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Topic: The Fall of the Alexandrian Library
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 5, 2001 2:30 PM

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Michael Button

Posts: 4
Registered: 12/3/04
The Fall of the Alexandrian Library
Posted: Sep 8, 2000 8:20 PM
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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

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.

Thank you for your help!

Michael Button


Dr. Michael Button
Department of Mathematics phone: (661) 259-3540 X 3163
The Master's College e-ddress:
21726 Placerita Canyon Road fax: (661) 253-4080
Santa Clarita, CA 91321-1200


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