Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria

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Library of Alexandria

Ammianus Marcellinus, Histories 22.16.13–14

Barnes, R. (2004) ‘Cloistered bookworms in the chicken-coop of the Muses: the ancient library of Alexandria’ in MacLeod, R. (ed.) The Library of Alexandria: Centre of Learning in the Ancient World, London and New York, I.B. Tauris, p. 71.

In addition there are [in Alexandria] temples with elevated roofs, among which the Serapeum stands out. Although it cannot be done justice with an inadequate description, it is so adorned with great columned halls, and statuary which seems almost alive, and a great number of other works, that, apart from the Capitolium, by which the venerable city of Rome claims eternal renown, nothing more magnificent can be seen in the whole world. In this temple were libraries beyond calculation, and the trustworthy testimony of ancient records agrees that 700,000 books, brought together by the unsleeping care of the Ptolemaic kings, were burned in the Alexandrian war, when the city was sacked under the dictator Caesar.

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