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It was them there Romans! Or was it! Who cares?!

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: Here is a challenge for you Hind Samy

Submitted by Sword of Islam (United Kingdom), Apr 5, 2006 at 04:51

I always understood it to be the case that the Caesar burnt it down. A tiny Roman force were surrounded by the Eqyptians who were in a state of civil war at the time and who turned on Caesar as he was vulnerable. He had a fire started in the library as this would divert a significant proportion of the Egyptian mob to put out the fires and therefore facilitate his escape in anticipation of a return with a full legion. Needless to say, it worked as Cleopatra was crowned Queen and Caesar met his end in Rome.

That's what George Bernard Shaw said anyway. His source was Plutarch who was rather more contemporary to the events (one would think) I always understood this to be the accepted history of events albeit with a dramatic slant as it added to Caesar's reputation as a strategist For all their sins I've not heard any claims of Muslim culpability before.

Wilkipedia suggests that the jury is out on this one:

"So who burned the Library of Alexandria? Plutarch blamed Julius Caesar.[citation needed] Edward Gibbon blamed Theophilus.[citation needed] According to Ibn al-Kifti's (History of the wise), whose story was repeated by Bishop Gregory Bar Hebraeus, the remaining books were destroyed by general Amrouh following orders of Caliph Umar (see Luciano Canfora "The vanished Library"). The collection may have ebbed and flowed as some documents were destroyed and others were added. For instance, Mark Antony was supposed[citation needed] to have given Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls for the Library long after Julius Caesar is accused of burning it."

I'm not entirely sure why such arcane references to ancient events are even relevant!

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