Talk:Library of Alexandria/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Is the library an institution or the collection of books? The article switches meanings in such a way as to allow the library to survive up to 400 so it can be destroyed by Christians. The last chief librarian of the Royal Library was Aristarchus of Samothrace (fl. 150 BC). If "Library of Alexandria" means the Royal Library, there wouldn't have been a library of this name in Roman times since Egypt was no longer a kingdom. But the Athenaeus quote from 200 AD and other sources suggest that Alexandria was still famous for "libraries," the best-known of which was at the Sarapeum (Temple of Saraphis). Several ancient sources describe the destruction of Sarapeum in 391, but none mention books. If the books disappeared sometime between 200 and 391, the massive fire of 272 is the obvious culprit.

The story of Christians ransacking the library is from _History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_ by Edward Gibbon. There is nothing in ancient sources to support the details he gives. He seems to have just invented it as an anti-Christian smeer.

I find this sentence to be a non sequitur: "As noted above, it is generally accepted that the Museum of Alexandria existed until c. AD 400, and if the Museum and the Library are considered to be largely identical or attached to one another, earlier accounts of destruction could only concern a small number of books stored elsewhere."

If the book collection and museum buildings were destroyed in the fire of 272, the museum could be rebuilt and continue to function as a research institution, although persumably its collection of books was much smaller from that point on. The article does not even mention this fire, yet it is the most common explanation of what happened to the library.

In the conclusion of the article, the author's highly questionable opinions are presented as a "growing consensus among historians" -- now that's bullheaded arrogance for you!Kauffner 01:53, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Good points all. The article shifts back & forth between library as building and library as collection of books. This should be clarified, particularly in light of the POV conclusions. The article fails to mention the damage to the library under Caracalla, then when Alexandria was taken by Zenobia, and under Aurelian. If the library constituted a bunch of scrolls (which would probably have been much more valuable - both in monetary and in intellectual/cultural terms - than the actual building), then there was probably little of it left by the time of Theodosius. Not to mention the fact that Christians had long made their peace with Classicaul culture & literature - see the Cappadocian Fathers, among others, for evidence - so it is highly unlikely that they would have destroyed the books anyway. If we're talking about the actual building, than sure, it probably was finally destroyed under Theodosius, but to call that the "most severe" is a little silly, seeing as how it had long since (by over 500 years!) ceased to be the massive cultural center that it was under the Ptolemies.
It should also be noted that Apollodorus' mention of how the Library was retained in the "memory" of all by no means indicates that he or his readers had actually seen the place, or that it still existed.

I think the first sentence of this article is vague...was once the largest in the world? So would the first library of 2 scrolls be the 'largest in the world' at its time. And the sentence about the reason so little is known about its destruction is that is happened so long after the founding? I don't see the logic. But from the ridiculous discussion below I imagine that any changes I might make would automatically be deleted because some people feel a sense of ownership over this page.

This article has very little mention of the sacking of the Brucheion quarter (where the museum was located) by Aurelian in 272 A.D. It is likely the greater part of the remaining library was destroyed at this time. Indeed there is mention that the museum existed in the 4th Century--so did the temple of Serapis--but in what condition did it exist? Judging from the lack of specific mention of the library in any significant terms by the 4th Century its likely that it was only a shadow of its former glory by that time. Thus, far from being the majority opinion, it is unlikely that the "most severe" destruction of the library was done under Flavius Theodosius.

Carl Sagan's book Cosmos has a redition of the burning of the Library of Alexandria which I always found a little fishy. Could someone talk about that?

Carl Sagan reported, if I remember correctly, the Caliph Omar story (though he didn't provide names) as his idea of what really happened. I'll be updating that last section on how it was destroyed later on...or not at all if someone gets there before me, I guess. That particular version is perhaps the most romantic (the broader term, not the specific) of any, but the history points elsewhere. Ravenscraft

"desert city"? It is rather hot and dry, but not really a desert.

In his book Sagan did name names although probably the wrong ones.

quotes from the Cosmos.

In a world of manuscript production burning a single library was more significant than burning a single library in the Gutenberg world - but please! The only 2 copies of Euclid were NOT in Alexandria and Constantinople! The only copy of Aristotle on Comedy wasn't there! Anything that survives from the classical world survived many, many accidents - not just that one. Remember - even the story about seizing books to copy them implies that the original was given back. MichaelTinkler

Hello, this is a first so forgive me if I screw up. As has been pointed out Sagan gets mixed up about the library of Alex. There's nothing to connect Hypatia to the Library at all. We have ancient sources that say Caesar burnt it down by accident (Plutarch, Ammianus Marcellinus, Aulus Gellus and a few others) but none for either the Christians or Moslems. Christians under Theophilus did pull down a great Roman temple called the Serapeum where there had been a smaller library but the evidence suggests it had already gone by the time of the sack. Finally, the numbers given for the Great Library's holdings (up to 700,000) are massive exaggerations. The biggest library in Rome could hold 20,000 or so scrolls according to the extant remains but the ancients always exaggerated figures.

This article was extremely POV and did not properly attribute views to those who hold them. This is especially egregious as the main source used for the false claims about the LoA is a Christian apologist who writes webpages under a pseudonym. I find it sad that Wikipedians are quick to fix NPOV violations from extremists, but hardly do so when they are committed by Christian apologists -- apologetics infest many of the historical WP articles.

I have, in correction, added the summary from Parsons and changed many wordings as well as removed some unattributed opinions. Parsons, and many other serious historians, regard the Caesar theory as nothing but a persistent myth. There may have been a small fire by accident, but nothing even close to the destruction that likely happened centuries later. This is, however, a controversial issue, and all sides should be given proper exposure with proper attribution, and not the apodictic treatment originally given in this article where the opinions of the authors clearly shine through.

I would suggest that those advocating the Caesar theory find better supporters to cite than "The Venerable Bede". I would also suggest that they all read the Parsons excerpt I linked to which analyzes the different historical accounts in much detail, were it not for copyright, we should incorporate it completely. --Eloquence 10:46 Nov 5, 2002 (UTC)

This is Bede here. Eloquence has launched into a well-poisoning exercise to push theories in a book that is 50 years old. I will be elimiating disapraging remarks about myself from the article and restating the case for Caesar.


Bede (

Funny that you should say that, since even the 2003 Britannica does not blame Caesar anymore. In fact, the Britannica article about Hypatia flat out states that the Christians destroyed the Library, and the article about the Library of Alexandria states that the main library was lost in the civil wars, and the daughter library destroyed by Christians. Regardless, I'll be on vacation in the next few days, but I will correct your violations of our NPOV policy as soon as I am back. Wikipedia is not a resource for Christian apologetics, as your site is. --Eloquence 23:47 3 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Well, I do hope you have higher standards than the EB. One of my fellow MA students was marked down viciously for even referencing it as it is not considered a reliable academic source. My amendments to the article contain no apologetics whatsoever or anything else against the NPOV, but simply state facts that you don't like. I think you should drop the matter right now - or else produce an ancient source that actually says Christians destroyed the Library of Alexandria. All you have managed to show is that a lot of modern people, following Gibbons error (he was an influencial chap), think they did.


Bede (

Is the article quoting The Venerable Bede (wikipedia contributor) or the real Bede? Instead of quotes, his name should be wikified to disambiguate. And should a wikipedia contributor really be cited as a source? "According to me, ..."

I have changed the link from my popular to my scholarly article and also changed to my real name. The last paragraph, a piece of blatant anti-Christian special pleading has been deleted.

There is nothing anti-Christian about the last paragraph. It reflects current scholarly opinion.—Eloquence

Rubbish. It reflects your opinion. As your website shows, you are an anti-Christian polemicist. Also, calling me an apologist is poisoning the well. My paper is NOT intended as apologetics but is a piece of scholarship. I have removed your bias again. I will continue to do so whenever you put it up again.

If you don't want to be called a Christian apologist, maybe you shouldn't publish your papers under the heading "reasonable apologetics". Your entire work on the Library of Alexandria is the perfect example of scholarly work based on preconceived notions: The Christians cannot have done it, so let's interpret all sources to find someone else who might. The interpretation of the Deipnosophistai alone speaks volumes of your credibility: "Why should I now have to point to the books, the establishment of libraries and the collection in the Museum, when this is in every man's memory?"
It is obvious that this passage refers to existing facilities as we know with absolute certainty that the Museum existed until the 4th century. It is quite ironic that your entire paper is notably silent on the Museum -- which makes sense, because the purpose of your paper is not serious scholarship, it is merely intended for public relations purposes. Everyone is familiar with the Great Library, so it is of elementary importance that it can be shown that the Christians did not destroy it. Who cares about the Museum and all the pagan temples? You know very well that Theophilus destroyed "all pagan temples" in the city. It is a subject Christians don't like to speak about very much.
All serious scholars know that the Caesar theory is ridiculous -- because it requires those who believe in it to subscribe to an elaborate conspiracy theory, a cover up that lasted more than a hundred years and which even the most vicious enemies of Caesar participated in. Increasingly, modern scholars recognize that there is a different truth that has received far too little attention: That the Christians of the late 4th century were comparable to the Taliban in their religious extremism, their desire to exterminate unbelievers, and their zeal to utterly and completely destroy what they perceived as false idols. The Taliban comparison has been made by Oxford scholar Eberhard Sauer in his recent publication, The Archaeology of Religious Hatred [1], which details, based on archaeological evidence, the true extent of the religiously motivated iconoclasm in the declining Roman Empire.
You should be thankful that Wikipedia subscribes to a neutrality policy because a paper that is as extremely biased from start to finish as yours would not make it into any other encyclopedia. This neutrality policy also assures that you cannot remove the facts from this article which contradict your prejudices.—Eloquence 23:42, Jan 20, 2004 (UTC)

Again, I have removed your biased last passage and the desciption of me as an apologist. Also, note that the paper, a cool 9000 words long, does not make much mention of the museum as it is not about the museum. Also, we do not know for a fact it survived to the fourth century.

We know from the Suda that Theon of Alexandria, Hypatia's father, worked in the Museum. That wouldn't make much sense if the Museum did no longer exist, would it?—Eloquence

We think it probably did. Finally, you (now delered) last paragraph stated that Christians destroyed the evidence that you accept is lacking about their alleged destruction of the library.

That is completely incorrect. The last paragraph states: "later generations .. may have decided to alter or not to preserve the historical records". It does not state that they did, nor does it state that they "destroyed" evidence. 99% of ancient records we have today were copied by medieval monks, and no modern scholar has any doubts about the fact that there was a selection process involved. For example, encyclopedias and most works of popular science were not preserved, whereas philosophy, especially when compatible with the Christian faith, was copied. It is hardly a "conspiracy theory" to suggest that records of the deliberate destruction of the greatest library of ancient times may not have been preserved.—Eloquence

This is a conspiracy theory - the lack of evidence is the evidence.

Such as your lack of evidence for the destruction of the Library of Alexandria by Caesar until Plutarch, which you see as evidence for an act of cover-up by Caesar's cronies that lasted over 150 years?—Eloquence

Besides, as these self same Christians mention the murder of Hypatia (which we know was unpopular)

We know almost nothing about Hypatia's life and death, nor about the motives behind her murder. What we do know is that she had allies among the Christians, and this is probably the only reason we know about her death at all.—Eloquence

the loss of the library of Antioch and many other things that we might think they'd rather avoid, your point is untenable.

Interesting logic. Because we know about some bad things Christians have done, they could not have covered up the worst?—Eloquence

Furthermore, why do you think that destroying a pagan library would be SO embarressing that someone would eliminate it from all the sources.

Not if it was any old pagan library, no. But you and I both know that the Library of Alexandria was not any old library. It was both the archive and the symbol of all ancient knowledge.—Eloquence

The only embarrassment is your own at the lack of evidence.

Such as the fact that Theodosisus ordered all pagan temples to be destroyed? Such as the well documented destruction of the Serapeum? Such as Orosius writing about books which were taken from the temples "by our own people, in our time"? If you were the unbiased scholar you claim you are, you would notice that we only have puzzle pieces of what happened, even regarding events we know something about, but these puzzle pieces tell us that this was a period of deliberate destruction of the remnants of paganism in the city of Alexandria. It is no coincidence that John of Nikiu gloated about Hypatia's death: "And all the people surrounded the patriarch Cyril and named him 'the new Theophilus'; for he had destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city."
The article is not saying that the Christians destroyed the Library, it is saying that this is one possibility that is consistent with the historical record. The Caesar theory is not, and I think you know at least that much.—Eloquence 16:49, Jan 24, 2004 (UTC)

James Hannam, Pembroke College, Cambridge (

You are beginning to bore me. First, Plutarch would not have said Caesar destroyed the library if it was still standing. Nor would Aulus Gellius or even Marcellinus. I don't know if Caesar did it but as we know the library no longer existed when Plutarch told the story in about 100AD he is the prime suspect.

Second, the Great Library is a myth. It never contained 500,000 scrolls and all knowledge. We have no information about it dating to when it was in existance apart from an apocyphal Jewish work intended to sanctify the septuagint. Read my paper and start acting like a critical historian and not an apologist. You seem to swallow anything that makes Christianity look bad and downplay the stuff that makes it look good.

Third, Orosius refers to book chests that Christians emptied. This is inconsistant with a rampaging mob destroying the library. We know Christians emptying the temples but we have no evidence whatsoever that they destroyed what they removed. Read my paper and you will find out that the Serapeum was saacked decades earlier and after that event the (Christian) sacker suddenly was in possession of such a large library the emperor himself took an interest. You might also like to speculate about what happened to that library. I think you'll find my paper is not entirely against what you would like to believe.

Anyway, shall we label the rest of the article as being by a libertarian atheist? That's what you are by your own admission but I don't see a health warning attached to all your work.


James Hannam, Pembroke College, Cambridge (

"First, Plutarch would not have said Caesar destroyed the library if it was still standing. ... Second, the Great Library is a myth." Ah, so Caesar destroyed a myth. That makes perfect sense. The reason serious historians have utterly and completely rejected the Caesar theory is that it is essentially based on a single account by a single historian of questionable reliability 150 years after the alleged incident. You yourself have called this fact "distressing". And that is not the only problem with the Caesar claim -- many others are discussed in the article, the physical impossibility of it being true not the least of them.
As for the library being a "myth", your paper ironically quotes Seneca to establish the lower number for the whole Library, where Seneca only referred to the destruction of some volumes, not to the burning of the entire library! We have records of private libraries which carried 50,000 scrolls, the early records about the library write about seeding it with about 250,000 scrolls. Most sources which cite any numbers use the 500,000-700,000 one. You are correct, however, that these are scrolls, not books, so it is fair to perhaps divide the number by 4 to arrive at the number of codices.
You cite Casson to establish that the libraries of the ancient world were exaggerated in size. This claim is nonsensical, however, as Casson's research is based on the number of armaria found in archaeological evidence. However, armaria were only intended for the most valuable books -- less valuable ones were simply stored in large magazines. As for Herculnaeum, the Villa of the Papyri has not even been fully excavated! What has been retrieved so far is a minority of books that was found in the corridors. Oxford scholars led by Dirk Obbink are currently lobbying heavily to get permission to start excavating the whole Library, which is in great danger of being damaged by rainwater, but permission has so far been mysteriously withheld by the local authorities.
As for the fate of the Serapeum, read the article -- it never claims that a library existed at the time of its destruction. It may well have been ransacked earlier, either to fall into some private collection (which is unlikely to have survived for more than one or two generations), or to be destroyed. What we do know is that if any books were still in there in 391, they were silently destroyed by Theophile's men. I think you should pay closer attention to Orosius -- why does a Christian writer condemning the pagans find it notable to mention that books were removed from the temples, when it is well known that pagans were brutally murdered and their temples destroyed? And why does no other source tell us anything about this fact? The fact that Orosius mentions it indicates that the event was significant. The fact that others don't mention it indicates that some cover-up has taken place.
"Anyway, shall we label the rest of the article as being by a libertarian atheist?" Hardly, as the article does not reflect my opinion (and for the record, I'm not a libertarian). In fact, I don't even believe that the Christians necessarily destroyed the Library. It may have well been moved to Byzantium in silent agreement with the pagan faction of the city. However, this article is not the place for such idle speculation. What we do know is that all pagan temples which were in Alexandria in 391 were destroyed. The Serapeum was among these, the Museum almost certainly was, and the Library (including its books) may well have been. What we also know is that the Caesar story does not possess any credibility. You would do your own a great favor by acknowledging these facts.—Eloquence 16:08, Jan 25, 2004 (UTC)

Eloquence, please grow up.

The last paragraph of the article is pure speculation.

Only the part "who may have decided to alter or not to preserve the historical records in order to conceal it" is speculative, and that part is necessary in order to explain why there is no record of the destruction of the library.—Eloquence

You have no evidence to support it. If Christians wanted to show they couldn't have destroyed the library they would just have added a passage to Caesar's account admitting guilt. Or added it to one of Cicero's Phillippics or something.

You obviously haven't thought much about this issue. First, you have to ask the question, if a forgery took place, when did it happen? Who did it? Which books did they have access to? Did they have access to all copies of these books? Did they know they had access to all copies? All this limits the possible sources that could have been changed and/or omitted.—Eloquence

You are alleging a campaign to remove references to the Christian destruction of the library from all records

I doubt that many such records ever existed. Did the Taliban keep records of their iconoclasm? Hardly.—Eloquence

.. but for some reason these people didn't take the obvious step of providing some evidence Caesar did it.

What kind of evidence would that be?—Eloquence

A paragraph that alleges the records were tampered with

It does no such thing. Read it again.—Eloquence

.. when you have no evidence for that at all is NPOV. Anybody can see that. You yourself say that this is no place for specualtion so you yourself should support the removal of this paragraph.

You fail to answer the point about Plutarch saying a library that you claim existed in his time was destroyed earlier. Nor why Aulus Gellius says the same thing.

Plutarch talks about the destruction of a "great library" almost casually -- hardly what you would expect from someone who writes about the destruction of the greatest library of the ancient times. It might have been tampered with, it might be a misunderstanding on his part, a mistranslation, an error in copying, a different "great library" etc. - We don't know. What we do know is that the Library and Museum existed beyond Caesar, and that the destruction by Caesar was physically impossible.—Eloquence

You think this library was massive beyond belief and yet at least two authors could say it was already destroyed. That is a ridiculous conclusion and something has got to give. Either the library was destroyed earlier or it wasn't up to much when P and AG were writing.

Only Plutarch speaks of the destruction of the "great library". Aulus Gellius speaks of the destruction of 700,000 scrolls, and this is repeated with nearly the exact wording by Ammianus Marcellinus, but with a different number: 70,000 scrolls. So this can be easily explained as a typo in copying. Seneca and Dio Cassius give us a pretty good idea of what really happened: About 40,000-70,000 books in a storehouse near the harbor, destined for export, were accidentally burned by Caesar's attack. This was a relatively minor loss, which explains why most sources don't mention it.

So the only source that remains somewhat mysterious is Plutarch. With this mess of contradictory data, I'd say this is easily the best possible result -- and the only question that remains to be answered is why Plutarch casually spoke of the destruction of a "great library" if it still existed at the time. Tampering is only one possible answer.—Eloquence

However, I am not arguing for Caesar doing the deed as the evidence is too slim. But you say he could not have done it which goes too far.

Hardly, as we have direct evidence for the library's existence beyond Caesar.—Eloquence

Finally, your touching faith in the figures given by ancient sources is noted.

Hardly, see above.—Eloquence

Sadly it is not something a critical historian can ever believe as we learn with ancient battle accounts etc. There is no evidence for further works in the Villa of the Papyri (more specualtion, though a tempting thought)

It is most likely that there is, since most of the Villa hasn't been excavated.—Eloquence

.. we have unearthed the Pergamon library and many others.

As noted above, the archaeological evidence is not on your side as you claim it is.—Eloquence

None come close to the size you allege for Alex. The Pinakes are further evidence for a smaller figure as I explain in my paper.

Not really. Think copies and volumes. We are talking about 500,000 scrolls, not about 500,000 works.—Eloquence

So, my point the numbers are probably exaggerations is very well grounded in comparitive archaeology and other surving clues.

No, it's grounded in neither. But I have to commend you for studying the sources, even if you don't fully understand them. See also my point above re: armaria.—Eloquence

Now just accept that you lost the argument and I am leaving most of your article intact even though I don't think it deserves it. Note I have not changed your exoneration of Caesar either.

Keep trying.—Eloquence


James Hannam Pembroke College, Cambridge

Based on the above discussions, I have rephrased the last paragraph slightly.—Eloquence 19:37, Jan 25, 2004 (UTC)

I'll accept your compromise on the last paragraph. I note you conceed your sources for the total number of scrolls are misprints from AG and Sen.

The post-Seneca numbers all refer to a minor event of destruction in a harbor storehouse and are therefore not relevant to the size of the Library. The fact that this event was not regarded as very significant gives us a hint at the true size of the Library, and the letter of Aristeas provides the only definitive data, which is consistent in size with data we have about other ancient libraries.—Eloquence

We also have the Letter of Aristeas(sp?) which says 500,000 but that is a peice of Jewish religious writing intended to validate the Septugint.

We don't accept the figures in other ancient Jewish writing of the period (ie. the Old Testament) do we? :). The other sources are simply too late to be valuable so the numbers game is basically a castle built in the air.

Our estimates for the total size are certainly rough, but there is no reason to conclude that the data we have is exaggerated.—Eloquence

I must insist on the removal of the Christian apologist reference. This is simply a question of courtesy. I am a professional scholar and it is extremely rude for my motives in a particular work are impuned in this way. The fact that my site shows where I am coming from is sufficient and others should be allowed to make their decision on the basis of my work.

Well, if you don't want to be called an apologist, you should not call yourself an apologist. Fairly straight-forward, no? In any case, the phrasing "from a Christian apologist perspective" might be read as implying bias; I have rephrased the attribution so that it is perfectly factual.—Eloquence

BTW, I will be adding the inscription in this Wiki article to my paper and would like to supply a link to your copy of it. I presume this is OK.

Of course.—Eloquence


James Hannam Pembroke College, Cambridge

this could use a mention of the modern day library at Alexandria, as well as modern libraries 'carrying on the tradition of' the library at alexandria, such as Pedant 19:16, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

bede needs to work on his spelling. Anyway, what's wrong with using Encyclopædia Britannica as a source? lysdexia 06:18, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Acknowledging at least two points of view here

I consider this article to be POV because it pushes the idea of destruction by Theophilus with neither proof nor the undivided agreement of scholarship. If I find some time, I will be reworking the article to reflect that there are at least two, possibly three, points of view on the destruction of the library. I would state the arguments but not slant it so that one appears more clearly favored by Wikipedia. --Peter Kirby 09:58, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Theophilus' pillage was the library at the Serapeum. --Wetman 18:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Biblothica Alexandrina

There should be an entry under "Biblothica Alexandrina" to redirect to this one under "Library of Alexandria". (anon)

Not every library in Alexandria is the Library of Alexandria. No redirect is required from the recently founded Bibliotheca. --Wetman 18:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Difference with Greek version

A Greek user has sent the following e-mail to the Help Desk.

"It fell to my attention that, in the Greek-language Wikipedia website, the destruction of Alexandria Library is presented quite differently than in the English-language one. I noticed that in the former account its destruction by the Christians is presented as rather questionable and controversial an issue, compared with the the latter. According to the English-language website, the role of the Christians in its destruction is, indeed, undeniable. I wonder, is there an explanation for this striking difference between the two accounts?"

In my reply, I stated that the most likely version is that different editors worked on each version.

Capitalistroadster 05:24, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

I was involved with Eloquence in an editing war here before I got bored. This article is basically rubbish. The Greek one sounds rather more accurate. That's the problem with Wikipedia. Anti-Christians like eloquence can us it to push their own agendas and to hell with accuracy. Peter Kirby said he'd try and deal with this eventually but has other things on his plate. The article as it stands is pure POV from Eloquence and should be deleted - (anon)
I'm sorry, if you won't sign your name so as to be accountable for your POV, then you do not deserve to be included in this debate. And if you do decide to rejoin the debate, then please keep your "..before I got bored." comments to yourself. For a start, if you got bored, then you obviously do not care enough about the article, and secondly, keep your childish asides out of it. Personally, I do not find it helpful and actually think they reflect badly on you. Thank you - Welshy 12:58, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
I removed the strikethrough you added to his comments, because regardless of your personal opinion about who deserves to be included, that's just not the done thing. A.J.A. 20:00, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I apologise. In my defence, I spent some time serching for an IP, or a tag for the comment in question but couldn't seem to locate when and by whom it was created. It frustrated me - Welshy 00:18, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

The confusion is with the Christian mob incited by their bishop that sacked the Serapeum, another Alexandrian library entirely, and an event well documented from exultant Christian sources. No agenda required. --Wetman 18:31, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
None of the sources, exaltant or otherwise, mention a library. We know from Ammianus Marcellinus that the library was already gone at the time. Ignoring this evidence certainly requires an agenda. --James Hannam 10:36, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

NPOV tag

I received a request on my talk page from Bede to add this tag as follows.

Please could you flag this article as POV. I understand there is a special flag you use for such articles and this is certainly one. Best wishes. Capitalistroadster 18:18, 28 November 2005 (UTC)