1. A city of northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea at the western tip of the Nile Delta. It was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. and became a repository of Jewish, Arab, and Hellenistic culture famous for its extensive libraries. Its pharos (lighthouse) was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Population, 2,821,000.
2. A city of central Louisiana on the Red River northwest of Baton Rouge. The original city was destroyed by Union troops in May 1864 during the Civil War. Population, 49,188.
3. An independent city of northern Virginia on the Potomac River opposite Washington, D.C. Primarily a residential suburb of the capital, the city has many historic buildings, including Gadsby's Tavern, built in 1752. George Washington helped lay out the streets in 1749. Population, 111,183.
city (1986 pop. 2,917,327), N Egypt, on the Mediterranean Sea, W of the
Nile R. delta. The city is Egypt's leading port, a commercial and transportation
center, and the heart of a major industrial area with such manufactures
as refined petroleum, textiles, processed food, paper, and plastics. Founded
in 332 B.C. by ALEXANDER THE GREAT, Alexandria was (304 B.C.-30 B.C.) the
capital of the PTOLEMIES. The city was the greatest center of Hellenistic
and Jewish culture. It had a great university and two celebrated royal
libraries, but their valuable collections have not survived. Alexandria
became part of the empire of ROME in 30 B.C. and later of the BYZANTINE
EMPIRE. The Muslim Arabs took the city in 642 A.D. After Cairo became (969)
Egypt's capital, Alexandria declined. It fell to NAPOLEON I in 1798 and
to the British in 1801. During WORLD WAR II the city was the chief Allied
naval base in the E Mediterranean. At a 1944 meeting in Alexandria, plans
for the ARAB LEAGUE were drawn up. A few of Alexandria's ancient monuments
are still visible. The Greco-Roman Museum houses a vast collection of Coptic,
Roman, and Greek art.
48 BC- 640 AD: The Library
of Alexandria in Egypt (along with the vast majority of its irreplaceable
treasures of human history and knowledge) is repeatedly damaged, then finally destroyed, in a series of man-made catastrophes. Humanity now loses yet another enormous piece of its collective memory, knowledge, and history. Human civilization's substantial amnesia in regards to its past grows by perhaps several entire magnitudes with this latest blow.
Alexandria's information is aggressively collected from roughly 300 BC through 640 AD (a range of almost 1000 years): master copies of some works are sometimes bought, sometimes stolen; many scrolls from Persian, Indian, African, and Hebrew sources are translated into Greek; original works of documentation are generated from the Library's own local research labs/theaters focusing on subjects like chemistry, botany, astronomy, zoology, and anatomy, as well its sister university classes relating to mathematics, physics, biology, engineering, geography, medicine, and literature. Unfortunately, increasingly large chunks of the library are lost beginning around 48 BC. At its height, the complete Library may have consisted of as many as 550,000 volumes.
_The Tragedy of Alexandria, Feats and Wisdom of the Ancients_, Library of Curious and Unusual Facts, Time-Life Books, 1990]
A harbor fire started by Roman soldiers accidentally destroys several thousand volumes of the library in 48 BC. Fanatical Christians burn and pillage much of the Library and its contents in 391 AD. Around 640 AD Islamic Arab fanatics complete the destruction, burning the remaining books in order to heat their bath water over a period of months.
Humanity may never recover (or realize the full
extent of) all the knowledge and history lost at Alexandria. Note the knowledge
store erased here is a major portion of that native to both the Eurasian
and African continents.