The Library of Alexandria and The Cairo Serapeum were ancient storehouses of the ancient knowledge. Everyone knows about the Library of Alexandria and its destruction by fire, but they know little or nothing of the Cairo Serapeum.
The Library of Alexandria actually suffered many fires but it finally was sacked around 390AD once Paganism was outlawed. However, its first real brush with possible destruction was during Ceasar’s civil war. After this event, the scribes began moving the most important works to a sister library located in the Serapeum in modern day Cairo. Many have confused the Serapeum in Alexandria (much younger) with the one in Cairo as the sister library.
The Curious Life of Auguste Mariette
The Cairo Serapeum has an extensive catacomb system under it and was sealed and hidden until Auguste Mariette found it in 1850. Mariette’s life was a very interesting one. In his 30’s he discovered the Serapeum and because of his success there, the French government secured a sweetheart deal with the Egyptian government allowing Mariette to have the green light for further excavations.
His findings follow a path that only recently raises eyebrows. It is as if he had a roadmap showing the hiding places of ancient knowledge. Did he discover that the ancient Greeks were correct when they claimed that Khaemwaset possessed the famous Emerald Tablet of Thoth-Tehuti-Hermes? It has been confirmed that he discovered Prince Khaemwaset’s sarcophagus at the Serapeum and Khaemwaset was known by the Greeks and Egyptians as the King of Magicians.
Mariette rarely left Egypt after his first discoveries. He rose to a level of prominence in Egypt and while most of the artifacts he found went to museums in France and Egypt, the scrolls and tablets stayed with him. History states that his museum along with all of his notes and drawings were destroyed by a flood shortly before his passing but this can’t be proven. He did however, handpick his replacement. A linguist from France…not an archaeologist such as himself. He died at the age of 59, prematurely aged and mostly blind.
Control vs. Balance
Did the draw of the power he found in those scrolls and tablets drive him to an early grave? We must always respect nature and the power of the Universe. It is very easy to get lost in a desire to control all that is around us but it may not be for us to control; only to find balance. Once balance with the Universe is achieved then we can begin to produce magical music by plucking on the harp strings of the Universe.
Please understand that there is more to the Ancient Arts than just the Medieval European traditions that so many try to revive.