Free course

Library of Alexandria

Free statement of participation on completion

One of the most important questions for any student of the ancient world to address is 'how do we know what we know about antiquity?' Whether we're thinking about urban architecture, or love poetry, or modern drama, a wide range of factors shape the picture of antiquity that we have today. This free course, Library of Alexandria, encourages you to reflect upon and critically assess those factors. Interpreting an ancient text, or a piece of material culture, or understanding an historical event, is never a straightforward process of 'discovery', but is always affected by things such as translation choices, the preservation (or loss) of an archaeological record, or the agendas of scholars.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the ancient and modern significance of the Library of Alexandria
  • critically assess the evidence in the different accounts of its destruction
  • understand the ways in which different modern contexts and ideologies shape our interpretations of historical events.