The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World
The Library of Alexandria, one of the wonders of the Ancient World, has haunted Western culture for over 2,000 years. The Ptolemaic kings of Egypt—successors of Alexander the Great—had a staggering ambition: to house all of the books ever written under one roof, and the story of the universal library and its destruction still has the power to move us.
But what was the library, and where was it? Did it exist at all? Contemporary descriptions are vague and contradictory. The fate of the precious books themselves is a subject of endless speculation.
Canfora resolves these puzzles in one of the most unusual books of classical history ever written. He recreates the world of Egypt and the Greeks in brief chapters that marry the craft of the novelist and the discipline of the historian. Anecdotes, conversations, and reconstructions give The Vanished Library the compulsion of an exotic tale, yet Canfora bases all of them on historical and literary sources, which he discusses with great panache. As the chilling conclusion to this elegant piece of historical detective work he establishes who burned the books.
This volume has benefited from the collegial support of The Wake Forest University Studium.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing
This is a clever reconstruction of the probable history of the scholarly community that we describe as the "Library at Alexandria" generally regarded as the focus of Hellenistic scholarly activity ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TheCriticalTimes - LibraryThing
An immensely fascinating book if you get past the second chapter. Instead of trying a literary fiction or a pure biography, Mr. Canfora has opted to string together a number of anecdotes from various ... Read full review
The Pharaohs Tomb 3
The Sacred Library 8
The Forbidden City
The Universal Library
I leave my books to Neleus
The Dialogues of Amrou
Revisions of Aristeas
Isidore of Seville
In the Cage of the Muses
The Rival Library
Reappearance and Disappearance of Aristotle
The Second Visitor
The Third Visitor
The Dialogue of John Philoponus with the Emir Amrou Ibn elAss while Amrou prepared to burn the Library