Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Daily Thoughts 04/23/2019

File:Edouard Manet - The Reader.jpg

Edouard Manet, The Reader, 1861

Daily Thoughts 04/23/2019

I checked the library Twitter and Facebook this morning.

I am on vacation today.  So I am reading and relaxing.

I checked on some scheduling.

I finished reading The Map of Knowledge A Thousand Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found.  This book starts with the great Library of Alexandria, the center of classical knowledge.  It is not a complete survey and does not include the story of the House of Life in Egypt, or the Edubbas or scribal houses in Mesopotamia. It is about the preservation of the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans.

The book describes how the Library of Alexandria fell and how classical knowledge first passed to the Arabs who built the Bayt Al Hikma, the House of Wisdom preserving and spreading classical knowledge throughout the Arabic countries focusing on Aristotle, Archimedes, Galen, and other important people as well as works like The Elements and Spherics.

From Baghdad, classical knowledge spread to Muslim Spain in Cordoba.  From there it moved back to Palermo in Sicily and Venice in Italy where it was translated from Arabic to Latin and Greek. 

This is a fascinating book because it describes how knowledge flows from place to place as well as how different centers of learning ebb and grow in importance.  There are some ideas which I wish were covered more like Hindu numerals and mathematics.  However, this book has a specific focus, classical knowledge.  It puts the Arab Golden Age before the middle ages in a more complete perspective.

The book describes many individual scholars and their interest in mathematics, botany, astronomy, and medicine.  I think this is an important work because it documents the history of scholarship.  There is an extensive set of notes at the end of the book. 

What I read is not the finished text, but an advanced reading copy.  There is no index yet.  The finished copy will have one.  I will probably go back to look up some things when the book is done.  It is worth reading and will be of significant interest to people who are interested in the history of libraries.

Web Bits

Booksellers Publish First Copies of Mueller Report

Memory Kits Available at Duluth Library to Help Dementia Caregivers

How to Get a Library of Congress Reader's Card

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