Premium

Mostafa el-Abbadi, campaigned to recreate great Library of Alexandria – obituary

Mostafa el-Abbadi in 2012
Mostafa el-Abbadi in 2012 Credit:  Scott Nelson

Mostafa el-Abbadi, who has died aged 88, was an Egyptian scholar of the Graeco-Roman world who campaigned over many years to recreate the ancient Library of Alexandria; although a new Bibliotheca Alexandrina opened in 2002, differences with the Egyptian authorities meant that he was not even invited to the opening ceremony.

Founded by Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander the Great’s successor kings, in the third century BC, the Library of Alexandria, part of a larger museum complex, was one of the most significant libraries of the ancient world. Ptolemy wanted the library to contain “all the texts in the world that are worthy of study”, and its collection, often said to have contained half a million documents, grew to include the originals of plays by Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides, translations of works from Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Buddhist texts, Hebrew scriptures – even (allegedly) the...

Premium

Subscribe now for full access or register to continue reading

Subscribe now for full access or register to continue

Register / free

No Payment details required

  • One Premium article per week
  • Newsletters and daily briefings
  • Comment on articles

Premium /£1 per week for 13 weeks

then only £2 per week, cancel anytime

  • Unlimited Premium articles
  • Exclusive Subscriber Events
  • Enjoy Telegraph Rewards
  • Comment on articles
  • Newsletters and daily briefings
  • Complimentary digital access to The Washington Post
  • Find out more
Premium Promo
Enjoy a free £50 gift card* for one of your favourite brands when you take out an annual Premium subscription
*Gift cards will be sent out by email within 21 days of the subscription start date
Please review our commenting policy