Front Page Titles (by Subject) 3.: THE LIBRARIES OF ALEXANDRIA — ( P. 85 , 87 ) 1 - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 5
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3.: THE LIBRARIES OF ALEXANDRIA — ( P. 85 , 87 ) 1 - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 5 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 5.
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THE LIBRARIES OF ALEXANDRIA — (P. 85,
“The valuable library of Alexandria was pillaged or destroyed.” That is, the lesser library in the Serapeum, which was situated in the Rhacôtis quarter of the city. Gibbon has failed to distinguish it from the great Library of the Brucheum, of which Zenodotus, Callimachus, and other famous scholars were librarians. This Library is said to have been burnt down when Cæsar was in Alexandria (but see Mahaffy, Egypt under the Ptolemies, p. 454).
For the distinction of the two libraries see Epiphanius, de mensuris et ponderibus, 168 (Migne, Patr. Gr. vol. 43, p. 256): ἔτι δὲ ὕστερον καὶ ἑτέρα ἐγένετο βιβλιοθήκη ἐν τῷ Σεραπίῳ [sic] μικροτέρα τη̂ς πρώτης, ἥτις καὶ θυγατὴρ ὠνομάσθη αὐτη̂ς. For the first or mother library, see ib. 166 (Migne, p. 249). For other references see Susemihl, Geschichte der alexandrinischen Litteratur, i. p. 336.
But is it an attested fact that the lesser or daughter library was destroyed in 391? The sanctuary of Serapis was demolished, but does that imply the demolition of all the buildings connected with the Serapeum?2 The only evidence on which Gibbon’s statement rests is the sentence which he quotes from Orosius (p. 87, n. 53). But Orosius does not mention the Serapeum or speak of a large library. He merely says that he had seen bookcases in temples (which he does not name); and that, since then, he had been informed that the temples had been pillaged and the bookcases emptied. It seems to me highly improbable that Orosius is thinking either of the Alexandrian library or of the Serapeum. There is no reason to suppose that the library was in the temple. I conclude then that there is no evidence that the library of the Serapeum did not survive till the Saracen conquest, notwithstanding the verdict of Susemihl (ib. 344): “Omar fand 642 schwerlich noch Bücher in Alexandreia zu verbrennen.”
[1 ]I must note that in the Nation, July 7, 1898, Mr. Frederick I. Teggart has made a good case for Gibbon’s view that the Serapeum Library was burned in 391.
[2 ]The statement of Eunapius in the Vita Aedesii: καὶ τὸ Σαραπεɩ̂ον ἰερὸν διεσκεδάννυτο οὐχ ὴ [Editor: illegible character]εραπεία μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ οἰκοδομήματα, cannot be pressed to mean more than that not only was the worship suppressed but the temple itself was demolished.