Author Topic: Who burned the library of Alexandria?  (Read 672 times)

Offline pr126

Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« on: May 23, 2018, 01:40:26 AM »
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Who burned the library of Alexandria?

Modern teachings claim that it was the Christians.
Is it possible that history is revised to serve a political agenda?


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Back to the past.  The case of the Library of Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which was burnt in 644. The Library was the ancient world’s greatest and most significant archive of knowledge. It has been estimated that it held over 700,000 scrolls and documents from Assyria, Greece, Persia, Egypt, India and other places. The great thinkers of the age, scientists, mathematicians, poets from all civilizations came to study and exchange ideas. al-Qiftī (1172-1248) relates to the issue in his The History of Learned Men (Ta’rīkh al-Hukamā’). Umar ibn-al-Khattāb replied to ‘Amr ibn al-‘Asas follows: ‘As for the books you have mentioned I can say that those which agree with the Book of Allah [The Qur’an] are to be disposed of because Qur’an is sufficient. And if they have things which contradict the Qur’an, they must be deposed of.’ Another version claims that Umar wrote: “they will either contradict the Qur’an, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous.” So, allegedly, all the texts of the Library were set on fire.

In his Prolegomena (al-Muqadimah), Ibn Khaldun supports the story of the burning of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in light of the Arabs’ behavior towards books in that era. He recalls that the Sassanid Persia’s library books were thrown in water and set on fire after the Battle of Nahavand, in 642. This battle is known as the “Victory of Victories” following the order of the Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattāb who told Ibn Abi Waqqās: ‘If these books included guidance, know that Allah has given us a better guidance; and if they contained deviation then may Allah protect us.’

Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts, and unfortunately most of the times even succeeded to destroy it. If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is and was Muslim, as is the case of most of the Muslim scientific “accomplishments.” This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record, and clearly corroborated by contemporary situation.

The tragedy of the Free World that this Islamic onslaught is on the winning route. So many publications on the internet sites, books, pamphlets and documents, and so much money pour out to change the human mind. For example, MuslimHeritage.com perpetuate historical fabrications and virtually rob the heritage of other civilizations such as ancient China, Greece, Rome, India, and pre-Islamic Middle East – Persia, Babylon, Assyria, Phoenicia, Jews, and Pharaonic Egypt. Or the official site of Paul Vallely,paulvallely.com where the articles written by him are proven to be fundamentally misleading and full of sheer lies and fabrications. They omit, distort, twist, and make blunders concerning the most basic of historical well-known facts. They leave the reader wondering what could have motivated him into writing such deceptive pieces?It is money alone? Is it ignorance? Or it is evil?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:05:04 AM by pr126 »
"It doesn't matter what is true. It only matters what people believe is true."

Offline pr126

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2018, 01:49:59 AM »
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As someone who is interested in and has written about history, I’m extremely irritated by the fact that in recent years many inventions have been attributed to Islamic inventors, which in fact either existed in pre-Islamic eras or were invented by other cultures. This is historical revisionism and is obviously being done for political reasons. It is yet another example of the stealth jihad that is slowly chipping away at the cultural confidence of the West.
These Islamophilic claims are being forced upon the general public through a variety of means, including television series, articles in the mainstream media as well as blog posts and videos on YouTube. I am obviously not claiming that Muslims have never invented anything but I definitely am challenging the idea that Islam is an ideology that actively encourages learning and discovery. The intellectual flourishing of the Islamic world came about because the territory under Muslim control was inhabited by millions of people representing diverse cultures and languages not because of the religion that ruled over them.
"It doesn't matter what is true. It only matters what people believe is true."

Offline Shiranu

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2018, 02:05:24 AM »
You never cease to amaze me with the bullshit you pull out.

First off, modern teaching is not that it was "the Christians"; modern teaching is that the destruction of the library across several centuries (about 145 BC to it's eventual complete abandonment by 415 with the death of a philosophical cult leader), with historical records indicating that by the reign of pope Theophilius, who ordered it ransacked and demolished, there were no books left in the library anyways.

The biggest culprit of the burning of the Royal Library was that it was not an intentional destruction but rather collateral damage in the civil war between Julius/Cleopatra and Ptolemy, when the docks (and subsequently much of the city) was set on fire to repeal Ps fleet. This is confirmed both by Plutarch and Sabo, who both lament the loss of great works in the late first century A.D. (a little less than 600 years before the Muslims sat foot in Egypt, or for that matter, the world). One theory is that the majority of the texts were stored in the docks next to the library, given there were far more texts than could ever fit in the library (just as today), and thus were 100% innocently destroyed during the civil war which again, just as today, is apt to happen.

Of course before this the library had already seen large budget cuts due to political issues and the changing reigns of the Ptolemy dynasty. This may come as a shock to you, but back in that day everything was at the whim of the pharaoh and libraries didn't have any particular legal protections from a new ruler deciding they didn't want to invest as heavily in something as their predecessors, particularly since the Libraries primary function was to legitimize the Ptolemy dynasty. Once they had established their power, there really was no political need to make the library a wonder of the world.

Either way, by the time of the Coptic Pope's ordering of the vandalism of the library, and the death of a philosophy cult leader in the 400s, the library was essentially both abandoned and barren of books.

Your link to Ibn Khaldun interestingly has no destination, nor can I find any real source for that. One source I am continuing to find is that the story of Calif Amar is from a Syrian Christian who, as you might suspect, had reason to exaggerate or out-right lie about a Muslim ruler. Just as I would not consider a Muslim writer a particularly non-biased, credible source for the actions of a Christian king, I don't consider a Christian subject a particularly non-biased, credible source for the actions of a Muslim Calif.

Finally, the theory that the Muslims destroyed anything of value at the library you expose has been debunked for about 300 years now, starting with Eusèbe Renaudot and progressing into the early 1900s. After that, people had pretty much completely let it die.

So in short...

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Offline pr126

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2018, 05:29:23 AM »
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Destruction
Main article: Destruction of the Library of Alexandria
The burning of the Library of Alexandria, including the incalculable loss of ancient works, has become a symbol of the irretrievable loss of public knowledge. Although there is a mythology of "the burning of the Library at Alexandria", the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction of varying degrees over many years. Ancient and modern sources identify several possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria.[25]

During Caesar's Civil War, Julius Caesar was besieged at Alexandria in 48 BC. Many ancient sources describe Caesar setting fire to his own ships[26][27] and state that this fire spread to the library, destroying it.[27]

[W]hen the enemy endeavored to cut off his communication by sea, he was forced to divert that danger by setting fire to his own ships, which, after burning the docks, thence spread on and destroyed the great library.

— Plutarch, Life of Caesar[28]
Bolstering this claim, in the 4th century both the pagan historian Ammianus Marcellinus[29] and the Christian historian Orosius[30] wrote that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina had been destroyed by Caesar's fire. However, Florus and Lucan claim that the flames burned only the fleet and some "houses near the sea".[31]

The library seems to have continued in existence to some degree until its contents were largely lost during the taking of the city by the Emperor Aurelian (AD 270–275), who was suppressing a revolt by

The library was not completely destroyed

Queen Zenobia of Palmyra.[32] During the course of the fighting, the areas of the city in which the main library was located were damaged.[16] Some sources claim that the smaller library located at the Serapeum survived,[33] though Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the library in the Serapeum temple as a thing of the past, destroyed when Caesar sacked Alexandria.[34]


5th century scroll which illustrates the destruction of the Serapeum by Theophilus
Paganism was made illegal by an edict of the Emperor Theodosius I in AD 391. The temples of Alexandria were closed by Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria in the same year.[33] The historian Socrates of Constantinople describes all the pagan temples in Alexandria being destroyed, including the Serapeum.[35] Since the Serapeum had at one time housed a part of the Great Library, some scholars believe that the remains of the Library of Alexandria were destroyed at this time.[33][36] However, it is not known how many, if any, books were contained in it at the time of destruction, and contemporary scholars do not mention the library directly.[37][38]

In AD 642, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of 'Amr ibn al-'As. Several later Arabic sources describe the library's destruction by the order of Caliph Omar.[39][40] Bar-Hebraeus, writing in the 13th century, quotes Omar as saying to Yaḥyā al-Naḥwī: "If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them."[41] Later scholars are skeptical of these stories, given the range of time that had passed before they were written down and the political motivations of the various writers.[42][43][44][45][46]

Not exactly a lie. The library was not completely burned [destroyed] it the times of Caesar,but it was rebuilt and restocked during the years.
There was 690 years between the two events.


« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 06:03:17 AM by pr126 »
"It doesn't matter what is true. It only matters what people believe is true."

Offline Baruch

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2018, 06:31:04 AM »
Shiranu ... the way you post videos/scandals ... you are a young pr126 ;-)

Yes, actually Christians and Muslims both destroyed Alexandria.  After the pagan Romans did too.  That and earthquakes.  But those Christians were Coptic Christians/Egyptians, under Saint Cyril (no saint him).  And the Muslims who were Arabs, who liberated Egypt from Byzantine oppression ... they burned all the old manuscripts as fuel.  It is Muslim policy, even early on, to totally destroy all pre-Islamic culture.  The Nazis invented nothing.
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Offline Shiranu

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2018, 05:38:38 PM »
Quote
Not exactly a lie. The library was not completely burned [destroyed] it the times of Caesar,but it was rebuilt and restocked during the years.
There was 690 years between the two events.

I have seen nothing that suggests the library was ever restocked, and certainly not restocked to a notable degree.

Additionally, there is no contemporary accounts of Caliph Omar (I think I put Amir last time, meant Omar) destroying the library or having books burned; that account again comes from the Syrian Christian historian in the 12th century, 600 years after the event.

It would also be odd, considering at the same time Cairo (under Muslim control) had over 100,000 volumes of books; the library of Cordoba had 600,000 volumes, and there were libraries built all over the Muslim world that preserved countless "pagan" texts that would have been lost otherwise. What useful texts that remained from the Hellenic-era at Alexandria would have been destroyed by Theophilius, but as stated above and in the quote you linked, there is no contemporary evidence that in 391 there were even books remaining at the site.

------

The whole point you are trying to make is about the history of barbarism of the Islamic world, and there are plenty of truly barbaric acts you can point to, but outright lying about situations like this make it impossible to take you seriously when you do post legitimate issues. You neither got accurate the current opinion of historians (and it's an opinion that goes back decades) nor who was primarily at fault for the destruction of the overwhelming majority of the books while trying to insinuate that we should all blame the Muslims because, "...history was revised to serve a political agenda", but that implies that this history has been revised by the West for some several hundred years to do so.

No one has a problem with you calling out Muslims when they legitimately do fucked up shit, at least not here. What people have a problem with is when you have to spread lie, after lie, after lie to try to prove how evil they are... or insist that all Muslims are inherently evil and will stab you in the back the moment you blink. That is what people have a problem with.
"I can’t move on, I can’t relax. ’Cause when you're gone... panic attacks." - Elohim

"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny" - Steve Maraboli

Offline Baruch

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2018, 06:55:06 PM »
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I have seen nothing that suggests the library was ever restocked, and certainly not restocked to a notable degree.

Additionally, there is no contemporary accounts of Caliph Omar (I think I put Amir last time, meant Omar) destroying the library or having books burned; that account again comes from the Syrian Christian historian in the 12th century, 600 years after the event.

It would also be odd, considering at the same time Cairo (under Muslim control) had over 100,000 volumes of books; the library of Cordoba had 600,000 volumes, and there were libraries built all over the Muslim world that preserved countless "pagan" texts that would have been lost otherwise. What useful texts that remained from the Hellenic-era at Alexandria would have been destroyed by Theophilius, but as stated above and in the quote you linked, there is no contemporary evidence that in 391 there were even books remaining at the site.

------

The whole point you are trying to make is about the history of barbarism of the Islamic world, and there are plenty of truly barbaric acts you can point to, but outright lying about situations like this make it impossible to take you seriously when you do post legitimate issues. You neither got accurate the current opinion of historians (and it's an opinion that goes back decades) nor who was primarily at fault for the destruction of the overwhelming majority of the books while trying to insinuate that we should all blame the Muslims because, "...history was revised to serve a political agenda", but that implies that this history has been revised by the West for some several hundred years to do so.

No one has a problem with you calling out Muslims when they legitimately do fucked up shit, at least not here. What people have a problem with is when you have to spread lie, after lie, after lie to try to prove how evil they are... or insist that all Muslims are inherently evil and will stab you in the back the moment you blink. That is what people have a problem with.

The restocking came a lot later, 21st century later ...

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There are no heroes, just villains with better publishers ;-)  This was made possible for Islam, because of capturing Chinese paper makers at the Battle of Talas in 750 CE, in Central Asia.  Otherwise there would be no cheap Qurans.  One of the mistakes of Islam, was they were slow to get on the modern publishing bandwagon, even as late as 1800 CE ... with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.  Mission civilatrice.

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There were printed books of Arabic, in Europe, before that, for Western scholars.  Muslim conservativism required hand made manuscripts, just like the Torah tradition in Judaism.  It was not considered a good thing, in Muslims lands, for there to be too much literacy if it meant reading anything outside of a madrasa or masjid.  For political reasons as much as religious.  For the same reason that the Catholic Church and their supporting monarchies opposed literacy.
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Offline aitm

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2018, 07:30:18 PM »
And I always thought it was Alaric the Red..
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2018, 12:49:11 AM »
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Your link to Ibn Khaldun interestingly has no destination, nor can I find any real source for that.
Best I can tell, the Ibn Khaldun quote is the following

Quote
Among the Persians, the intellectual sciences played a large and important role, since the Persian dynasties were powerful and ruled without interruption. The intellectual sciences are said to have come to the Greeks from the Persians, (at the time) when Alexander killed Darius and gained control of the Achaemenid empire. At that time, he appropriated the books and sciences of the Persians. However when the Muslims conquered Persia and came upon an indescribably large number of books and scientific papers, Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas wrote to 'Umar b. al-Khattab, asking him for permission to take them and distribute them as booty among the Muslims. On that occasion, 'Umar wrote him: "Throw them into the water. If what they contain is right guidance, God has given us better guidance. If it is error, God has protected us against it." Thus, the (Muslims) threw them into the water or into the fire, and the sciences of the Persians were lost and did not reach us.

Unfortunately I only have a kindle copy of The Muqaddimah (proper book cost a bloody fortune if you can even find it) and lacks page numbers
"Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles; and so we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breeched, and we have breeches" Voltaire�s Candide

Offline Baruch

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2018, 07:22:34 AM »
Local reports say, a large cache of old manuscripts were found (maybe abandoned, thanks to Christianity) and were burnt for fuel.  One of the oldest Bibles in existence, the Sinai manuscript, was partially rescued by a scholar in the 19th century, from the cook-fires of the monks at Mt Sinai.  No need to save books, just ask Fahrenheit 451.

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Jewish treatment of books is different, we can't throw anything away ...

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Online Cavebear

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2018, 03:21:17 AM »
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And I always thought it was Alaric the Red..

I always thought it was St Cyric.  Who flayed Hyaptia with clamshells and whose mob burned the place. 

Nothing is ever simple or certain.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 06:13:05 AM »
I don't recall ever hearing who burned the Library.  And I've often wondered about it.  I get the impression that it was religious fanatics who wanted to destroy the competition, but that's only an impression.  It could have been any religion, as they would all be motivated similarly.  On the other hand, I've heard the rioters described as a mob, but not associated with any particular ideology, just a mob motivated by the mob, doing what mobs do.


Online Cavebear

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2018, 07:01:32 AM »
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I don't recall ever hearing who burned the Library.  And I've often wondered about it.  I get the impression that it was religious fanatics who wanted to destroy the competition, but that's only an impression.  It could have been any religion, as they would all be motivated similarly.  On the other hand, I've heard the rioters described as a mob, but not associated with any particular ideology, just a mob motivated by the mob, doing what mobs do.

Well, Carl Sagan said in 'Cosmos' that it was Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, and that he inspired the mob that burned the library after flaying Hypatia alive.  And they declared him a saint.  I'll go with that until I see evidence otherwise.  Mr Sagan stands to me as a good authority.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Baruch

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2018, 07:52:09 AM »
Carl Sagan is correct if simplistic.  His point was that had the Roman Empire not fallen (intellectually) then we would already have colonized the galaxy in our star ships (he used one as a trop in his documentary).  Dr Bronowski (who did something like that just before Sagan) wasn't so ... drama queen.
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Online Cavebear

Re: Who burned the library of Alexandria?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2018, 12:49:35 PM »
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Carl Sagan is correct if simplistic.  His point was that had the Roman Empire not fallen (intellectually) then we would already have colonized the galaxy in our star ships (he used one as a trop in his documentary).  Dr Bronowski (who did something like that just before Sagan) wasn't so ... drama queen.

Mr Sagan was a legitimate scientist who had a flair for explaining things in terms TROTW could understand.  IIUC, he specialized in the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation.  But he enjoyed many aspects of astrophyscis and was deeply involved in the now-accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.

And Sagan was dedicated to encouraging young scientists.  Viewers of the redone 'Cosmos' by Neil DeGrasse Tyson (different but well worth watching) may remember that Sagan invited the young DeGrasse Tyson to visit him and led him into astrophysics himself.

That was one rare person...  Both actually.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

 

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