Historical Events  Geography
Library of Alexandria



How many books were lost when it was destroyed?

It was a noble goal - to house a copy of every book in the world in one place. That was the vision of the rulers of Alexandria 2,300 years ago. They built a library with huge storage areas to house the scrolls, and it attracted scholars the world over to study and contribute.

However, in the year 5 BC it was said to be destroyed in a catastrophic fire. The legend is this was a disaster for all mankind, and the loss of such irretrievable knowledge "set mankind back 1000 years". Many people have been led to believe this, and it comes as such a shock to them to hear no books or scrolls were lost, that it's being pointed to as a Mandela Effect.

Steam engine

The notion that mankind was set back so much is backed up by the fact the library contained a design for a working steam engine. Had this been developed fully at the time, the industrial revolution could have occurred much earlier.

The Google of ancient Alexandria

Julius Caesar burnt the harbour and boats of Alexandria during the Roman war with the Greeks, but whilst this may have been the origin of the fire myth, the library itself wasn't destroyed since it was in continual use for centuries following this. The city changed hands many times, from roman to Christian and eventually Muslim. Each new occupation saw its leaders destroy the older works for religious reasons, since the saw this knowledge as a threat to their position.

It's an interesting thought: were the people of the time discussing changes to the text in those works which people remembered differently, and if so did they have their own term for the Mandela Effect?