Historic Greece and Rome had loads of literature, however virtually none of it survives right now. What precisely turned of just about every thing written down in Western antiquity is the topic of the video above by ancient-history Youtube channel Instructed in Stone, beforehand featured right here on Open Tradition for its investigations into every thing from the Colosseum and the Pantheon to Roman nightlife and the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. However none of its previous movies has fairly as a lot relevance to this specific story as the one on the burning of the Library of Alexandria.
Described by narrator Garret Ryan as “the best of all historical libraries,” the Library of Alexandria might have contained between 532,800 and 700,000 volumes in scroll kind, all of them misplaced by the point Julius Caesar burned it down in 48 B.C..
Even so, “the lack of all however a tiny fraction of historical literature was not caused by the disappearance of a single library. It was, as a substitute, the consequence of the fundamental fragility of texts earlier than the appearance of printing.” Papyrus, the pre-paper writing materials first developed in historical Egypt, actually couldn’t stand the check of time: in comparatively humid western Europe, “most papyri needed to be recopied each century or so.”
Plus ça change: even, and maybe particularly, in our digital period, long-term information archival has turned out to necessitate common motion from one storage medium to the following. However maybe our civilization will show luckier with the method than the Roman Empire, whose collapse meant that “the elites who had historically commissioned new copies all however vanished. Far fewer manuscripts had been produced, and those who had been tended to serve the actual functions of faith, schooling, and the technical disciplines.” For these and different causes, only a few classics made it to the Center Ages, and thus to the Renaissance. However even in the event you don’t have a lot to check, so the latter period gloriously demonstrated, you may greater than compensate by learning it onerous.
Associated content material:
What Was Truly Misplaced When the Library of Alexandria Burned?
How Egyptian Papyrus Is Made: Watch Artisans Preserve a 5,000-12 months-Outdated Artwork Alive
The Rise and Fall of the Nice Library of Alexandria: An Animated Introduction
The Turin Erotic Papyrus: The Oldest Recognized Depiction of Human Sexuality (Circa 1150 B.C.E.)
How Historic Scrolls, Charred by the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, Are Now Being Learn by Particle Accelerators, 3D Modeling & Synthetic Intelligence
Primarily based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embrace the Substack publication Books on Cities, the e book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by way of Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.
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