Re: Information & Power /Alexandria library

Anders Sandberg (
04 May 1999 16:11:30 +0200

Most of the texts of the great library were likely copies of the Illiad and Odyssey. By all accounts there were a great redundancy among the books (keeping many versions was of course a good way of getting around copier's mistakes).

Would the hellenic culture have brought us to a technological revolution a millennium earlier if the library had remained? I seriously doubt that, because the problems of classical technological development were more social and cultural. A widespread view among the thinkers that practical work was beneath them and that abstract ideas with no empiricism was the most elegant form of knowledge, anti-rational mystery cults, a society based on slavery and heavily centralised command economies were some of the reasons the library doesn't appear to have been the key to technological development.

Still, one can dream about a world where Archimedes wasn't killed and his tradition lived on, uniting with the Epicurean ideas described by Lucretius. Then we might have been on our way towards the stars in nanotech spaceships now. And half the crew would be named Marcus, Gaius and Titus :-)

Andreas Arenamontanus


Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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