Republished by Blog Post Promoter
I recently re-read a book from my personal library about the destruction of the greatest library of antiquity in Alexandria, Egypt, The Vanished Library, by Luciano Canfora. Because I write books, I also read books. Books are a gateway to intellectual and spiritual freedom.
Although my personal library shelves contain only several hundred volumes, it is estimated by various sources that the Library at Alexandria housed tens of thousands of scrolls amassed by Ptolemy that were added to the sacred library of Ramses II, Pharaoh of Egypt! (c. 1300 BCE) At the time of it’s destruction there were reported to be more than 45,000 hand-written books, gathered from all of the civilized word — translated into Greek — and housed in a single building.
In 640 AD, this priceless library was burned at the order of Muslim Caliph Omar. When the general of his army asked the Caliph what to do with the books of the library, the Caliph responded:
“If their content is in accordance with the book of Allah, we may do without them. If they contain matter not in accordance with the book of Allah, there can be no need to preserve them. Proceed then, to destroy them.”
At that time the city of Alexandria had 4,000 public baths. The water for the baths was heated by underground stoves or furnaces. “The books were distributed to the public baths of Alexandria, where they were used to fuel the stove which kept the baths comfortably warm. ….It took six months to burn all that mass of material.” Only the writings of Aristotle were spared from the flames.
As has so often been the case in the history of Earth, religious fanaticism — the enemy of knowledge and freedom — was the cause of destruction of precious accumulated knowledge, technology and wisdom recorded by literate scientists, mathematicians, artists, philosophers and scholars. The modern destruction by the United States of the priceless Library of Baghdad, the burning of books and burying of scholars under China’s Qin Dynasty, the destruction of Aztec codices by Itzcoatl, the Nazi book burnings, the Spanish Inquisition, and many others psychotic episodes serve to keep humanity stupid, superstition and enslaved by ignorance.
However, in 2013 we live in an age of unprecedented information access. There are thousands of libraries all around the world. The internet is a vast library of information that contains nearly every book that has ever been written! (Of course there are huge numbers of “heretical” books that have been burned by Caliphs or Nazis or hidden in the Vatican library or the Smithsonian Institute.) However, in spite of intellectual terrorism, superstition, religious fanaticism, and government mind-control agendas, we are living in an unprecedented age when books are freely available in abundance! All we need to do is read them.