The Pharos was said to have been four hundred feet high. It was famed
throughout the world for many centuries; nothing, however, remains of it
now but a heap of useless and unmeaning ruins.

Besides the light that beamed from the summit of this lofty tower, there
was another center of radiance and illumination in ancient Alexandria,
which was in some respects still more conspicuous and renowned, namely,
an immense library and museum established and maintained by the
Ptolemies. The Museum, which was first established, was not, as its name
might now imply, a collection of curiosities, but an institution of
learning, consisting of a body of learned men, who devoted their time to
philosophical and scientific pursuits. The institution was richly
endowed, and magnificent buildings were erected for its use. The king
who established it began immediately to make a collection of books for
the use of the members of the institution. This was attended with great
expense, as every book that was added to the collection required to be
transcribed with a pen on parchment or papyrus with infinite labor and
care. Great numbers of scribes were constantly employed upon this work
at the Museum. The kings who were most interested in forming this
library would seize the books that were possessed by individual
scholars, or that were deposited in the various cities of their
dominions, and then, causing beautiful copies of them to be made by the
scribes of the Museum, they would retain the originals for the great
Alexandrian library, and give the copies to the men or the cities that
had been thus despoiled. In the same manner they would borrow, as they
called it, from all travelers who visited Egypt, any valuable books
which they might have in their possession, and, retaining the originals,
give them back copies instead.

[...]
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