The library of Alexandria

The warm tradition of burning books is not in the modern era. The library of Alexandria, which was the largest antique ended his long life to be burnt by the Caliph Omar in the year 634, which did so on the basis of a curious argument: "the books in the library or they contradict the Koran, are so dangerous, or agree with the Quran, and are then redundant". This remarkable reasoning, which was the subject of an exquisite commentary of the Argentinean philosopher Tomás Simpson, human memory cost a good amount of unrecoverable works, but not as many as you think if it is that that is consolation. Actually, when the Caliph Omar took the drastic measure, the library was only the shadow of what was once, and she was very little, lost in successive disasters. The library is part of an institution called the Museum: one and one was founded by Ptolomeo Soter, King of Egypt (305-285 BC.). This good Ptolemy was one of the generals who after the death of Alexander the great (323 BC.) seized chunks of its vast Empire. In the repar­tija, Ptolemy it was Egypt: the dynasty founded by him lasted until the year 30 BC., when Cleopatra managed his automuerte through the efficient (though not necessarily private) services of an ASP.
In the classical sense, the word 'Museum' meant 'a place where worship to the muses', is saying, cultivating the arts and Sciences. Alexandria - and therefore the Library-Museum was located in the Alexandrian pri­meramente called "palaces", and later "Brucheion"; We can guess that it was a kind of suburb of colossal dimensions; According to some witnesses he was between a quarter and a third of the main body of the city. Museum and library were among the most prestigious institutions in the ancient world: the librarian and director of the Museum was appointed by the King of Egypt in person (later by the Roman Emperor).
Performance Museum little is known:
If you would like an Academy? If you would like a University? Was it a copy of the Lyceum that Aristotle in Athens shortly before regenteara? Were there any internal students who survived through the Hellenistic equivalent of modern scholarship? Mystery. That Yes, enjoyed full State support: books brought from all parts of the civilized world of the time, and the Kings of Egypt not repaired in spending to get more and more books: they called for borrowing, copying and then is returned... or not. The library of Alexandria, where flocked scholars of the four cardinal points, became a formidable concentration of written material. But what does that mean in modern terms and numbers? Or: how many books were in the library?
It is difficult to say. Estimates depend on the testimony of Juan Tzetzes, Byzantine monk who lived in the 13th century, but which probably obtained their data from older sources: according to Tzetzes, the external library or "small library", had 42,800 rolls of papyrus and the "library of the Palace", presumably the main, 'real' and glorious library, had 490 thousand rolls. Now well; a roll of papyrus was composed of an average of twenty leaves (which varied between 10 and 4.5 cm wide). Calculating the amount of information that supports a roll of these dimensions and the length of the books produced in the time you can reach an approximate number: 490 thousand rolls should be more or less 70 thousand works, figure that if may well be small compared to the libraries of the Gutenberg Galaxy, to use terminology with temporarythey justify that loss of the Bibliote­ca of Alexandria has been one of the great catas­trofes of the history of Western culture.
But when it happened? Can all the blame to the fury of the Caliph Omar piromaniaca be attributed? Seems not. The Caliph Omar burned down a library that was coming off a long period of decline. Already in the 2nd century BC King Ptolomeo Euergates II, a tyrant old-fashioned (or not so old, perhaps), and was born the Museum, taking the majority of the students. The testimony about the destruction of books, on the other hand, are confusing: there was, apparently, a great fire in the year 47 BC., but the sources are not reliable, reported the own Plutarco. The major disaster appears to have occurred in the year 273, during clashes between the Roman Emperor Aurelian and the rebel chieftain Firmus, who had entrenched in Alexandria. Result: the library suffered the worst losses in its history. Amiano Marcellino historian and Bishop Epifanio say that the whole area of the Brucheion was transformed into a wasteland. However, should something be; in the year 391 came a new disaster, when the Alexandrian mob, infiltrated by Theophilus, 'a man whose hands are alternately staining with gold and blood', unleashed a new fire in which perished all or much of the "small library". Bad luck for the Caliph Omar: when it decided to purify the library of Alexandria by the fire, it was little and nothing.
Article translated for educational purposes from:  Planeta Sedna