Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever – Day 24: Library of Alexandria

Banksy for the Wimp: Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever


The Ancient Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was constructed in the 3rd c BC and was a center of scholarship until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. It was part of a greater research center called the Museum of Alexandria and most of the most famous thinkers studied there. Most books were kept on papyrus.

The library of Alexandria and with it almost all of its books and unspeakable wealth of knowledge was burnt down. The fact is not disputed, just the identity of the culprit is – Caesar, Aurelian or the Coptic Pope Theophilus. Fact is, the last of the three decreed the destruction of the Serapeum, the temple the scholars used after the complete destruction of the library.

The destruction became a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge.