't know the actual number though it's often assumed that it. was far lower those inclined to minimize the size ofthe library however should keep. in mind that some ancient scholars were extremely prolific for example didymus. nicknamed bronze guts for his inhuman work ethic reportedly produced nearly 4 000 books over. the course of his lifetime the scholar who worked at the library became famous throughout the greeks world. The library was part of the museum a sort of proto university that stood beside the royal palace. the museum seems to have consisted of a courtyard ringed by stowes and lecture halls. and included a dining room where the resident scholars took meals the storerooms and reading. rooms of theLibrary were apparently attached to the museum complex. p tolemy's son and grandson. expanded the library sending scholars and agents to scour the markets of the gGreek world. for new purchases their bibliomania was so intense that ships arrive in alex andria were compelled to surrender all books on board for copying the library soon swelled to gargantuan proportions. the library was also home to the famous cleopatra against her brother pTolemy xiii when tommy's forces tried to seize a fleet more to alexAndria's harbor.