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Gibbon points out the fact of other historians, such as Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria, not mentioning a word of this pretended burning of books for the purpose of heating baths. If learned men, who would be deeply interested in such a loss, wrote at a period not so distant from the date named, and gave minute descriptions of all other important incidents in the history of Alexandria, how can we accept the assertions of Arabians writing six centuries after the supposed event, when neither Eutychius, nor any other writer of authority, even so much as names the tradition? For our part, we agree with the writer in “ Fraser" previously referred to, who draws a conclusion that no library existed at Alexandria at the taking of the city by the Saracens. What had not been destroyed in the separate fires at the Bruchion and Serapeum of the 700,000 volumes collected by the Ptolemies, had been dispersed over the East between 415 and 640.

How is it possible for us now to estimate the loss sustained by the destruction of such accumulations of literature ? Gibbon mourns over the Roman libraries which perished at the Northern invasion, far more than for the Greek collections at Alexandria. He professes astonishment at the number of Greek classics which have been handed down to us, and gives the opinion that Aristotle, Galen, and Pliny had read and made use of the best works of all predecessors, and that consequently no great loss to science was sustained by the destruction of the works of inferior writers. On the other hand, others have shown that a complete Aristotle might have remained if the Alexandrian library had not perished; a Menander, lost parts of Æschylus and Euripides, the writings of Theophrastes and Epicurus, hundreds of historical works, and a host of other precious volumes. And further than this, besides the classical and historical works thus lost, we know that in the Alexandrian library many of the early writings of Christian fathers and translators were preserved during the first four centuries of the Christian era.

As an example of this, we know that it was to supply the wants of the Hellenized Jews that one of the Ptolemies caused the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures to be made by the Seventy-two, giving the Greek Version so well known by its latinized name of the Septuagint. Tradition says, that each of the seventy-two translators occupied a separate cell for the purpose of impartially performing their difficult work; and that, by a special miracle, each one was found to be iden. tically worded with the other copies. This legend is repeated by many

early Christian writers, till we come to the time of Justin Martyr, who asserts that he actually beheld the seventy-two cells at Alexandria. Later than this we have another writer, Epiphanius, declaring that the story was, in the main, true; he, however, alleges that thirty-six cells was the true number, and that two translators had worked in each cell. In this manner doubt is cast on the whole story, and we are rather compelled to accept the conclusion that the Septuagint was so called, not from there being seventy-two translators engaged in the work, but rather that it was authorized by the Seventy, who formed the Jewish Sanhedrim. In any case it was in this famous Alexandrian library that the original Greek translation had been deposited.

And again, it was here that Origen's sixfold transcription, the famous Hexapla, was once preserved. That great genius had observed how many imperfect copies of the Septuagint there were in the various cities, and that a real danger existed of the original text being lost. He learned Hebrew for the purpose, and laboriously collected the six best texts copied from the first Septuagint and other versions, placed them in parallel columns, and treasuring the whole in the Alexandrian library, thus preserved to us the Scriptures, from which the Vatican, Alexandrian and Sinaitic Codices were probably derived. This great Hexapla was removed from Alexandria to the Cæsarea Library, where it is known to have survived for several centuries, till consumed by fire in the latter place, but not before various writers, Tertullian and others, had given copious extracts, and Jerome derived materials for his Latin Vulgate.

In these examples we find that writings of inestimable value existed in the great Alexandrian Library. If it is so in isolated cases, how much more must it be so with the vast collections of manuscripts which perished by fire, or were dispersed over the East.

Whether we consider classical, philosophical, or theological literature, in either branch it is certain great loss has been sustained to universal knowledge by the destruction of the 700,000 volumes at Alexandria. Whether these hundreds of thousands of books were actually lost by fire or no, the broad fact remains that they are gone. In a work of singular beauty we may perhaps find a key to the causes of the later losses. When we consider the fierce tumults and party fights which are described in that book so vividly, and which at that date were so prevalent, how can we wonder that literature should suffer in such periods of violence and lawless strife? It was the same with the Roman civilization in

Hypatia, by Charles Kingsley.

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Alexandria as in other colonies. The vigorous and active spirit which had created the supremacy of Rome had gradually decayed, giving place to that effeminate and luxurious ease which sapped the very foundations of the empire. The invasion of the Goths was the sign for a general rising against the relaxed government of Rome; the Jewish colonists were persecuted by all sections of the community; Christians arose in violent haste to stamp out the cultured philosophy of the schools ; while the uncouth Goth meanwhile sacked the city, and wrecked whatever was destructible.

Nothing of either Library has remained, and it is difficult even to picture what once existed. The interior of the Bruchion or Serapeum libraries would have presented a strange appearance to the modern traveller. Egyptian architecture would characterize the buildings. Long chambers, dark and gloomy, but of massive proportion ; huge columns surmounted by the hideous sculptures of the sphinx or other gigantic forms, while the walls might be ornamented in rude characters and designs, illustrative of previous events in the very dawn of history. Stored away in the numberless recesses mouldy and dusty volumes might be seen in great presses, dimly visibly in the semi-light supplied by the flickering olive-oil lamps of terra-cotta, suspended from above. We may

infer that reference was made at times to the volumes of such collections, the unwieldy presses would be opened, and the manuscripts handed out to the philosopher and student who might wish to search through the works of previous authorities. Some volumes, perhaps the greater number, would be the rolls of papyrus, inner bark of certain trees, which was for so long the medium for written thought. The pointed reed and substitute for ink might even still remain for the copyist to write his extracts on his papyrus. The vellum parchments, inscribed with ancient uncials of Greek characters, such as the Alexandrian and Sinaitic Codices, might have been found in the later Serapeum collection, and even those more difficult to decipher, the cursive manuscripts so full of contractions, and written in such confused and cramped a style as to be well-nigh illegible, must bave been introduced before the final destruction of that Alexandrian Library, which had played so important a part in the preservation of the best writings of classic Greece.

C. P.





It was a lovely afternoon in the month of June 870. The golden sunlight flooded the rich pastures and gardens that surrounded the famous Abbey of Croyland, and flashed its rays upon the rippling river, that, bordered with alder trees, and fringed with reeds, formed the boundary of the Isle of Croyland. A deep silence reigned, broken only by the murmuring of the stream or the shrill note of a water-bird, taking wing, it rose suddenly from the river, and whirred its flight into the air. All nature was at rest, and seemed only to breathe of peace. But alas! there was no peace for England in those days; for only a few miles from Croyland the cruel Northmen were ravaging and wasting the country, committing indeed such horrible barbarities that, in comparison, death by the sword seemed merciful.

Nor was all at peace even within the quiet, sacred precincts of the monastery, for a heart full of despair and anguish was revealed in the pale, weary face of the youth, who, on that sunny afternoon, lay beneath the drooping willow-tree by the river-side, vainly trying to fix his attention on the manuscript which he had brought out with him for the purpose of study. Giving up the attempt at last, he suffered his eyes to wander from the parchment to a more attractive object at a little distance.

This was the figure of a monk, who, of more studious habits apparently than the boy, was deeply immersed in the pages of a ponderous volume that rested upon his knee, while he frequently referred to another huge manuscript that was carefully placed upon a hassock at his side.

The two figures, that of the youth and that of the man, presented a strange contrast. The former appeared to be about seventeen or eighteen years of age. His body was slight, and alas ! misshapen, as

. was plainly to be seen from the hunched back and short neck, and also from the right leg, shorter by an inch or two than the left, which caused him to limp painfully as he walked. His face was pale and very sorrowful ; his large dark eyes were full of a tearful yearning, while upon his features, so sharpened by a life of suffering and weakness, was expressed an intense longing after some object unpossessed.

Perhaps his only claim to beauty lay in the depth of his luminous eyes, and in the perfect form of his hands, which were as remarkable for the skill and facility with which they transcribed and illuminated the manuscripts of the monastery as for their wonderful strength and firmness.

A decided contrast was the student monk, who reclined upon the grass a few yards distant. He was very tall and finely proportioned, while the width of his chest, and his whole bearing, seemed to bespeak a different training from that of a monastery. His features were regular and well formed, but the great charm of his noble face lay in its sweetness and serenity of expression.

All unperceived by the monk, the youth watched him breathlessly, as presently he rose, closed his huge volumes, and taking one under either arm, came with slow and stately steps along the path by the river-side. Apparently he was struck by the rich beauty of the scene, for when within a few feet of the boy he paused to gaze upon the stream, which though a torrent in winter, was now making such pretty music as it sped along its way to the ocean. He seemed lost in a reverie, fascinated as much by the rippling, eddying water as the youth was by him. Suddenly he started, as a long-drawn sigh struck upon his ear; turning hastily he met the fixed gaze of the boy, who dropped his eyes, and blushed painfully on being discovered. The monk recognised him, and smiled one of his peculiarly sweet smiles.

“You have been studying, and are weary, are you not ?” he asked gently.

'No, not so," the youth stammered. I was not reading—I had forgotten my manuscript, I was only-only-thinking."

Again the sweet smile played around the lips of Brother Tolius.

“Well, I am weary, if you are not. Do you know, Leofric, that I envy you your skill in deciphering these crabbed characters,” and he touched his manuscripts. “I fear I am an unapt scholar, for I make but slow progress."

You envy me !" burst from Leofric's lips. "Nay, surely you

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There was no jesting in the tone of the monk's voice as he replied very earnestly; " My boy, I understand what you mean, but know you not that we all have ‘gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us ?' Your body is weak and sickly, I own, but what would our good Father Theodore do without his clever scribe, and what should

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