Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Fate of ancient Egyptian library a mystery

The Bismarck Tribune (Carol M. Russell)

No one can find Alexander the Great. He was buried in Alexandria after his body was brought back from Babylon where he died in 323 BC at age 33. Theories of his death range from poisoning to appendicitis.

Why can't he be found? Ancient Alexandria lies under modern Alexandria and into the Mediterranean Sea as well. If you want to see the city of Alexander and Cleopatra, you will have to dig or dive.

The city still yields ancient surprises. At a 1900 construction site, a donkey fell through the earth into an abyss of catacombs that dated to the 2nd century BC. Poor donkey.

The Library of Alexandria, intellectual center of the ancient world, stands like the elephant in the room surrounded by great drama during its development and destruction. Today a new library, called the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, built under the auspices of UNESCO and the Egyptian government, opened in 2002 on what is thought to be the site of its famous ancient predecessor.

The story starts when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt.

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