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The Destruction Of The Library Of Alexandria: An Archaeological Viewpoint

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Chapter Summary

The debate surrounding the destruction of the Library among modern writers has taken a rather striking ideological dimension. Lucan and Dio Cassius recount how, as he tried to out-manoeuvre the attacking Alexandrians from the heights of the royal palaces, he set fire to vessels anchored in the Eastern Harbour. This action led to the burning of an apothiki full of papyri and this has been interpreted as the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. It should be emphasised that excavations at Alexandria are undertaken without directly being attached to the search for any specific monument. Aside from the research so well executed by the Polish mission within the archaeological park of Kom el-Dikka, there are no systematic excavations here in Alexandria. The history of Alexandria was particularly troubled during the second half of the third century A.D. First of all, Queen Zenobia of Palmyra invaded the town in 269.

Keywords: Dio Cassius; Kom el-Dikka; Library of Alexandria; Queen Zenobia; royal palaces



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