Now try the task

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-C from the list of headings below.

List of Headings

i  The destruction of the library

ii  Collection methods

iii  Replacing lost books

iv The library’s original purpose

Storage methods

5  Paragraph A

Paragraph B

7  Paragraph C




5  iv

6  v

7  ii


The Old library of Alexandria


The ancient library of Alexandria, which served as the intellectual and cultural hub of Egypt for 250 years, was tragically destroyed in 43 BC. Now there is widespread speculation about its true beginnings. The most popular theory is that Ptolemy I Soter (who ruled from 304 to 282 BC) gathered a vast selection of books on kingship, ruling and the world’s people, so he might better understand trade terms and how to lead his subjects.



Ptolemy I longed to possess all the literature in the world. The manuscripts took the form of scrolls kept in pigeonholes, the best of them wrapped in jackets of leather or linen. They are likely to have remained in the groups in which they were acquired, rather than being properly categorized. Parchment wasn’t used until later, when the first books began to be written and kept in wooden chests in Roman times.



As the library expanded, Ptolemy’s successors used increasingly unscrupulous techniques to obtain manuscripts. One source claims that every ship sailing into Alexandria’s harbor was routinely searched and, if a book was found, it was confiscated and taken to the library. There it was examined and a decision made whether to keep it and make replacement copy, to be given to its rightful owner together with adequate reimbursement, or to just return the original copy outright.

Explain why the extra headings are attractive, but wrong.

   This is mentioned briefly but is not a key idea.

ii     Found books are mentioned, but not lost books.

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