“(The Mouseion) was part of the royal palaces; it had a walk (peripatos), an arcade (exedera), a large house in which was a refectory for members of the Mouseion. They formed a community who held property in common, with a priest appointed by the kings (under the Empire, by Caesar) in charge of the Mouseion.” (Strabo. 17.1.8) The key figure in the earliest period (Foundation to 280 BC) was Demetrius of Phaleron, advisor of Ptolemy Soter and possibly the founder of the Alexandrian Library and Museum. Demetrius was an experienced person both in letters and politics44. He probably helped Ptolemy to understand how Alexandria might most effectively be developed as a cultural center, while he further laid the foundations of institutional patronage for the next generation. He was the first to invite important scholars to the Alexandrian court, possibly including Euclide45. Even at this early stage, there was a clear tendency not to limit the works of the newly found institutions to those of the Greek world. There were several projects, aimed at understanding other cultures such as the translation of the Septuagint version the Old Testament into Greek, for which Ptolemy Soter hired and housed 72 rabbis at Demetrius' suggestion. This project must have been completed in the years of Ptolemy Philadelphus (Fig. 51)46. 196
Demetrius was the tyrant of Athens from 317 to 302 BCE, where he had the opportunity to be educated by Theofrastous, the successor of Aristotle in the directorship of the Lyceum. 45 Hölbl, 2001, 64. 46 This is referred in the so-called Letter of Aristeas (9-10), yet for several scholars the translation of the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament took place during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus exclusively, which means that Demetrius could not be part of the project, since his was exiled by the former. Fraser, 1972, 690.