Everyone today who has received a minimum of education has a picture of the spiritual development of Antiquity, of the spiritual evolution that preceded Christianity. But how different this picture would be if Archbishop Theophilus of Alexandria had not burnt in the year 391 seven hundred thousand scrolls which contained vitally important records of Roman, Egyptian, Indian and Greek literature and their cultural life. Just imagine how different would be the picture of Antiquity if these seven hundred thousand scrolls had not been burnt. And from this you will realize how much reliance can be placed on the history of the past which has documentary support — or rather how little reliance!
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Building Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha: Lecture Nine – Berlin 1st May 1917
Translated by A.H. Parker