Premium

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

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...

To continue reading this article

Start your free trial of Premium

  • Access all Premium articles 
  • Subscriber-only events 
  • Cancel any time

Free for 30 days

then only £2 per week

Access one Premium article per week

To continue reading this article log in to your Telegraph account. Or register now, it's free.
Registered customers can access one Premium article per week
HALF-PRICE OFFER
Unlimited access to exclusive stories.
Half price for one year.
  • Access all Premium articles
  • Subscriber only events
  • Cancel any time
Free for 30 days, then just £1 per week