measuring what we’ve lost

The meme at the bottom of this post really spoke to me. I do get upset thinking about the Library of Alexandria.

I was a classics major at Pitzer College. I studied Greek and Latin along with the history, literature, mythology, and art & archaeology of the classical world. In addition to all that we have, I think about all that we are missing.

Take the tragedians, for example. We have seven plays by Aeschylus, but we have the names of sixty-eight others. We also have seven plays by Sophocles, but the names of another 116. We have nineteen surviving plays by Euripides but sixty-one other titles.

Then there’s Aristotle. We have nothing of his own work, only what are in essence his students’ notes.

There is a Homeric comedic epic poem called Margites which the Aristotle we have mentions, but for which we have no manuscript.

Think of how many of these works we might have today had the library at Alexandria survived.

Yes, I get upset thinking about the Library of Alexandria.

Alexandria



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