Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Library Wars of the Ancient World

You think you've got problems with your book collection? Read this fascinating article by Lauren Young-- The Fierce, Forgotten Library Wars of the Ancient World:

In the Hellenistic Era—that's 323 BC to 31 BC, for all you numbers fans—the Library of Alexandria, Egypt was a research hub of high prestige. But while certainly the largest of its time and the most famous, the Library of Alexandria wasn’t the only institution of its kind. Libraries throughout the ancient world competed to be the best Greek library, in rivalries that proved as dangerous and unscrupulous as actual wars.

Perhaps the most vicious rivalry of all was between the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamum in the city of Pergamon—present-day Bergama, Turkey. In this conflict, the ego-driven kings of both cities enforced various sneaky maneuvers to stunt the growth of the opposing collections.

“The library was a means [for the kings] to show off their wealth, their power, and mostly to show that they were the rightful heirs of Alexander the Great,” says GaĆ«lle Coqueugniot, an ancient history research associate at the University of Exeter.


No comments: