Inspiration is the key!
In the last part of this series, the Bright Old Oak will dedicate this blog post to the Ancient Library of Alexandria. The term ‘abstract‘ does not really grasp the sense of loss and the absence of a cultural place of such importance for humanity as this one. Founded by Ptolemy I Soter or perhaps his son Ptolemy II in or around 283 BC, the place was closely connected to the figure of Aristotle, one of the major philosophers of the ancient times and still a very important influence in the world of today. Demetrius of Phaleron was, in fact, one of his students and it is him who apparently worked around the earliest projects of the library. The building was to be built in a relatively new urban settlement: Alexandria. The place had been established by another one of Aristotle’s pupils: Alexander the Great. You can imagine the level of importance of such place just by citing the key figures involved in the place.
All possible written knowledge of the world of the time was gathered here. The library held such strong authority that it collected all books coming nearby the area by all means of travel and allowed the owners of such books to get copies in return. A part from that, it is probable that all books were to be gathered in the shelves of the library and that the people of Alexandria were required to give up their own books.
Most of the “Abstract architectures” considered in this short series refers to places one can only visit through the use of their own imagination. Concerning the Library of Alexandria, a tribute to the ancient site has been built ten years ago. Despite its humbling place in the world of today, the new Library is a tribute to the Library that was and a tentative to establish a centre for the diffusion of knowledge and the encouragement for researches. What makes the ancient Library even more abstract is the fact that its destruction is as uncertain as much as its foundation: was it because of Julius Caesar’s fire in 48 BC? Or many years after, during the attack of Aurelian in 270 AD? Other dates have been proposed, but nothing is certain to this date.
Eight years ago, a team of archaeologists from Poland and Egypt uncovered a giant building which could have been the ancient Library of Alexandria. However, it turned out it could not have been it, as it that building seemed to have been built many years after. While the infinite search for what remains of the building continues, we can only imagine what amazing source of information and knowledge of the ancient world this Library could have been to us.