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Old December 25th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #21

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[quote=Bart Dale;1285888]
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Upon further research, I do owe the movie a little apology. The destruction of the Library at the Temple of Serapis was based on Edward Giibbon's "This History of the the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", so the movie may be forgiven for that. However, Gibbon's source, Sozomen, says nothing about the destruction of any library, only the Serapis temple.
The Temple of the Serapeum was a part of the Great Library which existed in several parts. The Temple of the Serapeum was a secondary annex that held numerous volumes that still existed after the main library was burned down by the Romans under Julius Ceasar.
An even later attack by the Arabs on what remained of the Great Library finished off this the greatest compendium of ancient writings.
There were three destructions of the Great Library and the one referred to in the film Agora may have possibly been the worst.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 12:48 PM   #22
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Interesting look at the movie's historical inaccuracies here.

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The main piece Amenábar got wrong is Theon’s and Hypatia’s relationship to the Serapeum. In the movie, Theon is a “director” and makes the decision to attack the Christians. Hypatia teaches there, her students are among those who shelter there, and she valiantly organizes people to “save the library” by personally hauling out as many scrolls as possible. In reality, there is no evidence that either Theon or Hypatia were connected to the Serapeum in any way. They weren’t “pagan” in the traditional sense of worshiping multiple gods. In fact, Hypatia taught her students that there was one god, which they could know through meditation and study—particularly study of “divine mathematics.” There is some evidence that she and Theophilus held each other in mutual respect.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 12:52 PM   #23
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Sounds like a good movie, maybe I could try it in the future
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Old December 25th, 2012, 08:07 PM   #24

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I saw it on netflix, it filmed to bash christians. Not too much of the historical fiction action documentary I wanted to see.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #25

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarin View Post
The Temple of the Serapeum was a secondary annex that held numerous volumes that still existed after the main library was burned down by the Romans under Julius Ceasar.
Proof please.

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There were three destructions of the Great Library
Correct.

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and the one referred to in the film Agora may have possibly been the worst.
Incorrect.

The alleged 'destruction of the Great Library' referred to in Agora did not actually occur. The Serapeum was not a library and there is no evidence that it ever contained one.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #26

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I loved the movie. Having lived in Greece, I've seen the results of early Christian fanatism towards anything related to the pre-Christian world. I wouldn't say the movie exaggerates that much.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 01:27 PM   #27

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I enjoyed the movie because it is set in the Late Roman Empire, which is refreshing as few movies about this period are made. Yes, it is historically inaccurate and the burning of the Great Library didn't take place at that time but nonetheless, I still liked it.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:25 PM   #28

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Originally Posted by Sankari View Post
Proof please.
The alleged 'destruction of the Great Library' referred to in Agora did not actually occur. The Serapeum was not a library and there is no evidence that it ever contained one.
Just type in the Great Library of Alexandria into your search engine. The wiki article clearly states the the Temple of the Serapeum was used as a daughter library after Julius Ceasar accidentally burned down the main one. And that this library was also destroyed near the end of the fourth Century CE at around the same time as Hypatia lived. A later destruction of the remains of the Great Library also took place under the Arabs.
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Old December 30th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #29
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Thanks for sharing. Didnt know about Agora.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 11:57 AM   #30

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarin View Post
Just type in the Great Library of Alexandria into your search engine. The wiki article clearly states the the Temple of the Serapeum was used as a daughter library after Julius Ceasar accidentally burned down the main one. And that this library was also destroyed near the end of the fourth Century CE at around the same time as Hypatia lived. A later destruction of the remains of the Great Library also took place under the Arabs.
What the Wiki article actually says, correctly, is that while the Serapeum held a daughter library at one point, the evidence shows that it no longer did so when the mob destroyed the temple in 391. Ammianus refers to the libraries in the Serapeum in the past tense when he described the temple in the 370s, and he seems to have visited Alexandria in the mid Fourth Century and so is describing it from first hand.

The temple was derelict when it was used as a base for pagan zealots who began attacking and killing Christians, which led to the temple's destruction. There are five separate accounts of this event, two of them hostile, and none of them make any mention of a library. This includes the account of the anti-Christian philosopher Eunapius of Sardis, who goes on to pour scorn on Christians for their destruction of the temple and would have mentioned the destruction of a precious library if one had still been there.

Given the temple had been derelict for some time, given Ammianus' use of the past tense when mentioning the library collections and given the evidence of the five accounts of the Serapeum's destruction,. the idea that a library was destroyed in 391 is fanciful, on the basis of the evidence.

The stories of Caliph Omar destroying a library in Alexandria are very late and not supported by solid evidence. They too seem to be fanciful. No writer talks about the Great Library in anything but the past tense after the time of Caesar and what remnants of it may have survived his burning of the collection would have been destroyed when the Royal Quarter was burned by Aurelian's army in 272.

As delicious as the idea of a wicked Christian mob burning "the Great Library of Alexandria" (or a remnant of it) thus ushering in the "dark ages" may be for some, it's a myth.
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