Lost Library of Alexandria Is Found

Imagine if the transistor and the internet had been invented a thousand years ago.  Imagine a millennium of genetic engineering.  Imagine if quantum theory and relativity had been successfully replaced by string theory centuries ago, and today we were finishing up on whatever comes after superstrings.  Imagine if the celebration for the year 2000 AD had been observed by citizens on the Moon, on Mars, and across the Solar System.  Imagine if Henry Ford were known for the mass production of personal warp-drive spacecraft.  Imagine if Neil Armstrong had gone not to the Moon, but to the first pi-ring transdimensional Shadow Earth.  Imagine if Bill Gates hawked not Windows but instead…      

If ever there were a story at SciScoop that’s worth a moment of silence to lament the loss of what could have been, this is it.  A joint Egyptian-Polish archeological team has reportedly found the long-lost Library of Alexandria.  This facility was effectively the first true University, with lecture rooms for thousands of students and nearly a million scrolls for them to read.  This is the place where Archimedes invented the screw-shaped water pump that is still in use today, the place where Eratosthenes measured the diameter of the Earth, the place where Euclid wrote The Elements after discovering the rules of geometry, the place where Ptolemy wrote The Almagest, the most influential scientific book about the nature of the Universe for 1,500 years.

The Library of Alexandria was where the “modern” intellectual flame of knowledge first flickered to life in the ancient world, and indeed for a while it burned brightly.  Had it not been extinguished, a thousand year Dark Age might have been avoided, and who knows on what lofty heights we might have stood this very day?  

But the Library of Alexandria was destroyed, of course, and our own history is the result.  The true chronology of the Library, and particularly its demise, is yet a mystery.  My money is on it’s being sacked by Caesar when he waged war on his arch-rival Pompey for the hand of Cleopatra.  That would indeed be a fitting cause for a thousand years of intellectual darkness afflicting all of human civilization:  two men, one woman, trouble, the oldest story in the book.  

7 thoughts on “Lost Library of Alexandria Is Found”

  1. I can hardly believe it. This is more exciting than finding Troy. I can’t wait to see some photos. I know it’s too much to hope for, but I wonder if any texts might still be buried away there? Unlikely, I guess, as the people of the day would have sifted through the ruins and taken anything intact. Still, maybe there were secret rooms somewhere, known only to those who were killed or forced to flee when Alexandria was taken. What a find that would be.

  2. .
    …if the librarians ran around hushing with the Latin, “placidus, placidus!”?

    It’s always fun to wonder “what if?” concerning past events like what happened to the library, but unfortunately, that’s what they are: past, unchangeable, perhaps historically inaccurate events.

    Considering how much history is rewritten from generatiion to generation to correct errors or for political and religious reasons, I’m amazed some people can even think straight. While the majority of [non SciScoop] readers take what they read or hear at face value, I sit here in amazement that the world doesn’t come apart at the seams of some proverbial handbasket.

    Such wondering, however, is the grit of science fiction or even fantasy novels and movies. I wonder when this discovery will appear on the big screen…?

    jon

  3. From what I recall, the library was burned a total of three times: by the Romans, the Christians, and finally by the Arabs. I’ll have to go look that up…

  4. I can see it now. Archaeologists find, in the Library, an ancient scroll that tells of an asteroid that is due to hit Earth in the year 2007. It is invisible to all of our best equipment, until it is too close to do anything about it. Except… It tells also of a prophecy that the one who can travel to the Core (yes, that core) will be able to save the world from certain destruction by changing the direction of the Earth’s Core flows, which reverses the magnetic field, repelling the asteroid. Unfortunately, this causes a near-instantaneous ice-age, which releases an unknown bacterium from its million-year dormancy. The worst outbreak in the world ensues, killing billions; but oddly enhancing the intelligence of sharks. Who then take over the world.

    Definitely worth a viewing.

  5. .
    …that sharks will never be intelligent enough to take over the world, although they might be good politicians. I hear they’re related to lawyers.

    Why don’t you pitch that asteroid story line to the James Bond or maybe the Tomb Raider folks?

    jon

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