The Library of Alexandria evokes powerful images for the destruction of the greatest institution of higher learning and research in the ancient world. Many assume the Library of Alexandria’s demise occurred in a single sweeping inferno. In reality, the Library’s destruction occurred in several major episodes over the span of centuries.
How The Library of Alexandria Was REALLY Destroyed
The Library of Alexandria in 391AD underwent enduring one of the final nails in its coffin as an unfortunate innocent bystander; the victim of the anti-pagan Christian purges occurring as a result of Theodosius I declaring Christianity as the sole official religion of the Roman Empire.
In this episode we not only explore one of the most important stages of the Library of Alexandria’s destruction, but explore the long and celebrated history of an institution whose loss is still felt to this day.
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The Sacred Fire of Vesta & The Vestal Virgins Abolished (394 AD)
With Rome’s official state religion becoming Christianity, the long worshiped order of the Vestal Virgins is abolished in 394 AD; a major vestige of the pagan Hellenistic religion being swept aside in favor of the new official theology.
With the Vestal Virgins meeting their end, so with them goes the legendary Sacred Fire of Vesta. Since time immemorial, the Sacred Fire of Vesta served as symbol of Rome’s greater destiny and place in their universe, and was extinguished not by a foreign enemy – but Rome’s very own emperor, Theodosius I.
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