Alexandria has a reputation of having been the intellectual hub of the Roman empire. Scholars, mathematicians, and philosophers were plentiful here, and the city was one of the largest in the empire, being second only to Rome.

Alexandria was an important in Egyptian and Roman history, and was seems to have been one of the most intellectually advanced areas of the time.

The Great Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was part of a larger research institution called the Mouseion, which was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts.

The idea of a such library in Alexandria may have been proposed by Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled Athenian statesman living in Alexandria, to Ptolemy I Soter.

Ptolemy may have established plans for the Library, however, the Library itself was probably not built until the reign of his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus.

The size of the library is not known, but estimates vary from 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls at its height.

The Library dwindled during the Roman period, from a lack of funding and support and ts membership appears to have ceased by the 260s AD.

The Roman Amphitheatre in Alexandria
image: Wikimedia