Gestolen erfenis I: diefstal in Alexandrië | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 50, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



The present contribution, the first panel of a diptych, discusses a claim put forward by George G.M. James in his book (1954). According to James, the Macedonian king Alexander III in association with the philosopher Aristotle plundered the Royal Library at Alexandria – a crucial episode in what Afrocentric thinkers consider the theft of African philosophy by the Greeks. The article presents and analyses the evidence for the founding of Alexandria, for Aristotle’s whereabouts during Alexander’s conquest of the Persian Empire, and for the establishment of the Alexandrian library. James’ contention turns out to be unsupported by any evidence. In addition, it is at odds with the results of historical research into events of the late fourth and early third century BCE relevant to the matter at hand. The alleged theft must have taken place in a city not yet founded, by a philosopher with an alibi, and in an institution that would not be established until at least a quarter of a century after the death of the Macedonian conqueror. Afrocentric responses to such criticisms will be discussed in a sequel to this contribution, published elsewhere in this issue of .


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