February 27, 2015

ISIS endeavors to destroy the art of ancient Nineveh (AKA Mosul).

The efforts at destruction that you see at the beginning of this video are not as horrible as they look, for reasons that are explained half way through.

Watch out for the British expert who appears at 1:47. She thinks it's "pretty rotten for the people who actually live" in northern Iraq that so many of the original works of art have been transferred to Western museums — even as it's apparent that if those sculptures had been left in northern Iraq, they would now be sledgehammered to bits. Or does she — do we — think that if the artworks had been left in place, the history of Iraq would have played out on a different path, and the people who live there would have treasured and protected the world's artistic heritage? From the article at the link (to the British Channel 4 site):
The demolition squad of the Islamic State are following in the tradition of the Taliban who blew up the Buddhas at Bamyan, in Afghanistan, and the Malian jihadi group Ansar al Dine which destroyed mud tombs and ancient Islamic manuscripts in Timbuktu. They quote suras from the Koran that they say demand the destruction of idols and icons.

But iconoclasm isn't just a Salafi Islamic idea. In the 17th Century, puritans, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, destroyed Catholic holy objects and art in Britain.

"We pulled down two mighty great angells, with wings, and divers other angells . . . and about a hundred chirubims and angells," wrote William Dowsing, Cromwell's chief wrecker, after leading his henchmen into Peterhouse college chapel in Cambridge in December 1643.
Iconoclasm. If you're inclined to reach back into history, you will, perhaps, find it everywhere. From the Wikipedia article "Iconoclasm," here are "The Sons of Liberty pulling down the statue of George III of the United Kingdom on Bowling Green (New York City), 1776":



And I can't look at that and not think about the statue of Saddam Hussein that our military tore down in Bagdhad in April 2003. And what of all those monumental statues of Vladimir Lenin that came in for destruction when the Soviet Union dissolved. Would you like to see them all removed?

I know there's at least one still standing, because the NYT, just a couple days ago, ran a story cooing over an aging American couple who are using Airbnb to live in various European cities and the slideshow features the man, dressed in shorts, like a child, and standing, like a child, knee-high to "this statue of Lenin in Lithuania." The hand of the smiling child-man reaches out to encircle the index finger of Soviet dictator. In another photo, the woman, in a short skirt, poses at the feet of a giant Stalin. This one too is "in Lithuania." We're told there's "a sculpture garden." Isn't that nice?

I need to do my own research to find out about "Grūtas Park (unofficially known as Stalin's World...)... a sculpture garden of Soviet-era statues and an exposition of other Soviet ideological relics from the times of the Lithuanian SSR."
Founded in 2001 by entrepreneur Viliumas Malinauskas, the park is located near Druskininkai, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southwest of Vilnius, Lithuania.... Its establishment faced some fierce opposition, and its existence is still controversial.... The park also contains playgrounds, a mini-zoo and cafes, all containing relics of the Soviet era. On special occasions actors stage re-enactments of various Soviet-sponsored festivals.
So there's an alternative to iconoclasm.

68 comments:

Bob said...

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Ron said...

"In Soviet Union, playground contains you!"

uhhhh....

tim in vermont said...

It strains credulity to believe that the Crusades were started by destruction of Christian holy sites by Muslims because this is not really Islam. President Obama, the devout Christian, I *MUST* add, assures us so.

~ Gordon Pasha said...

Thomas Bruce, Seventh Earl of Elgin, thank you wherever you are.

traditionalguy said...

The statutes on horseback as memorials to famous kings and Generals seem a different type from depictions of supernatural gods.

But the principle of tearing them down to clean the world of all memory of the authority they once represented is an old instinct. It's like throwing away the old photos of an ex-spouse.

The Puritans were never against sex. They got their name from purifying English churches of alters for sacrifice and statutes of Mother Mary and her panoply of Saints. They had read the book.

machine said...

quite evident we need a President that has stood firm against old ladies with protester tape now more than eva...cuz it is really the same.

Bob Ellison said...

There still stands a statue of the killer Lenin in Seattle. The people there seem to think it's mostly funny and cute, kind of like having a Che t-shirt.

Anonymous said...

You know who else destroyed "art"? The people marching at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Further proof that Walker is right to compare those protesters to the terrorists. He wasn't using hyperbole at all; the more you look the more you can see how alike the two groups are.

sinz52 said...

Ms. Althouse,

you sound like you're engaging in the worst sort of moral equivalence.

You're equating priceless archaeological finds from ancient Nineveh to a statue Saddam erected to himself?

Maybe in 5,000 years, Saddam's statue would have had archaeological significance.

But right now, anyone who attempts to wipe out the ancient history of our civilization is committing a crime against humanity.

Many of the other examples are similar: Mobs trashing symbols of current hated rule. The American colonists pulling down a statue of King George, for example.

But notice that the American colonists didn't have a mass burning of books by Englishmen like Shakespeare.

virgil xenophon said...

If the Islamization of Europe and Scandinavia continues apace, the best advise I would give them is to pack up everything in the British Museum, The Victoria & Albert, the Tate, the Louvre, etc., and ship it all to America to a "Red State" for safe-keeping..

mccullough said...

Then Ozymandias said, the spouse, the bride
Is never naked. A fictive covering
Weaves always glistening from the heart and mind.

Meade said...

madisonfella said...
"the more you look the more you can see how alike the two groups are."

You flatter yourselves.

Mick said...

Relativism is the sign of a week mind, and a disease of the Left. I guess that's why the "law prof" voted for a Usurper.

tim in vermont said...

Geeze Madisonfella, Just once comment on something besides Walker. Just one time. As it is, it makes you sound like a monomaniac wandering around the capitol with a bullhorn hectoring every passer by on your obsession.

wildswan said...

During the time of the Soviet Union most of the most important religious icons and churches were saved because they were defined as expressions of the citizenry of that era and turned into museum pieces. Just as Lenin, in the story, is now protected in a museum. That, however, will not save figurative art anywhere the Islamists take over. St. Peter's gone, Louvre gone, Lincoln Memorial gone.

Meade said...

"Relativism is the sign of a week mind, and a disease of the Left."

Failure to proofread is the sign of a dayzed mind.

Peter said...

If you pull down a statue of Ozymandias when he's deposed it's history.

If you smash it thousands of years later it's cultural desecration.

That seems inconsistent, but that's the nature of most objects: when their useful life is over they become junk; somewhat later they become old junk; eventually if they survive they become antiques and a millennium or so after that they become irreplaceable artifacts of some long-gone culture.

garage mahal said...

Further proof that Walker is right to compare those protesters to the terrorists

Perpetual victim status unlocked. What an idiot.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

And I can't look at that and not think about the statue of Saddam Hussein that our military tore down in Bagdhad in April 2003. And what of all those monumental statues of Vladimir Lenin that came in for destruction when the Soviet Union dissolved. Would you like to see them all removed?

So I guess the Allies shouldn't have dynamited that giant swastika at the Nuremburg party rally grounds.

Quaestor said...

Given the Althouse fascination with etymology I'm surprised she did not mention the original iconoclasts, the purifiers of the Orthodox Church. There were two distinct and extended phases of Byzantine iconoclasm -- a sixty year period in the 8th century touched off by Leo the Syrian (odd that coincidence given the Syrian roots of ISIS) and another 28-year jolt of iconoclasm in the 9th century. It sobering to realize that as rich as the Byzantine heritage is it is a fraction of what did exist. Later there was considerable looting of Constantinople in the 13th century when the pilgrims of the Fourth Crusade were diverted by the Venetians into attacking fellow Christians. After that came the Ottomans who chipped away at the Eastern empire's borders, claiming for Islam much of what is currently controlled by al-Baghdadi, the wannabe caliph, finally taking Constantinople itself in 1453. We should all be grateful to Mehmed II for not whitewashing the frescos in the Hagia Sophia (which goes to show Islam can be respectful of art). It's disheartening to realized that those very same images of Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles which have endured through 15 centuries, have been specifically targeted for destruction should ISIS attain its goal of the conquest of Turkey.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

History has always been written by the victors.

After the palace coup, the new guy obliterates the name of the predecessor on celebratory steles.

Oral histories are modified to suit.

But yes, there is a difference between artifacts from ancient times and artifacts created within living memory.

Toby said...

It's gone now, but Goff's Hamburger's in Dallas had a statue of Lennon out front with a plaque reading "American Won." It was spectacular. That's one option for out-of-style icons.

Quaestor said...

And I can't look at that and not think about the statue of Saddam Hussein that our military tore down in Bagdhad in April 2003. And what of all those monumental statues of Vladimir Lenin that came in for destruction when the Soviet Union dissolved. Would you like to see them all removed?

Rather piss-poor examples of the sculptor's art, aren't they? I'd acquiesce to a statue of Saddam if somebody with the talent of Phidias was responsible. Heck, I'd even admire a Lenin chipped by Gaudier-Brzeska with a screwdriver.

If that painting of the equestrian statue of George III being toppled is accurate the thing should have been melted into cannons years before on strictly aesthetic grounds.

Quaestor said...

Meade wrote: Failure to proofread is the sign of a dayzed mind

Hey!! I resemble that remark!

tim maguire said...

Part of what makes this stuff so valuable is that there is so little left. Each piece is a unique part of the story of our history, a part that is lost with each act of destruction. Beyond age, that is a difference between statues of Lenin and the work of antiquity. One day, a statue of Lenin will play that role, but today it does not.

But at least we know about the work of antiquity. You know why? Because evil Westerners, that's why. Those evil Westerners dug it up, figured out what it was, attached it to a story, made it interesting and worthwhile, and placed it in a public setting where millions of people could appreciate it and learn about the civilization that produced it.

But they stole it, a horrible crime, those evil Westerners. It belongs to the Islamists because their camels walked over it for a few centuries. And if the Islamists want to smash it, it's theirs to smash, not ours to save. Because of that liberal guilt the professor once said doesn't exist.

Quaestor said...

It's gone now, but Goff's Hamburger's in Dallas had a statue of Lennon out front with a plaque reading "American Won."

Lennon? I trust there's a bust of Chico nearby with the immortal words "Why a duck?" inscribed beneath.

Bob Boyd said...

When smashing monuments, save the pedestals – they always come in handy.
- Stanislaw Lec, advice for revolutionaries

MAJMike said...

At least George III's statue was put to good use. The lead in the statue was melted down and recast into musket balls for the Colonial Forces.

The destruction of ancient cultural artifacts seems indicative of Islam's inferiority complex.

Michael K said...

"Thomas Bruce, Seventh Earl of Elgin, thank you wherever you are."

Hear, hear.

traditionalguy said...

The new regulation granting Government control of internet content snuck in under cover of a free internet access is very relevant to the subject of Iconoclasm.

Erasing memory of the past stored at Google is now as easy as saying "right wing terrorist."

Johanna Lapp said...

Rudyard Kipling's "Recessional" is perhaps the more apt poem here. The third verse gets quite geographically specific:

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Kipling reminds us that "an humble and a contrite heart" is the patrimony we must guard, not "valiant dust that builds on dust."

As an atheist, it galls me to get involved in a religion-vs-religion fight. I'll just opine that idolatry in men's hearts is a more productive target than the destruction (or protection) of crumbling old statues.


Quaestor said...

And then there was Girolamo Savonarola. The destruction of art in the name of religion is an old story. Even Buddhists did it to other Buddhists.

The fact that some 17th century Christians destroyed some run-of-the-mill religious art does not excuse the crimes against culture committed by Muslim fanatics in the 21st century. People who care to make such excuses should take their post-structuralism and stick it where the sun don't shine.

William said...

To paraphrase McLuhan, a statue of someone who is no longer venerated nor even hated becomes an art object.....In that sense, it is reassuring that statues of Lenin and Stalin can be judged on their artistic merit or lack thereof. Statues of Hitler and Saddam still have an iconic power. You are not an iconoclast when you destroy an image of Zeus or Lenin because such images have no power beyond their artistic merit. Such is not the case with an image of Saddam, or, for that matter, an Arabic inscription.

Jim Gust said...

I have twice visited Grutas Park, aka Stalinland. It might also be called the Garden of Never Forgetting. Statues of Lenin, Stalin and other communist luminaries are accompanied by their biographies, including how many millions of death each official was responsible for. Unsettling to realize that the communists were proud of these ghastly statues.

I was puzzled by the fact that families were taking pictures of themselves next to many of the statues. My Lithuanian friend explained that they were proving that the hated statuary no longer had any power over them.

Quite a contrast to the Muslim mindset.

Freeman Hunt said...

There's nothing rotten about moving irreplaceable art from unstable areas to stable areas where it can be protected.

tim in vermont said...

As an atheist, it galls me to get involved in a religion-vs-religion fight. I'll just opine that idolatry in men's hearts is a more productive target than the destruction (or protection) of crumbling old statues.

Cool, then head right over to Pakistan and explain to them that it was wrong to hack to death an Atheist blogger who tried to explain these same things to Muslims.

On account of all religions are the same and if you don't have any issue 'splaining Christians, you surely don't have any issue 'splaining Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Experts now theorize that Ninevah was the site of an extensive and innovative aqueduct system built to carry water to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon under King Sennacherib. There have been descriptions found of a water-raising screw and a palace of wonders, among other the remains of aqueducts and other evidence. Only partial access was granted and the team could not completely verify their findings, but it was more conclusive than decades spent looking i more traditional area.

Smilin' Jack said...

Iconoclasm. If you're inclined to reach back into history, you will, perhaps, find it everywhere.

It was invented by Christians when they burned the Library of Alexandria. They then went on to give us a thousand years of the Dark Ages.

Ironically, ancient Greek learning survived only because the texts were preserved in the Arab world while being destroyed by Christians in Europe.

Marc said...

Wildswan, the Islamic conquerers may well destroy the Lincoln Memorial and the Louvre but they will convert St Peter's into a mosque, after emptying it of all they can, like they did to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The folklore is that the only reason any of the frescoes survived there is because the destroyers couldn't find a sufficiently convenient way to get high enough to reach them.

George said...

"It was invented by Christians when they burned the Library of Alexandria. They then went on to give us a thousand years of the Dark Ages."

You fail history.

Alexander said...

I keep hearing that. And yet, somehow these Christians in the dark ages not only created the modern university system, but also monasteries as far out as bloody Ireland preserving historical texts.

And whenever anyone mentions "Islamic Golden Age", they always seem to really mean "Persian who were studying in Baghdad long before the Muslims showed up, and then began the process of turning Baghdad into the sort of place ISIS would be proud of."

So no, while I'm sure you can point to a handful of texts that did only survive because a copy was located in the Islamic world, it is not true to state that they actively or accidentally preserved Greco-Roman tradition, or that Christians would have (or did) destroy it all.

One also notes that Rome at its fall was Christian, and that from Atilla to the Mongols/Golden Horde to the the Turks extinguishing Byzantium and reaching Vienna, the trend is decidedly non-Christian populations removing centers of learning from Christian populations, not Christians removing them from among themselves.

Oliver Cromwell is an exception that proves the rule. Otherwise, the bogey men of Christian culture are a state-sponsored secret police that took centuries to kill as many people as Obama has droned, and Christians having the audacity to try and reclaim what was - at the time - the heartland of Christendom in Syria and Anatolia.

Gabriel said...

Western museums have as much right to the art and archaelogy of the ancient world as the people living in the Middle East have. Egyptian Arabs didn't build the Pyramids, there weren't any Arabs in Egypt then to speak of.

And the Arabs in Iraq didn't build Nineveh. There are people living in Iraq today who are the descendants of Ninevah, and they are a persecuted minority, just like the Copts in Egypt are.

Anonymous said...

I love to travel but wandering from one airbnb to another for more than a year sounds ghastly. Just not knowing what you'll get from the unreliable airbnb would drive me nuts to begin with. And who wants to spend more than half your day while supposedly on vacation cooking, cleaning, and washing dishes? I'd much rather take a few strategic vacations a year and stay in decent hotels and eat in restaurants. But I have better things to do with my life than be on permanent vacation.

Qwerty Smith said...

And lest we get on our high horse and think ISIS destroying ancient artifacts is unique to 2015, remember that during the 1650s Oliver Cromwell broke Catholic stuff in the name of Christ.

William said...

Is it even possible to blaspheme a god that no one believes in? There's a difference between an iconoclast and a vandal..........Blasphemy against the Catholic Church is generally counted as a virtue by the left, especially the English left. In Homage to. Catalonia, the sainted Orwell describes with some satsfaction how he used a Catholic Church for a latrine. Orwell expresses some regret for using the woodworking within that church for firewood, but that was because of its artistic merit and not for its sacred nature.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I mean, it's bad, but let's all remember the Crusades. And am I the only one to remember the part of Civilization where Kenneth Clark damn near weeps over the destruction of French cathedral art, etc?

Smilin' Jack said...
Iconoclasm. If you're inclined to reach back into history, you will, perhaps, find it everywhere.

It was invented by Christians when they burned the Library of Alexandria. They then went on to give us a thousand years of the Dark Ages.


No they didn't, and no they didn't. Swing and a miss, there, Jack.

Paco Wové said...

"You fail history."

An understatement.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I curse the cultural imperalism that has allowed priceless antiquities to be protected in Western museums.

Anonymous said...

Qwerty Smith: And lest we get on our high horse and think ISIS destroying ancient artifacts is unique to 2015...

So, who are these high-horse riding people who think iconoclasm is something uniquely ISIS c. 2015?

Look, I know Althouse is fond of these silly little rounds of "bet you didn't know", but for that game to work even on its own silly little terms, there have to exist people who are indignant about the vandalism of ISIS because they are ignorant (or hypocritically in denial) of the history of iconoclasm. So, who are these people?

Anonymous said...

George: You fail history.

Now, now, be charitable. If the Christians hadn't burnt down all the libraries and universities, and torched the UPS and FedEx fleets that could have delivered decent history books to his front porch, Jack would not have been reduced to trying to piece together the historical record from movies and television.

tim in vermont said...

If Christians got to cause 1000 years of Dark Ages, no fair if Muslims can't do the same.

mccullough said...

Belong? Well, sir, you might say it belonged to the King of Spain, but I don't see how you can honestly grant anybody else clear title to it--except by right of possession.

Russ said...

There's also a Lenin statue in Seattle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Lenin,_Seattle#cite_ref-1

Jason said...

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2010/06/the-perniciously-persistent-myths-of-hypatia-and-the-great-library

More on the bullshit meme that the Jesus Freaks are responsible for the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, the term "iconoclast" comes from the Byzantines, where there was a long running fight between the iconoclasts 9icon destroyers) and iconodules (icon lovers).

The iconoclasts eventually won.

JackWayne said...

Smilin' Jack, the reason you fail history is pretty simple - when the barbarians conquered Rome, they destroyed all the banks. It took about 750 years to set up a mercantile system with banks. Everybody gets down on bankers but they are the true precursors of modern civilization.

Steven said...

Holy war, iconoclasm, and teetotalism were all unknown practices among Christians prior to the conquest of half of Christendom by Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Prof,

You know how stupid these people are. I do not think they have a brain. Here is why. They kidnap and ask for ransom. Now, they destroy heritage instead of selling it to others. These terrorists must be the least developed humans on the planet. The Last Apes Standing.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"Iconoclasm. If you're inclined to reach back into history, you will, perhaps, find it everywhere.

It was invented by Christians when they burned the Library of Alexandria. They then went on to give us a thousand years of the Dark Ages."

Gadzooks! Not even close to the historical record. Even by Internet standards that's a shocking display of ignorance.

On a lighter note, this destruction shit is one more indicator that Islamofascists probably aren't going to survive their own excesses. Yeah, they'll break a lot of stuff and murder a lot of innocent folks but when the grown-ups of the world, including the Muzzie grown-ups, get seriously tired of their crap the bat-shit Muzzies are going to get a sudden and violent come-uppance. History tells us this is pretty much always the case. Counter-intuitive prediction that I won't be alive to be called on: In 75 years the West and Near East will be going through an expansion of Christianity that will make the Great Awakening look like an afternoon nap.

Michael K said...

"It was invented by Christians when they burned the Library of Alexandria. They then went on to give us a thousand years of the Dark Ages.

Ironically, ancient Greek learning survived only because the texts were preserved in the Arab world while being destroyed by Christians in Europe."

Sorry to burst your bubble but Greek learning was partly preserved because Greeks "converted" to keep their heads and did all the translations. The Arabs were not interested in philosophy or theater so most of Sophocles plays, for example, are lost.

The Christians did burn the Library at Alexandria but the Dark Ages were really not so dark and you really should do some reading about them,

For example, the windmill, the mould board plow and many other inventions were devised in that period. Monks preserved many of the writings of the ancients.

For example, the monk Albertus Magnus discovered arsenic and was a great scholar.

Albert was the first to comment on virtually all of the writings of Aristotle, thus making them accessible to wider academic debate. The study of Aristotle brought him to study and comment on the teachings of Muslim academics, notably Avicenna and Averroes, and this would bring him into the heart of academic debate.

Avicenna, for another example, hardly followed the Muslim faith. The Wiki article is reverent but others point out that Avicenna was fond of wine.

He also cites wine-loving Muslim philosophers like the 11th century Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna, who is claimed to have called wine "the best friend of wise people."
To find that tolerance again he believes "Muslims must learn again to drink, and should be piously applying themselves to the task."
Until that happens, Dr Scruton contends, the Koran will continue to be misinterpreted, and the truth that life "is not a fact but a gift" will never be recognised.
"Without the benefit of wine it is hard to seize this truth; harder still to recognise the obligation that it imposes, to be gentle with others, and to allow them their own space," he writes.

Anonymous said...

Michael K: The Christians did burn the Library at Alexandria...

No, they didn't. A lot of people, including Christian mobs, did burn a lot of stuff, including temples with books in 'em, over the centuries in Alexandria. But the, er, credit for burning the Library of Alexandria is distributed rather generously over the centuries by historians, beginning, iirc, with Plutarch fingering Julius Cæsar .

Anonymous said...

Michael K - kudos to the rest of your post, though. (I mean, like Avicenna would be down with ISIS or whatever, lol.)

(Btw, is that a quote from I Drink Therefore I Am? I don't remember much of the philosophy discussed in that book, but I do remember that it made me very thirsty.)

Michael K said...

"No, they didn't. A lot of people, including Christian mobs, did burn a lot of stuff,"

At that point most of Egypt was Christian and the mobs were angry at "Pagan Greeks." I'm afraid they were Christians. If you enter the side door of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, you will see gold mosaics that were destroyed by Frankish crusaders who were so ignorant that they thought the mosaics were really gold.

Smilin' Jack said...

The Christians did burn the Library at Alexandria but the Dark Ages were really not so dark and you really should do some reading about them.

Yeah, sorry. On further reading I learned that the Dark Ages only got that name because the weather happened to be really cloudy for that millennium.

Christy said...

It's sorta funny. Nineveh was made great by Sennacherib, Neo-Assyrian king who bragged "[Babylon's] inhabitants, young and old, I did not spare, and with their corpses I filled the streets of the city." The Assyrians were so nasty that when finally defeated, their enemies so thoroughly destroyed the city that a hundred years later Nineveh had completely disappeared from the landscape. ISIS and the Assyrians strike me as having a lot in common. Scary. Because Assyria ruled by terror for nearly two millennia. The library at Nineveh was fabulous because Ashurbanipal, the last great king, was an avid book collector who didn't mind taking what he wanted at sword point.

Jason said...

"It was invented by Christians when they burned the Library of Alexandria. They then went on to give us a thousand years of the Dark Ages."

"Was it over when the... The Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Anonymous said...

Michael K: At that point most of Egypt was Christian and the mobs were angry at "Pagan Greeks." I'm afraid they were Christians.

Dr. K, I'm not arguing with you about what you think I'm arguing with you about.

Yeah, at that point the vandalizing mobs were Christian. "That point" being a point in time where historians disagree about whether the fabled Library of Alexandria was still extant in any form, considering several preceding centuries of wear and tear and active depredation.

If you enter the side door of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, you will see gold mosaics that were destroyed by Frankish crusaders who were so ignorant that they thought the mosaics were really gold.

Which has nothing to do with the fact that the usual potted history rendition of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria is anachronistic and inaccurate.

ken in tx said...

The Vandals who invaded the Western Roman Empire were Arian Christians. They gave their name to vandalism by their habit of trashing Catholic churches, which they considered heretical. Arian Christian believed that the Trinity consisted of three separate divine beings.