It is well known that the Library of Alexandria was one of the greatest libraries to have ever existed. Though the timing of its existence is not precisely known, its construction began sometime in the vicinity of 300-200 B.C. During its tenure, the original library suffered a few bouts of destruction. But it was not until sometime around 400 A.D. that it is believed to have been fully destroyed.
It was previously believed that Julius Caesar was responsible for the destruction of the library around 50 B.C. However, through further investigation, it appears that only a portion of the library was destroyed by him accidentally.
The library was believed to have stored over 700,000 scrolls, its content including all known sciences as well as histories of the civilizations of the era. This vast storehouse of knowledge is also believed to have been a sanctuary for the most famous scholars of antiquity.
While we have to accept the loss of this magnificent piece of history, a new library, close to the location of the ancient library, has recently been erected in its spirit. It will probably not be as iconic as the ancient library, but it will certainly serve as a symbolic gesture of its excellence.
Looking at the tragic loss of such an important resource of knowledge and access to information, one can only wonder what kind of a setback this must have brought to academia. In today's perspective, perhaps it would be much like losing access to the Internet and all its content.
- National Geographic: Egypt opens up a new library in the city of Alexandria
- Science: Ancient Alexandria Emerges, By Land and By Sea