The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World

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 years The Ptolemaic kings of Egypt successors of Alexander the Great had a staggering amb

  • Title: The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World
  • Author: Luciano Canfora Martin Ryle
  • ISBN: 9780520072558
  • Page: 223
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 libraThe 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.

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      Published :2019-02-01T05:02:39+00:00

    1 thought on “The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World”

    1. This is far more than the story of the mysterious library at Alexandria, and more than merely a fascinating literary and historical detective story. Herein one learns about such things as the competition between the libraries at Alexandria and Pergamum, and how the latter was forced to develop parchment technology which despite its apparent relative crudity produces a more durable product. The analysis of the fire which Caesar set, burning up 70,000 books which were apparently just commercial pr [...]

    2. Luciano Canfora's book is well written and well researched, but his conclusion, that Muslims destroyed the great library of Alexandria, is mistaken. Canfora does not take into account that the library was not talked about for three hundred years before the Muslim conquest of Egypt. We also know that a Christian crowd destroyed Alexandria's second library located in the Temple of Serapus, and another Christian gang brutally killed Hypatia, the director of the great library. There should be little [...]

    3. 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 early sources to tell the story of the Library of Alexandria. Unfortunately as a reader you have to add a lot yourself. An introduction would have been nice or a small paragraph before each chapter that explains why the text is relevant to the famous library.Even so, I would highly recommend this sh [...]

    4. Sono rimasto un po' sconcertato dalla lettura di questo libro dal quale ho imparato che la biblioteca di Ramsete non è in realtà esistita come sala e poco più. Che la biblioteca di Alessandria sia stata bruciata dagli Arabi ai tempi dell'espansione dell'Islam me lo dissero a scuola elementare, una ventina di anni prima dell'uscita di questo libro nel 1986. Sconcertante è l'uso disinvolto di episodi probabilmente mai avvenuti, come il dialogo tra l'emiro Amr e Giovanni Filopono che probabilme [...]

    5. The early chapters are pretty fascinating. Later digressions left me pretty confused. It's as if a grad student discussed every reference they consulted in depth in their dissertation, rather than ever getting to the topic and conclusion of the dissertation. Pictures would be really helpful – the few sketches in the book make no sense, especially with some typos in the written descriptions (perhaps a translation error). For example, the largest statue in the land is purported to be in the room [...]

    6. 2.5. On the plus side, this has lots of fascinating detail about the Library of Alexandria and its history. On the down side, Canfora tells the story as a series of anecdotes from different eras, which leaves it feeling incredibly jerky, and with no real effort to fill in the gaps between eras. About half this book is a discussion of the sources he used to derive his narrative — less of that and more background would have made this better.

    7. A fascinating string of well-researched anecdotes, full of violence and politics and life. Consensus has moved on somewhat from the book's conclusions about the library's ultimate fate, but this read is nevertheless awe-inspiring for any book-lover who wonders how books intersected with everything else in ancient European culture.

    8. Canfora's "history" is something of a Jekyll & Hyde, split evenly between two parts so wildly dissimilar as to make you check the binding occasionally to see if you're still reading the same book. The first part, which I suppose we're to refer to as "narrative history," offers a series of semi-imagined scenes more or less related to the Library of Alexandria in the gossipy tone of a psuedo-Hesiod. The second part presents in a dry recitative all the citations missing from the first bit, bela [...]

    9. This book is a bit perplexing. At times it offers clear, oversimplified narrative that fills in many historical gaps. At other times it offers deep detailed analysis of primary and secondary sources. These two types of narrative sometimes run together. The effect is a bit unnerving. I was comfortable reading this book because of my expertise in ancient history, but a lay reader is likely to be lured into a false sense of confidence and then really overwhelmed by the book's shift in tone and focu [...]

    10. This book falls under poetic history. Although the author is infinitely familiar with the topic there are no footnotes as a far as I can recall, merely the mental reconstruction of the climate and purposes of the Alexandrian library. It was a project of the Ptolemy's, confusing because they recycle the same names for generations. Alexandria was the site of a Roman intelligence gathering project for militaristic ends-if one can control the memory of a people or their religion victory was certain. [...]

    11. Let me open up with an anonymous quot about the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria:" This is an act of savagery that future generations will choose to blame on the villains of their own age." That said, in this age we do have an easy access to a various scholars writing to research the accounts of the history further on. Beside Bar Hebraeus, also known as Abu’l Faraj,a great syriac history writer there are also accounts of Abd-Al-Latif of Bagdad and Jamal Ad-din al-Kufti. Abd-Al-La [...]

    12. I have always had a fascination regarding the great Library of Alexandria, its history, its contents, its demise. One mystery I've held for years: who was responsible for its destruction? For years I thought the 4th/5th century Christians had burned it down. The author, Canfora, provides the answer through an exhausting analysis of a multitude of source material. If you enjoy references to ancient sources and brief bios, while being exposed to some fascinating accounts of ancient leaders, schola [...]

    13. Canfora ci racconta la storia della biblioteca di Alessandria e della sua lotta con quella di Pergamo: come è nata, come è cresciuta, e come è stata infine distrutta.Anche gli ultimi libri rimasti furono bruciati forse dagli arabi, ma non sappiamo se si tratta di una leggenda o della realtà.Tolomeo ci mise anni per ottenere i numerosi tomi, ma la lotta con Pergamo dava facile accesso ai falsi, che venivano venduti a prezzi elevati alle due biblioteche in lotta, che pur di avere l’esclusiva [...]

    14. This is history in the form of investigative narrative. The author presents sixteen narratives about the Library of Alexandria constructed from classical sources including Homer, Plutarch and Diogenes. He goes on to present commentaries on sources of information about the Library ranging from Gibbon to a discussion of the archaeologists knowledge of the construction and plan of the library. The combination is both a fascinating and unique approach to the history of one of the wonders of the anci [...]

    15. This is the kind of book that makes you want to find out more about this library and the happenings in and around Alexandria Egypt. I liked the style of short chapters, each covering a specific moment in history and the players involved. It reads like an unfolding mystery. Having read the other reviews I realize that there is some speculation and some leaps of faith, but, it definitely held my interest and seemed totally believable. Highly recommended for anyone even casually interested in this [...]

    16. More for an academic audience than a lay one, with no introductory information and chapters that jump from one period to another without transition and with connections only realized slowly, it was a little confusing at times. It's a well-thought-out argument for what didn't happen to the library of ancient Alexandria, and an interesting look into what the collection of written works meant in ancient times, but the library's exact existence as well as its eventual demise remain as enshrouded in [...]

    17. Too much information! That was my judgement of the second half of The Vanished Library, wherein Canfora presents on a careful, well-researched, and essentially boring catalog of ancient libraries and those who recorded their stories.The first part has a hard time making a point, with a meandering discussion of what may or may not have happened at Alexandria and other sites.Were I a specialist in ancient history, I would probably admire Canfora's work. But I'm not so I don't.

    18. A fascinating narrative chronicling the history and ultimate destruction of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world-the Library of Alexandria. The author has painstakingly researched his subject and exposes the reader to sources they may otherwise never been exposed to. This book sets the record straight on the library's demise and rekindles a great sense of loss for such intellectual treasure and the thoughtlessness that allowed it to happen. Great read.

    19. An interesting book, curiously translated. It's part narrative, part poetry, part review of ancient historical sources, part archaeology And I learnt quite a bit about the library of Alexandria, or rather, the supposed but possibly fictional library, and how obscurely hints of the truth of the ancient classical world peer out at us from the depths of time.

    20. Divided into two sections, with the first being as if the reader is back in the time of the great Library of Alexandria, and the second explaining what may have happened. It is possible that what we now consider a 'library' wasn't thought of in the same way in those times, and that the library was next to the museum type complex that did not burn.

    21. I read it long ago. It's a history book, without very high narrative skills from the writer. It is usefull because collects all the sources related to the subject. At the time it was appeared, even if it wasn't a fiction book, was a competing one.

    22. More like a set of individual historical references / discussions on the Library of Alexandria throughout history. Not a bad book if you are interested in the history of the Library and want a better understanding of what it really was and it's fate.

    23. Probably not something I would have searched out on my own, but it was on my friend's bookshelf, the library had been closed for months because of a strike, and I was desperate. The book itself was rather dry and academic, but the subject (the Library of Alexandria) was fascinating.

    24. An interesting book. The first part is a history of the library of Alexandria, and the second part is a historiography of it — an examination of the sources, the conclusions that people have reached, and their validity.

    25. You need to be good in remembering Greek and Roman names, or it will feel a tad like a phone book in a foreign country. But it is well argued, I have to say.

    26. This is a detailed account of the Library of Alexandria. It gives many theories as to what may have happened. To me it war not an easy read . Difficult to get they but interesting.

    27. Got this when my son was doing a project on hieroglyphics. It was a book on the library of Alexandria. I liked it.

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