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Ancient libraries

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

According to Hecataeus, whose extensive account is quoted by Diodorus Siculus, the magnificent and opulent tomb of the Egyptian king Ozymandias contained a sacred library with the inscription: “Healing-Place of the Soul”1.

In antiquity, the most famous were the Pergamon Library and the Library of Alexandria, where, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, nearly 700,000 volumes were destroyed during a fire2.

Education, and in particular acquiring knowledge in antiquity, was a priority. Diodorus managed to reflect on this personally:

The acquisition of [historical knowledge] is the most useful thing for all the chances of life3.

However, according to Lucian of Samosata:

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life4.

Author: Waldemar Owczarczak (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  1. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica I:49.3
  2. Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae 22/16:13
  3. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica I:1.4
  4. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues 1

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