Reading in "A Short Account of the History of Mathematics" by Ball, I came upon a passage that said that when the Arab commander gave orders to burn the library of Alexandria, the Greeks protested so much that the commander asked the Caliph Omar. The Caliph answered, "As to the books you have mentioned, if they contain what is agreeable with the book of God, the book of God is sufficient without them; and, if they contain what is contrary to the book of God, there is no need for them; so give orders for their destruction."
Does anyone know where Ball got this quote? I seem to recall that it comes from one of the later Roman writers, but I do not recall which one.
Dr. Michael Button Department of Mathematics phone: (661) 259-3540 X 3163 The Master's College e-ddress: firstname.lastname@example.org 21726 Placerita Canyon Road fax: (661) 253-4080 Santa Clarita, CA 91321-1200