As an undergraduate student of the classics, I was fascinated by the fact that we did not have the whole corpus of Greek and Latin literature. I was very interested, for instance, in the pre-Socratics and was surprised to learn how little of their work remained. [Professor Tigner’s class on the pre-Socratics, like Professor Doerner’s course comparing The Republic and The Politics, remains etched in my mind.] The burnings of the Great Library of Alexandria – first by Christian and then by Moslem fanatics – remain to my mind the greatest acts of barbarism in human history.
So it comes as exciting news that scholars have found ways to read scrolls recovered from the ruins at Herculaneum, sister city to Pompeii. Look at this notice in Discovery Magazine blog and see how new technology is enabling us to see within the charred scrolls.