What Caused the Destruction of Ancient Library of Alexandria?


Education is always seen as a key component to the growth of humans. Thus items bringing knowledge have always been held in high esteem but for once. The destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria brought our understanding of mathematics, science, medicine, philosophy and arts many hundred years back. The Library of Alexandria is the ancient world’s first university and it was staffed by most brilliant minds in the ancient world. But the Library vanished into oblivion with all the priceless riches. This library is said to have been created by Ptolemy II Philadelphus who was the son of Alexander the Great. It was founded in 332 BC.

Scholars made Library of Alexandria their home

The Library was located near the museum and absorbed Aristotle’s personal library  into its structure sometime in the third century BC. Though the size of the Library is unknown but it is supposed to have consisted of multiple buildings. Most archaeologists believe the Library was composed of at least two structures. First was the Royal Library and the second one was a daughter library at Serapeum. The Library consisted of a massive collection of scrolls. It is estimated that the it contained between 500,000 to 700,000 scrolls. In comparison to this the Trajan library of ancient Rome only contained 20,000 scrolls. The wealth of information in this Library was provided by some of the greatest minds in history. They also sat in this library for long hours. The staff of this library consisted on famous figures like Archimedes, Euclid, Erastosthenes and Galen who resided at the library too.

Invasions might have caused the destruction of Library at Alexandria

Library of Alexandria was the source of mankind’s knowledge for over 600 years. But how it was destroyed no one seems to have an answer. Most probable cause of this destruction is regarded as the Roman invasions. Romans had to fight many gruesome battles to win over the Greeks. But then again Romans were known to hold knowledge in high esteem, so maybe they were not responsible for such a destruction. Many Muslim invaders had also won battles over the Greeks and they were known to cause massive destructions. Best suspect for the destruction for the destruction of Ancient Library of Alexandria would be these Muslim invaders. Some researchers even feel natural calamities such as earthquakes and tsunamis caused the fall of this great library. In fact the sea had risen 6.6 feet since the construction of the Library.

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6 thoughts on “What Caused the Destruction of Ancient Library of Alexandria?

  1. am kenechukwu am a librarian i want to know the particular thing that lead to the destruction of the ancient library

  2. There is a growing consensus among historians that the Library of Alexandria likely suffered from several destructive events, but that the destruction of Alexandria’s pagan temples in the late 4th ad. century was probably the most severe and final one. The evidence for that destruction is the most definitive and secure. Caesar’s invasion may well have led to the loss of some 40,000 scrolls in a warehouse adjacent to the port.
    Civil wars, decreasing investments in maintenance and acquisition of new scrolls and generally declining interest in non-religious pursuits likely contributed to a reduction in the body of material available in the Library, especially in the fourth century. The Serapeum was certainly destroyed by Theophilus in 391 ad, and the Museum and Library may have fallen victim to the same campaign.
    Indeed a Christian mob was responsible for the destruction of the Library.

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