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Demise Of The Daughter Library

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Chapter Summary

The promulgation of an imperial decree by Theodosius I in 391 A.D. to put an end to pagan cults throughout the empire inspired fear among many of the worshippers of the old gods. Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, was able to obtain the Emperor's approval to transform the Temple of Dionysus into a church. Backed by this imperial decree, Theophilus led a fanatic mob who ran amok in the temple, destroying, demolishing and plundering. But apologists continue to resent the implications of such a total destruction, and questioned whether it included the collection of books which constituted a part of the Great Library, known as the 'Daughter Library.' The chapter shows that the war against pagan cults did not spare pagan books; and in the light of Aphthonius' account, there can hardly be any doubt that the attack put an end to the temple and the Daughter Library.

Keywords: Alexandria; Aphthonius; Daughter Library; pagan books; Temple of Dionysus; Theodosius



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