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



In the present article, a sequel to a contribution published elsewhere in this issue of , I discuss afrocentric attempts to amend James’ story of the plundering of the Royal Library at Alexandria by Alexander and Aristotle. The aim of these attempts is to salvage from its critics the fiction of a palpable theft of Egyptian wisdom by the Greeks. Rakote, the original Egyptian settlement on the location of the city founded by Alexander, is substituted for Alexandria, a temple library for the Ptolemaic institute, and Callisthenes for Aristotle. While James’ apologists pretend that they are defending the main thesis of , they are actually coming up with a new story to replace James’ untenable invention. The amended story may look superficially less implausible than the original one, it still is an unfounded contention, unsupported by any evidence, and hard to combine with what we know about Alexander’s policies in Egypt and elsewhere. Rather than rescuing James’ ‘hypothesis’ from its critics, the amendments demonstrate the indispensability of fiction for afrocentric discourse.


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