The Library of Alexandria

The Royal Library of Alexandria or Ancient Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was once the largest library in the ancient world. Generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of…

Generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the third century BC, it was conceived and opened during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter, or that of his son Ptolemy II of Egypt. Plutarch (AD 46-120) wrote that Caesar accidentally burned the library down during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC. However, this version is not confirmed in contemporary accounts of the visit. It has been reasonably established that the library or parts of the collection were destroyed on several occasions, but to this day the details of these destruction events remain a lively source of controversy based on inconclusive evidence.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, an institution intended both as a commemoration and an emulation of the original, was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the old library.

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