Historical Issue

Man Shouts Fire in Crowded Library of Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA — Last Thursday, shortly after the sundial struck VIII, a fire reportedly broke out in the geometry section of the Library of Alexandria, where a crowd had gathered to watch famed geometer Eratosthenes Pedantos’ rather circular lecture “On The Circularity of Circles.” 

According to eyewitness reports, bystander Brasidas Alcmaeid was the first to notice the fire; unfortunately, he was asking Eratosthenes a question at the time. “We didn’t realize he’d seen a fire,” says Protagoras, a scroll-cleaner at the library. “Everybody thought that his question, ‘What is the tangent line of FIRE!!!’ was pretty intense, but he does that sometimes.” Instead, Brasidas’ tangent caused a riveting debate about the nature of fire, including “whether Prometheus knew about the wave-your-finger-through-fire-fast-enough-and-you’ll-be-okay trick.”

“They got what was coming to them,” said occupying centurion Gladius Maximus about the fire’s victims. “By the time we got there at half past IX, they were all yelling about how ‘the essence of fire transfers its elemental form into ashen substance,’ while it transferred their elemental… you get the point.” Several witnesses confirmed Gladius’ account. “Eratosthenes Pedantos was no help,” one said. “He just kept shouting ‘Ooh, you got burned!’ and chuckling to himself every time one of his ‘demented sophist’ opponents went up in flames.” Despite some evidence of arson, the suspects’ identities remain unclear.

In other news, Josephus Instigatus’ net worth has surpassed one billion drachmas, due to his acquisition of several newly-rare manuscripts.