The Glory of the Library of Alexandria

Alexander had already devoted considerable sums to finance the enquiries of Aristotle, but Ptolemy I was the first person to make a permanent endowment of science. He set up a foundation in Alexandria which was formerly dedicated to the Muses, the Museum {151}of Alexandria. For two or three generations the scientific work done at Alexandria was extraordinarily good. Euclid, Eratosthenes who measured the size of the earth and came within fifty miles of its true diameter, Apollonius who wrote on conic sections, Hipparchus who made the first star map and catalogue, and Hero who devised the first steam engine are among the greater stars of an extraordinary constellation of scientific pioneers. Archimedes came from Syracuse to Alexandria to study, and was a frequent correspondent of the Museum. Herophilus was one of the greatest of Greek anatomists, and is said to have practised vivisection.

For a generation or so during the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II there was such a blaze of knowledge and discovery at Alexandria as the world was not to see again until the sixteenth century A.D. But it did not continue. There may have been several causes of this decline. Chief among them, the late Professor Mahaffy suggested, was the fact that the Museum was a “royal” college and all its professors and fellows were appointed and paid by Pharaoh. This was all very well when Pharaoh was Ptolemy I, the pupil and friend of Aristotle. But as the dynasty of the Ptolemies went on they became Egyptianized, they fell under the sway of Egyptian priests and Egyptian religious developments, they ceased to follow the work that was done, and their control stifled the spirit of enquiry altogether. The Museum produced little good work after its first century of activity.


The star scientists and inventions that came out of it's first century.

Folksonomies: history knowledge discovery library

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Ptolemy I Soter (0.944358): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Euclid (0.739414): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Alexandria (0.738909): geo | website | dbpedia | freebase | yago | geonames
Library of Alexandria (0.712064): geo | website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Ptolemy II Philadelphus (0.644226): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Alexander the Great (0.642201): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Ptolemaic dynasty (0.577052): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Science (0.567253): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 H. G. Wells: The Outline of History (2 Volumes)
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Wells , H.G (1949), H. G. Wells: The Outline of History (2 Volumes), Garden City Books, Retrieved on 2011-06-19
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