4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: All Eras   |   Theme: Destruction / Loss of Information


Circa 3,200 BCE – 3,000 BCE
A side-view of the Warka Vase, before the invasion of Iraq. (View Larger)
One of the Earliest Surviving Works of Narrative Relief Sculpture, Looted…
Circa 2,500 BCE
The Abu Salbikh Tablet Lost in the Iraq War
Circa 550 BCE
The Yinqueshan bamboo strips, the earliest manuscript of Sun Tzu's 'Art of War,' on exhibition in a Chinese museum. (View Larger)
The Oldest Known Work on Military Strategy
535 BCE
Disappearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments
390 BCE – 387 BCE
A statue of Brennus by an unknown French artist. (View Larger)
The Gauls Sack Rome and Destroy Most Records
Circa 300 BCE
The Royal Library of Alexandria: The Largest Collection of Recorded Information…
213 BCE – 206 BCE
Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang.
Destroying Most Records of the Past Along with 460, or More, Scholars
Circa 53 BCE – 23 CEThe Earliest Bibliographical Classification System 66 CE – 73 CE
Destruction of the Second Temple
Circa 200 CE – 400 CEThe Transition from the Roll to the Codex Resulted in Both Survival and Destruction of Information 203 CE – 211 CE
A reconstruction of a portion of the Forma Urbis Romae, showing a section of the Theater of Pompey. (View Larger)
The Forma Urbis Romae, Monumental Stone Map of Ancient Rome
February 24, 303 CE – 311 CE
The Diocletianic Persecution of Christians
330 CE – 1453The Decline of Literacy in the Byzantine Empire Circa 357 CE – 1453The Imperial Library of Constantinople, About Which Very Little is Known 391 CEEarly Christians May Have Destroyed What Remained of the Alexandrian Library Because of its Pagan Contents Circa 450 CE – 550
Fragment 26v of the Cotton Genesis, depicting Abraham. (View Larger)
Fragments of a Fifth or Sixth Century Codex
Circa 450 CE – 650The Church Assumes Role of Educator and Civil Service for the Tribal Kingdoms 450 CE – 1193The First Residential University 455 CE
Karl Briullov's interpretation of Geiseric's sack of 455. (View Larger)
The Second Sack of Rome
534The Deterioration of Libraries, Publishing and Educational Institutions in Italy by the Sixth Century Circa 550 – 750The Dark Ages for Study of the Classics on the European Continent Circa 550 – 645Perhaps the First Library in Japan 585 – 590
Saint Columbanus.
The Monastery and Library at Luxeuil is Founded and Subsequently Sacked,…
702The First State Libraries in Japan Circa 750
Folio 11 of the Codex Aureus, inscribed in Old English. (View Larger)
The Stockholm Codex Aureus, Looted Twice by Vikings
June 8, 793
The ruins of Lindisfarne Abbey. (View Larger)
Vikings Sack the Monastery and Library of Lindisfarne in the First Viking…
800 – 830
Example of Carolingian minuscule script.
Adoption of the Carolingian Minuscule Brought the Destruction of Many Late Roman Manuscripts
Circa 850
An icon depicting St. Photius. (View Larger)
The First Byzantine Encylopedia
Circa 860 – 920The Codex Spirensis, of which Only a Single Leaf of the Original Survives 867
Vikings Destroy the Library of York Cathedral
Circa 930
The Book of Judges, chapters 1:15 to 2:1, from the Aleppo Codex. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Manuscript of the Complete Hebrew Bible
988 – 990The Earliest Universal Bibliography Circa 1050 – 1150
Page 74 of the Dresden Codex, depicting a great flood, flowing from the mouth of a celestial dragon. This represents the Central American notion of apocolypse. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Book Written in the Americas
1068Destruction of the 200,000 Volume Palace Library at Cairo March – November 1095
Henri Gourgouillon's vision of Pope Urban II, located at le Place de la Victoire in Clermont-Ferrand, France. (View Larger)
Origins of the First Crusade
1167 – 1185
Plate 8 of the Englehardt facsimile of the Hortus delicarum. In the centermost circle, Philosophy rests upon a queenly throne, holding a banner that says 'All wisdom comes from God, only the wise can do what they want.' Directly below sit Socrates and Plato, at abutting desks. In the surrounding orbs stand the Seven Liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. (View Larger)
Written and Illuminated by the Nun Herrad of Landsberg
1175Norman Crusaders Take Manuscripts as Spoils of War March 16, 1190
Clifford's Tower. (View Larger)
Massacre of the Jewish Community of York, England Reflected in the Survival…
Circa 1200Private Libraries in the Muslim World, Destroyed or Plundered by Crusaders 1218 – 1220
A bust of Genghis Khan. (View Larger)
The Greatest Destruction of Muslim Libraries
June 9 – June 20, 1239Pope Gregory IX Orders the Seizure and Burning of Jewish Books June 3, 1240
A portrait of Louis IX.
Copies of the Talmud are Seized in France
June 1242Louis IX Orders the Burning of 12,000 Manuscripts of the Talmud 1245 – 1783The Vatican Archives Follow the Movements of the Pope 1258
Hulagu Khan with his wife, Dokuz Kathun. (View Larger)
So Many Books were Thrown into the Tigris River that they Formed a Bridge…
1269 – 1544Survival of the Works of Archimedes was Dependent upon Three Manuscripts, Only One of Which Survived to the Present 1411 – 1419
The De Virga world map. (View Larger
Medieval Mappa Mundi, Stolen during an Auction
Circa 1430The Aztec Emperor Itzcoatl Orders the Burning of All Historical Codices Circa 1481 – 1482
Detail of page from Herbarium apulei with illustration of herb.  Please click to view entire image.
"Herbarium Apulei", the First Printed Herbal with Illustrations and Probably the First Series of Illustrations on a Scientific Subject
August 1485"A Horse, A Horse, My Kingdom for a Horse." August 19, 1509 – June 6, 1510
   Maximilain I, who greatly extended the House of Habsburg around the turn of the 16th century, decreed in 1509 the confiscation of Jewish books as a method of encouraging Jewish conversion to Christianity; however, he reversed his decision in 1510 and the texts were returned.      (View Larger)
Maximilian I Orders the Confiscation of Jewish Books, but Eventually Rescinds…
May 6, 1527 – February 1528Troups Loyal to Charles V Sack Rome, Marking the End of the High Renaissance 1536 – 1541
 In 1536, King Henry VIII formally disbands all monasteries in his realm and seizes their property, including thousands of books and manuscripts, most of which were subsequently lost or destroyed.  (View Larger)
Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries Brings Destruction and Dispersal…
August 9, 1537 – August 9, 1538Paganino & Alessandro Paganini Issue the First Printed Edition of the Qur'an in Arabic, of Which One Copy Survived 1553
Engraved portrait of Michael Servetus.
Michael Servetus: Medical Discovery, Heresy, and Martyrdom
July 2, 1561 – April 10, 1563Gaspar de Leão Issues the Earliest Surviving Books Printed in India from Movable Type July 12, 1562Bishop Diego de Landa Orders Destruction of the Maya Codices 1588 – 1631Sir Robert Bruce Cotton Forms One of the Most Important Private Collections of Manuscripts Ever Collected in England 1592 – 1593Publication of the Bills of Mortality": the Beginning of the Collection of Medical Statistics 1634Introduction of Book Burning by the Hangman 1639Stephen Dayes Establishes the First Printing Press in North America: No Copies of the First Two Imprints Exist 1640 – 1660Sixty Printed Books and Three Newsbooks Are Ordered to be Burned September 2 – September 5, 1666The Great Fire of London 1670"On the Burning of a Library": A Work of Self-Consolation June 18, 1744John Newberry Issues the First Printed Book Specifically for the Amusement of Children: No Copies of the First Edition Survive April 15, 1770Joseph Priestley & Edward Nairne Invent the Rubber Eraser? 1773 – 1782The Siku Quanshu: Probably the Most Ambitious Editorial Enterprise before the Wikipedia 1793 – 1794Henri Grégoire Proposes a National Bibliography of France August 25, 1814The Library of Congress is Destroyed During the War of 1812 December 24, 1851Fire Destroys Two-Thirds of the Library of Congress 1855Isaiah Deck Describes the Production of Mummy Paper in Nineteenth Century America October 13, 1860"Boston as the Eagle and Wild Goose See It": the First Clear Photographic Aerial View of a City 1866Benjamin Tilghman Invents the Sulfite Pulping Process for Manufacturing Paper from Wood Pulp 1873 – 1950Anthony Comstock Founds the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and Lobbies for Passage of the "Comstock Law" 1889 – 1955One of the Most Dramatic Problems in the Preservation of Media May 1903 – 1914The Beginnings of Modern Spaceflight Theory 1908 – 1914A New Version of Babbage's Analytical Engine, Lost August 25, 1914Destruction of the University Library at Leuven April 6, 1933 – 1945Hitler Seizes Power in Germany and the Nazis Begin Purging Germany of Jews & Jewish Culture, Eventually Burning 100,000,000 Books and Killing About 20 Million People 1937 – 1942The Only Known Complete Inventory of Art Labeled "Degenerate" by the Nazis April 6, 1941The Nazis Destroy the National Library of Serbia October 1944Repeated Dispersal and Eventual Burning of the Greatest Library in Poland February – March 1945Bombing of Dresden Destroys Books and Manuscripts 1949Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is Published 1953 – November 2011Ray Bradbury's Early Dystopian View of Books: "Fahrenheit 451" 1973 – 1990Book Burning and Personal Book Collecting by Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet 1984 – 1986The Digital Domesday Project--Doomed to Early Digital Obsolescence 1987"Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record" February 14, 1988Probably the Worst Library Fire in History August 25, 1992 – May 9, 2014Destruction of the National Library of Bosnia & Herzegovina 2002Over 500,000 Egyptian Papyri Survive April 6 – April 12, 2003
The National Museum of Iraq
Looting of the National Museum of Iraq
November 20, 2006
The Environmental Protection Agency seal
The EPA Begins to Close its Scientific Libraries
November 30, 2006
Stephen Johnson
Demanding that the U.S. EPA Desist from Destroying its Libraries
February 19, 2008The World's Oldest Oil Paintings Restored After Taliban Dynamite March 3, 2009The Largest Municipal Archive in Germany Collapses During Underground Construction September 17, 2009'Material Degradomics" or, The Sniff Test for a Book's Physical State 2011 – 2013An App the Promotes the Value of Impermanence September 2011Snapchat: Communication and Automatic Destruction of Information December 17, 2011Burning of the Library of l'Institut de l'Egypte December 20, 2011Sheikh Sultan Dr. Al-Qasimi Pledges to Restore the Library of l'Institut de l'Egypte 2012The Anatomy of an Internet Attack by "Anonymous" January 28 – January 30, 2013Part of Library of the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu is Burned April 25, 2013How the "The Brazen Bibliophiles of Tumbuktu" Saved Manuscripts from Terrorists July 10, 2013Rare Comic Books Unwittingly Destroyed to Make Papier Mache Sculpture December 9, 2013The National Library of Turkey Sells 147 Tons of Mostly Antiquarian Books to a "Junk Company" January 2014Destruction of Canadian Environmental Libraries January 4, 2014The Burning of Two-Thirds of an Historic Antiquarian Bookshop in Tripoli, Lebanon January 24, 2014Car Bombing of Police Headquarters Damages Building Housing Egyptian National Library and Museum of Islamic Art February 25, 2014"Unlooting the Iraq Museum": A Summary May 8, 2014Visionary Plans for a New City Library in Baghdad September 8, 2014A New Threat to the Beseiged Libraries and Cultural Heritage of Iraq October 21, 2014ISIS Burns the Manuscripts and Paintings at Mar Behnam Monastery January 31, 2015"Iraqi Libraries Ransacked by Islamic State in Mosul"