Past in Perspective

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. –Jorge Luis Borges

The Library of Pergamum was construct­ed back in the third century B.C. by the At­talid dynasty of the region now called Tur­key. Originally, it was a temple that was devoted to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and had four main rooms. Three of the rooms were for the library, housing 200,000 scrolls at its height. The other room served as a meeting space for banquets and academic conferences. According to one an­cient chronicler, Pliny the Elder, the library became so famous that it was considered to be in direct competition with the Library of Alexandria. Both wanted to be at the forefront of record and text collection, so much so that they developed roval schools of thought and criticism. Legend dictates that the Pergamum library stopped receiving papy­rus from Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty so that it would deter its development and would for the library to create its own parchment paper.

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