Being the philistine that I am, with an almost purely science-based education until about 15 years ago, I hadn’t heard of this Lost Wonder of the Ancient World.
So now we have the go-ahead from Jeanette Winterson and her publishers, I thought it was time to do a little research.
After quickly scanning Wikipedia for a brief overview, my first question was whether this library had been depicted in any famous paintings. But the answer appears to be no, at least according to google.
However, I did discover an Oliver Stone movie entitled Alexander the Great, in which it was recreated. Below is a shot of the atrium from the movie. I’m sure it’s absolutely historically accurate!!
Google images did reveal a few more representations of the library, and the one below seems somewhat in keeping with Winterson’s vision, at least in terms of the ladders, if not the small boys like chimney sweeps.
I found it pretty interesting that the controversy of how the library was destroyed (was it down to Julius Caesar, Emperor Aurelian, Pope Theophilus or the Muslim army of Amr ibn al ‘Aas?) still provokes heated debate, especially amongst a certain style of blogger. If you’re interested, there’s one here and here, but be warned: conservative political views are rife.
To finish off I couldn’t resist posting these pictures of the current library. I love this wall with 120 different scripts and the book sculptures (below).
Both these pictures by Danos