Even though some scholars believe that most of the knowledge in the Library of Alexandria was not actually lost but preserved in various contemporary libraries, I still find the story of its burning particularly poignant. As far as anyone can figure out, it wasn’t torched intentionally but was just collateral damage in another careless military campaign (thanks Julius Caesar). It’s hard to know for sure what happened, but this version of the story rings true – after all, we’ve seen this take place time and time again throughout history. There’s not much we love more as a species than immediate gains, and we’re amazingly proficient at riding roughshod over pretty much anything else to get to them. One day it might just bite us in the arse for the last time.

↓ Transcript
An old hand brushes tenderly along a shelf arrayed with scrolls.
Caption: Thirty years I’ve walked these rustling aisles, the world’s wisdom at my fingertips.

An old man walks the halls of the Library of Alexandria, several scrolls clasped tight to him. Smoke flows along the floor from out of frame.
Caption: Each scroll a beloved child or old friend.

The man stands between the shelves, silhouetted and dwarfed by a raging inferno, fast approaching.
Caption: I won’t leave them now.