The main centre of literary activity was transferred from Athens to Alexandria about 250 B.c., and this city, which had been founded by Alexander in 332 B.C., under Ptolemy Philadelphus became a great book mart.
As far as the history of libraries is concerned, the Alexandrian library was comparatively late. The East had known libraries thousands of years earlier. The Greeks themselves had founded their first state library about one hundred years earlier ; this was established by the Greek government at Heracleia, on the southern shore of the Black Sea, some time before 350 B.C., in the days when the great Alexander was a little boy.
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