Posted: Jan 11, 2017 9:44 pm
by RealityRules
crank wrote:The Library at Alexandria didn't burn, at least it wasn't destroyed by one big fire, that's one of those weird myths that refuses to get corrected. There is no definitive consensus as near as I can tell, Yale history professor Paul H. Freedman in an online lecture series HIST 210: THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES, 284–1000, very good and recommended, says:
Alexandria is the most famous because it had this magnificent library as part of the museum, and the mystery of what happened to this library, allegedly burned by the Muslims in the eighth century on the grounds that you didn't need to know anything except what's in the Koran. And this is not true. The library had disappeared long before the eighth century and probably was the victim of the kinds of disorders that began in the third century, when we began the course, the kind of disruptions of local society, opportunities for plunder, neglect. And the Museum was actually closed by the emperor Caracalla in the third century.

I'm unsure why you've posted this^. there has not been any proposition that the Library at Alexandria was destroyed by Muslims or was destroyed in the eight century.

The Great Library of Alexandria is somewhat relevant to this thread, however, as support for the proposition of DavidMcC about various, numerous religious sects existing in the eastern Mediterranean in Antiquity: that Library, and others like it, such as the Library at Ephesus, were likely destroyed when they were because they contained texts and documents contrary to then predominant Christian theology, and because they did not contain Christian texts (otherwise one would think they would have just been purged of non-Christian texts, rather than being destroyed wholesale) viz. -
crank wrote:
And wiki backs this up to some extent:
Arguably, this library is most famous for having been burned down resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books; its destruction has become a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge. Sources differ on who was responsible for its destruction and when it occurred. The library may in truth have suffered several fires over many years. Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by the army of Julius Caesar in 48 BC and an attack by Aurelian in the 270s AD.
After the main library was destroyed, scholars used a "daughter library" in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city. According to Socrates of Constantinople, Coptic Pope Theophilus destroyed the Serapeum in AD 391, although it is not certain what it contained or if it contained any significant fraction of the documents that were in the main library. The library may have finally been destroyed during the Muslim conquest of Egypt in (or after) AD 642.

Moreover, there is a reasonable amount of archaeological evidence of various non-Jewish and non-Christian sects in the eastern Mediterranean in the 1st and 3rd centuries a.d/c.e. - Mithracism, other mystery religions (Egyptian, Greek), etc.

Earliest archaeology
Inscriptions and monuments related to the Mithraic Mysteries are catalogued in a two volume work by Maarten J. Vermaseren, the Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae (or CIMRM).[115] The earliest monument showing Mithras slaying the bull is thought to be CIMRM 593, found in Rome. There is no date, but the inscription tells us that it was dedicated by a certain Alcimus, steward of T. Claudius Livianus. Vermaseren and Gordon believe that this Livianus is a certain Livianus who was commander of the Praetorian guard in 101 CE, which would give an earliest date of 98–99 CE.[116]

...The earliest dateable Mithraeum outside Rome dates from 148 CE.[123] The Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima is the only one in Palestine and the date is inferred.[124 - "No dedicatory plaques have been discovered that might aid in the dating. The lamps found with the taurectone medallion are from the end of the first century to the late 3rd century CE. Other pottery and coins from the vault are also from this era. Therefore it is speculated that this Mithraeum developed toward the end of the 1st century and remained active until the late 3rd Century." ]

Earliest cult locationsAccording to Roger Beck, the attested locations of the Roman cult in the earliest phase (circa 80 120 CE) are as follows:[125]

  • Mithraea datable from pottery
  • Nida/Heddemheim III (Germania Sup.)
  • Mogontiacum (Germania Sup.)
  • Pons Aeni (Noricum)
  • Caesarea Maritima (Judaea)
      [lamps found with the taurectone medallion are from the end of the first century to the late 3rd century CE. Other pottery and coins from the vault are also from this era. Therefore it is speculated that this Mithraeum developed toward the end of the 1st century and remained active until the late 3rd Century.[124]

Classical literature about Mithras and the Mysteries

According to Boyce, the earliest literary references to the mysteries are by the Latin poet Statius, about 80 AD, and Plutarch (c. 100 AD).[126]

The Thebaid (c. 80 AD[127]) an epic poem by Statius, pictures Mithras in a cave, wrestling with something that has horns.[128] The context is a prayer to the god Phoebus.[129] The cave is described as persei, which in this context is usually translated Persian, however according to the translator J.H.Mozley it literally means Persean, referring to Perses the son of Perseus and Andromeda;[127] this Perses being the ancestor of the Persians according to Greek legend.[130]

The Greek biographer Plutarch (46–127 AD) says that "secret mysteries ... of Mithras" were practiced by the pirates of Cilicia, the coastal province in the southeast of Anatolia, who were active in the 1st Century BCE: "They likewise offered strange sacrifices; those of Olympus I mean; and they celebrated certain secret mysteries, among which those of Mithras continue to this day, being originally instituted by them."[131] He mentions that the pirates were especially active during the Mithridatic wars (between the Roman Republic and King Mithridates VI of Pontus) in which they supported the king.[131] The association between Mithridates and the pirates is also mentioned by the ancient historian Appian.[132] The 4th century commentary on Vergil by Servius says that Pompey settled some of these pirates in Calabria in southern Italy.[133]

Dio Cassius
The historian Dio Cassius (2nd to 3rd century AD) tells how the name of Mithras was spoken during the state visit to Rome of Tiridates I of Armenia, during the reign of Nero (Tiridates was the son of Vonones II of Parthia, and his coronation by Nero in 66 AD confirmed the end of a war between Parthia and Rome). Dio Cassius writes that Tiridates, as he was about to receive his crown, told the Roman emperor [Nero] that he revered him "as Mithras".[134] Roger Beck thinks it possible that this episode contributed to the emergence of Mithraism as a popular religion in Rome.[135]

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