Benghazi was one of five cities, the Pentapolis, of Cyrene, known for achievements in science, art, and culture. Founded in 630 BCE by Therans migrating from drought-plagued Santorini, who may have been among the first climate refugees, Cyrene extended Greek culture to Libya. Measurement of the earth’s circumference, mechanics of doubling a cube, early ideas about prime numbers, a timeline of world history — all these advances in knowledge originated in Cyrenaica. Astronomers drew the first map of the stars, tallied at 675 at the time. Second largest in Libya, the city has had many names: Berenice, Hesperides, Euesperides, Barneeq, Marsa ibn Ghazi, and finally Benghazi. Can modern day Libya, and specifically Benghazi, take inspiration from Cyrene’s impressive history? Will the land that produced Eratosthenes and Apollonia give the world another great scientist or poet?
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.