The Virtues of Decentralization

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I am currently reading Luciano Canfora’s book, The Vanished Library.  It is about the library at Alexandria, and its ultimate burning.  The limited number of books that survived this destruction came not from this library itself, but from decentralized locations.  As Canfora expresses it: “The great concentrations of books, usually found in the centres of power, were the main victims of these destructive outbtreaks, ruinous attacks, sackings and fires. The libraries of Byzantium proved no exception to the rule. In consequence, what has come down to us is derived not from the great centres but from ‘marginal’ locations, such as convents, and from scattered private copies.”(pp. 196-197)

8:16 pm on January 26, 2013