Carl Sagan was asked if he could go back in time to visit one place on earth, where would he go?
He chose the Great Library of Alexandria.
From its founding in 300 B.C. to its destruction in 400 A.D, the Library was the major center of scholarship in the Ancient World. Any book found on a ship that put into port was taken to the Library where it was copied, the original kept in the Library and copies returned to their owners.
Hypatia, a native of Athens and daughter of the Greek mathematician Theon Alexandicus, was head of the neo-Platonic school at Alexandria, where she taught mathematics and philosophy.
Hypatia’s teachings ran afoul of Cyril, Bishop and later Patriarch of Alexandria. Through his preaching he incited fanatic Christian monks to murder Hypatia by flaying her flesh with sharp oyster shells (the prescribed punishment for “heretics”) and burning her body.
The Library itself and its priceless trove of knowledge was burned. The Christian church canonized Cyril.