Philosophical Europe ||| The Political Progress ||| European Witness ||| EU News
European Forum ||| Special Homages: Meister Eckhart / David Copperfield
From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
III. MINGLING OF EAST AND WEST AFTER 359 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 20
THE ALEXANDRIAN LIBRARY
In addition to the Museum there was a splendid library, which at one time contained over five hundred thousand manuscripts—almost everything that had been written in antiquity. The chief librarian ransacked private collections and purchased all the books he could find. Every book that entered Egypt was brought to the Library, where slaves transcribed the manuscript and gave a copy to the owner in place of the original. Before this time the manuscripts of celebrated works were often scarce and always in danger of being lost. Henceforth it was known where to look for them.
The Hellenistic Age was remarkable for the rapid advance of scientific knowledge. Most of the mathematical works of the Greeks date from this epoch. Euclid wrote a treatise on geometry which still holds its place in the schools. Archimedes of Syracuse, who had once studied at Alexandria, made many discoveries in engineering. A water screw of his device is still in use. He has the credit for finding out the laws of the lever. "Give me a fulcrum on which to rest," he said, "and I will move the earth." The Hellenistic scholars also made remarkable progress in medicine. The medical school of Alexandria was well equipped with charts, models, and dissecting rooms for the study of the human body. During the second century of our era all the medical knowledge of antiquity was gathered up in the writings of Galen (born about 130 A.D.). For more than a thousand years Galen of Pergamum remained the supreme authority in medicine.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy