Bibliomania: Marc Antony's gift to Cleopatra

 Ruins of Pergamos

Pergamos, an ancient Greek city, became famous for it's library.  

It consisted of over 200,000 manuscripts, and was formed to rival that of Alexandria. Arthur Murphy, in his book The Works of Cornelius Tacitus, tells us that the "whole collection was given by Marc Antony as a present to Cleopatra, and thus the two libraries were consolidated into one." 

The Alexandrian collection was said to have housed 700,000 volumes, but these "volumes" were sometimes no more than a poem or a chapter of history. 

When Julius Caesar besieged Alexandria, the second library was accidentally burnt, and the old one appears to have been much lessened, if not totally dispersed. The 200,000 volumes from Pergamos, deposited by Anthony and Cleopatra, again revived the library, which continued to increase until Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, in his zeal against heathenism, destroyed the temple of Serapis in which it was kept, A. D. 390. How many of the volumes perished with the building we have no knowledge; some, it is said, were committed to the flames, and the rest dispersed. It appears, however, that the fragments were either gathered together, or a new library sprung into existence, which continued to flourish, as also did literature, in Alexandria until the capture of the city by the Arabs, under Omar. The books were then either burnt to heat the public baths, according to the generally received opinion of the literary world, or became so dispersed that the library ceased to exist.
 Murphy adds: 
[T]he volumes of science, by order of the Califf Omar, served for a fire to warm the baths of Alexandria; and thus perished all the physic of the soul. The town subsists at this day, and retains the name of Pergamos.
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