Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Burning Books About Burning Books

Virtually every news story about Laura Bush's visit to Egypt mentiones that she visited the new library, erected at the site of the ancient Library of Alexandria, "which was destroyed in the first century".

I don't know where this fabrication came from, but Encyclopaedia Britannica and other reputable sources say that the Library was destroyed by order of the Christian emperor Theodosius in 391. It had suffered partial destruction earlier, most likely during the civil war in 3rd century, and perhaps also in the 1st century BCE (Plutarch, two centuries later, blamed Caesar for a fire, but the authenticity of that account is questionable). I have not found any references to a 1st century destruction, and it is certain that the Library existed after that time.

So is this an attempt to rewrite history and hide the embarrassing fact that Christians burned the library? If so, rewriting history is really equivalent to burning books, and what White House Christians may be doing is burning books that tell how Imperial Christians burned books...

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