EVERY TIME SOMEONE BRINGS UP THE LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA I GET SO ANGRY.
Because it got burned. All of that knowledge, lost forever.
The library was destroyed over 1000’s of years ago. The library consisted of thousands of scrolls and books about mathematics, engineering, physiology, geography, blueprints, medicine, plays, & important scriptures. Thinkers from all over the Mediterranean used to come to Alexandria to study.Most of the major work of civilization up until that point was lost. If the library still survived till this day, society may have been more advanced and we would sure know more about the ancient world.
#i feel like this is a slight exageration, #like stuff did happen in the dark ages but renaissance folk thought it was worthless, #and ignored it in favour of classical sources they thought to be more clever, #big mistake, #or maybe it was the enlightenment folk, #anyway, #history, #stuff was lost and it was sad (x)It started in the Italian Renaissance, yeah. Granted, Enlightenment attitudes didn’t help. And I’ll point out that the flat line in the Middle Ages section on that graph not only erases some of the really cool developments that happened in Medieval Europe, but more importantly completely ignores the Middle East, Islamic Spain, and basically the whole rest of the world.You wanna talk societal advancement? How about Ibn Rushd (latinized name: Averröes)? One of the first (possibly the first) people to define force as physicists do today. Started his own branch of philosophy based on Aristotle. Was such a prominent translator of and commentator on that particular philosopher that he was known as the “Commentator” to Aristotle’s “Philosopher.” Wrote works on law, medicine, astronomy, physics, linguistics, and a whole bunch of other topics that you can look up for yourselves.How about Ibn Sina (latinized name: Avicenna)? Wrote on a number of different topics, best known for his medical and philosophical works. Wrote (contrary to those so lauded ancient sources) that stars produce their own light. Oh yeah, and he wrote freaking awesome poetry.How about al-Khwarizmi (latinized name Algoritmi, whence comes our word algorithm)? Considered by some to have invented algebra. Also wrote about astronomy, arithmetic, and geography and included in one of his books a useful way of calculating latitude and longitude that he probably came up with on his own.How about Aryabhata? Indian astronomer from the 6th century CE who came up with his own calculation for the circumference of the Earth, far more accurate than Eratosthenes. Was actually doing what we would consider algebra long before the above dude was born.How about Fatima al-Fihri? Founded the world’s first university in Morocco. It’s still running, by the way.On the European side of things: Hildegard of Bingen (medical works, invented her own language, wrote a whole lot of music), Thomas Aquinas (philosophy and cool logic stuff among other things), Peter Abelard (more philosophy, music), and so many more but this is a list I’ve come up with in a few minutes and don’t feel like actually googling further.I’m not saying a bunch of really important and interesting stuff wasn’t lost and that we might not be further advanced had the library not burned. It was absolutely a great tragedy. But to use that to imply that there was no development at all afterwards is frankly insulting.Side note: I absolutely adore the fact quoted above about book seizure by the Ptolemies. I learned about it my Hellenistic Civ. class a few years ago. There were quotes about book piracy.
Let me also posit that buying into the “nothing happened scientifically in the medieval world, all knowledge was lost and there was nothing but ignorant monks forever and ever amen” rhetoric means you’re basically adopting Protestant propaganda as to why Protestantism is the enlightened form of Christianity. I’m really quite serious. The construction of the Renaissance could only happen if there was a Dark Ages to be dawned against — as if there were no technological advancements during that period, as if no-one was educated, as if nothing in the world happened. (As if the European universities that produced so many of the people who would go on to participate in the Reformation weren’t founded.) It is absolutely part and parcel of Protestant polemics to regard the Middle Ages as backwards, dark, ignorant, brutal, and cruel precisely because it was dominated in the West by the Latin Church. Just as Protestants defined themselves against Catholicism, so had the Renaissance had to be defined against the Middle Ages. Or else what exactly were the Middle Ages in the middle of? Answer: the dark middle period between Classical wisdom and scientific engagement — scientific engagement that could only happen, according to this schema, in Protestant lands like England and Germany. This is frequently bolstered by the claims about the Church burning scientists at the stake (which isn’t true, by and large, if you’re wondering). The whole idea of the Renaissance depends on this myth of backwardsness, as if the whole of Europe could remain ignorant and stupid through the institutional power of the Church for 1000 years. The Church was not the monolithic destructor of knowledge and holder of power people like to imagine, and that imagining has more to do with Luther’s challenges of Papal abuse than the reality of the whole Middle Ages.
So seriously. Unless you’re really comfortable consigning 1000 years of history to the dustbin because Protestant polemics say so, drop the Dark Ages shtick. And if you don’t believe me, try starting with Cambridge historian James Hannam’s work, The Genesis of Science: How the Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution.
Ron Weasley gives free ice cream to kids. Harry Potter talks about the importance of feminism and gay rights. Hermione Granger is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women.
The heroes of my childhood became the heroes of my adulthood.
I made this for you so you’d remember me.
And she did remember him, the little boy who wanted to become a Jedi and free all the slaves.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (9.25.14): Protesters in Ferguson are back out tonight, demanding Police Chief Jackson’s resignation and the immediate arrest of Mike Brown’s killer, Darren Wilson. #staywoke #farfromover