Library of Alexandria

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Library of Alexandria

The ancient library of Alexandria was founded in the city of Alexandria, Egypt and it was maintained--as well as enhanced--by the Ptolemaic kingdom. Its construction was completed in the third century BC.

Books have always been an integral part of my life and identity. I firmly believe that multiple characters, perspectives and societies have shaped my personality. I stumbled upon a report that stated facts about the ancient library of Alexandria. It is not just the library that appealed to me but the priceless information it contained regarding different societies and cultures of the world.

In around 334 BCE, Alexander the Great left his habitation to conquer the world. Alexander won multiple battles and brought along several historians, geographers, and writers from different regions of the world to document information about diverse societies and cultures. With the help of these scholars, he introduced Hellenism.

What precisely is Hellenism?

Hellenism can be described as Greek-Macedonian culture blending in with multiple societies of North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. The library of Alexandria consisted of multiple texts that represented a blend or concoction of the aforementioned societies.

I have accumulated ten intriguing facts regarding the ancient library of Alexandria. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?

1) The ancient library of Alexandria was massive. Multiple scholars benefited from it as it had a large collection of informative books.

2) The ancient library of Alexandria was founded in Alexandria, Egypt. It was maintained and enhanced by the Ptolemaic kingdom. Furthermore, it was constructed in the third century BC.

3) As per various ancient accounts, Alexandria was destroyed in a huge fire around 2000 years ago. All of the priceless books of the library were lost.

4) Alexandria was once the largest library of the ancient world. It had multiple books from the world’s greatest writers such as Homer, Plato, Socrates, etc.

5) It is believed that Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library. In order to save his life, he asked his men to incinerate Egyptian ships. Unfortunately, the fire got out of control and spread to other parts of the city, which included warehouses, depots, and some arsenals.

6) As per various ancient accounts, the library was originally organized by Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle, under the rule of Ptolemy I Soter.

7) According to ancient texts that mention the presence of Alexandria, the library itself was humongous. It had gardens, a room for dining, a reading room, lecture halls, and various meeting rooms.

8) The library of Alexandria had the world’s knowledge. They collected multiple books from all over the world. They kept the original texts and returned the duplicate copies back to their respective owners.

9) Since the library’s demolition, this wonder has haunted multiple poets, historians, travelers, and scholars, who have mourned the loss of ancient and valuable knowledge.

10) There’s an interesting theory that revolves around the library of Alexandria. Some people claim that it only existed in imagination and not in reality. The lack of physical or architectural proof has convinced some to wonder if the library existed at all.

Let’s summarise what we learned:

According to historical accounts, the ancient library of Alexandria was a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom. We, however, cannot ignore the fact that experts have not been able to discover any physical proof of its existence as of yet. 

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