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By Lucien X. Polastron

"A historic survey of the destruction of information from historical Babylon and China to fashionable times"--Provided via publisher.

In the cradle of the libraries --
The papyrus sector --
Islam of the 1st days --
People of the publication --
Asia prior to the 20 th century --
The Christian West --
The new biblioclasts --
Peace damages --
An embarrassment of modernity --
Flameproof wisdom --
Epilogue: go back to Alexandria.

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Extra resources for Books on fire : the destruction of libraries throughout history

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The fire is a gift of Rome: flames, agony, the odor of smoke permeating daily life, and more or less quickly quelled. But quite often a true apocalypse struck. The inventory of conflagrations 18 that tenaciously ravaged all or part of the Urbs is precise: no fewer than eighty-eight between the time of Romulus and the decline of the political capital. A Roman-if he survived-had the chance of seeing a good half-dozen fires over the course of a lifetime. Admissible or not, the causes of the disasters were numerous and repetitive: lightning, slave revolts, civil war, and every night, in each small street, the torches of anonymous citizens 30 ~ The Papyrus Region coming and going about their business, not to mention the fire that the Vestals were responsible for maintaining at all times.

He then became Muhammad's military adviser and, in 625, his father-in-law. On the death of the Prophet, he prevailed upon the Medinans to accept Abu Bakr (a fellow Meccan) as first caliph, then succeeded him in 634 and launched the great conquests before he was assassinated at the hands of a Persian slave on November 3, 644. Equally skilled at organizing the first diwan of the administration Islam of the First Days • 43 and sending troops (which, until that time, had been effective only at raiding caravans) to establish the empire in Syria, Mesopotamia, Khorassan, Iran, Egypt, and Libya, his hagiographer described him as austere, calculating, and pitiless.

All that remain are thirty works, which fill some two thousand of our paper pages. They have come down to us in a fairly chaotic fashion: Bequeathed to Theophrastus, Aristotle's library then fell into possession of Neleus of Skepsis. It is reckoned 12 that the works of both Aristotle and Plato put together represent only 676,078 lines. Neleus's uneducated descendants sought to hide these books from the lustful eyes of the Pergamum library and buried them in a cave or well, in a "kind of trench full of moths," says Strabo, then sold the authentic *Hugh Lloyd-Jones 24 • The Papyrus Region books by Aristotle that had escaped Ptolemy 13 to Apellicon of Teos (who, according to some, was a philologist and, according to others, was a dealer in secondhand goods).

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