c. 525–456 B.C.E.

Greek poet and tragedian. The subject of numerous commentaries by Alexandria Library scholars, Aeschylus was the first great Greek playwright. His best known work is a trilogy of plays, called the Oresteia, tracing the tragedy of the family of King Agamemnon after his return from the Trojan War.


c. 484–425 B.C.E.

Greek historian. Born in Halicarnassus, Asia Minor, Herodotus traveled widely in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. During his travels, he collected material for his great narrative history, the Persian Wars, a vivid record of the wars between the Greeks and the Persians.


c. 450–388 B.C.E.

Greek poet and comic playwright. Critical editions of many of Aristophanes’s plays (only 11 have survived) were produced at the Alexandria Library. His works include a comic treatment of the war between the sexes (Lysistrata) and satires of earlier poets (Frogs) and philosophers (Clouds).


c. 427–347 B.C.E.

Greek philosopher. The teacher of Aristotle, Plato wrote dialogues on philosophical, political and mathematical themes from the viewpoint of his own teacher, Socrates. Among his Socratic dialogues are the Republic, on the building of an ideal state, and the Symposium, on the nature of love.


c. 384–322 B.C.E.

Greek philosopher. After studying at Plato’s school in Athens, Aristotle became tutor to Alexander the Great. He founded a school of philosophy at the Lyceum in Athens, called the Peripatetic School, and wrote original works on mechanics, biology, physiology, astronomy, ethics, politics, metaphysics, aesthetics and literature.


c. 384–322 B.C.E.

Athenian orator. An Athenian patriot, Demosthenes wrote a number of “Philippics,” passionate speeches advocating resistance to the growing power of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. When Athens fell to Philip in 338 B.C.E., Demosthenes wrote his On the Crown, in which he defends his views on democracy and liberty.

Julius Caesar

c. 100–44 B.C.E.

Roman statesman and historian. As a general, Caesar extended the Roman Empire to present-day France and England. In 49 B.C.E., he invaded Italy and became sole emperor of Rome, ending the days of the republic. The author of several histories, such as the Gallic Wars, Caesar likely collected numerous volumes from the Alexandria Library.


c. 205–270 C.E.

Greco-Roman philosopher. After studying in Alexandria, Plotinus settled in Rome, where he developed the philosophy of Neoplatonism, which synthesizes ideas from Plato and Aristotle concerning the nature of reality and the mind. Neoplatonism became a dominant school of thought at the Alexandria Library and an influence on early Christian doctrine.