The Google Doodle of today honours renowned Egyptian historian and professor of Greco-Roman studies Mostafa El-Abbadi on his 94th birthday. The second largest library in Alexandria was a result of his labours.
On this day in 1928, El-Abbadi was born in Cairo, Egypt. El-interest Abbadi’s in academia began when he was a little boy because his father founded the University of Alexandria’s College of Letters and Arts. He received a scholarship from the Egyptian government to study at the University of Cambridge when he was 22 years old and graduated with honours from the University of Alexandria. El-Abbadi earned his doctorate in ancient history while studying under eminent historians.
El-Abbadi returned to the University of Alexandria after receiving his degree and started working there as a lecturer before becoming a professor of Greco-Roman studies. He was particularly interested in the Library of Alexandria, the first universal library built in ancient Egypt and home to an estimated 500,000 books in many different national and linguistic traditions. El-Abbadi rose to prominence in the field and delivered lectures on the Library of Alexandria all over the world. In the well praised book Life and Fate of the Ancient Library of Alexandria, he presented his discoveries and study.
He frequently advocated a modern recreation of the great universal library in his talks. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Egyptian government were persuaded to sponsor El-idea. Abbadi’s The Bibliotheca Alexandrina debuted in 2002 after nearly 15 years of planning and building. The library has seven storeys, four museums, a planetarium, and over eight million books! It serves as a public research institute in addition to its other roles.
El-Abbadi served as the Archaeological Society of Alexandria’s president and was awarded the Order of the Nile, Egypt’s highest honour.
Happy 94th birthday, Mostafa El-Abbadi!
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