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The Library of Alexandria - One of The Wonders of Ancient Egypt

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Once upon a time, there was a giant library in the ancient world. It was located in Alexandria, in northern Egypt, and contained great masterworks of great figures such as Plato, the father of history, that is to say, Homer, and many others. However, with a destructive fire that took place nearly two millenniums ago, this library, with its voluminous masterpieces unfortunately surrendered to giant flames of the fire.

Many literary personalities as well as travellers and experts, whom this library inspired and haunted their imagination, lamented after the great loss of such a great source of knowledge because it was one of the few places experts used to resort whenever they needed to know something on a specific issue. For some time, even schooling is reported to have ceased as there were no books available for scholars to teach people. Because of the uniqueness of the library, some people even attained a mythical status to the library.

It is somehow surprising that the fabulous library, once regarded indispensable for ancient doctrines, has no remnants today to discover. In oral tradition, this library was as important as the world and perpetuated, however, in scientific and archaeological terms, the library has not been proven to have existed in ancient world. Even though many archaeologists have done their best to explore the relics of it, no clue has been obtained yet.

Formerly Alexandria was a tiny fishermen village. Upon the conquest of Alexander the great, the city of Alexandria, named after Alexander, became the centre of knowledge and enlightenment of the era. When he died, the city fell into the hands of his generals and became one of the splendid places of the world. By the way, it should be noted that the city was the home of massive Pharaohs’ final destination and it was also their lighthouse, which they sometimes invoked to learn something new.

We do not have enough oral evidence as to how the Library of Alexandria was founded, therefore, the origins of the library is obscure. One hypothesis is that an exiled mayor of Athens, named Demetrius, demanded Ptolemy I to build a knowledge centre there. Convinced by him, Ptolemy agreed to command workers to construct the library. Demetrius was actually a farsighted person and envisioned that another library, which would be the rival to the one in Athens, would be a great thing for the region and could be the house of the books available those times. Demetrius, who was under the patronage of Ptolemy, was given the privilege to intervene in all issues during the construction process. He managed the process very well and subsequently, a glorious complement came into being. He also designed the library in accordance with his thoughts and in one place, he created a spacious area called shrine in which great discussions would take place. He also created a cult centre which would serve for religious purposes.

The library was later enlarged by following rulers and one of the extension building was designed in order to serve multi functionally. Students and their lecturers could use this extension as a temple, a small hospital and an activity centre since there were many separate rooms within the library. As the era coincided with the prophet Moses, there were many Hebrew manuscripts written in this era.

According to another legend, Ptolemy II had great hunger for knowledge and decreed to oblige all ships coming to Egypt to give in the manuscripts they had with them and had his scribes to copy these manuscripts and file the documents in the library. However, this is no more than a legend, as it has no scientific basis due to the lack of evidence.

Finally, the library, including many books and invaluable information, became a vast knowledge destination. It was so immense that another library had to be built by it. This new library was placed in the precincts of the major one.

Especially, under the reign of Ptolemy II, this precious building peaked and got famed all over the world. In its peak, the library reportedly contained nearly 43.000 copies.

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The Library Of Alexandria – One Of The Wonders Of Ancient Egypt. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 4, 2021, from
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