Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Acquistion (for Acquisition)

The Alexandrian Library in ancient Egypt had a rather rapacious acquisitions policy. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, so named for his love of books, wanted to collect all of the books in the world. He wrote to all of the known kings and princes requesting copies of every document they had in their own libraries.

In addition, every ship coming into the port at Alexandria was searched, with original books confiscated and copies returned to the ships. Underhanded acquisitions techniques abounded: once, the library borrowed the official copies of Greek tragedies from Athens, giving a deposit in return. The Ptolemies wanted these copies so badly that they decided to forfeit their money and keep the plays instead. (In all fairness, they did return high-quality copies to Athens.)

Acquiring typing errors is not nearly so prestigious as acquiring books, so watch out for this one: acquistion is a high probability typo on the Ballard List, with over 900 hits in Worldcat.

(Image of a papyrus page from the Egyptian Book of the Dead from Encyclopedia Britannica)

Leanne Olson


Ruth said...

Argentia is in Newfoundland, not Nova Scotia.

Dwelling Places said...

It is all in how you see it...right