Cracked.com, purveyor of interesting and funny lists, has compiled one entitled “7 Books We Lost to History That Would Have Changed the World“. What I wouldn’t give to get my hands on any one of them.
#2 Ab urbe condita libri, by Livy
It detailed the entire history of Rome from its Trojan forefathers to the reign of Caesar Augustus, 800 years later–which means it includes a shitload of information on the subject not written down anywhere else. This bastard weighed in at 142 freaking volumes and anyone who ever got their hands on any part of it agreed that it was absolutely astounding.
After the West fell to ruin, Livy’s beast became the single most sought-after book from antiquity, all without a single splash of gratuitous violence or naked women.
Imagine finding an ancient copy of “Egyptian architecture” to settle once and for all how they built pyramids. Not the “Time Life Books”-type? That’s cool, because you would have also been able to look up all the Gladiator records. All the mysteries of Ancient Rome would be at least kind of answered. Granted you’d probably never be able to read the whole book on your own; just owning one copy of this megalodon would pit every university on Earth in a bidding war to buy it from you.
But just the parts of Livy’s histories that survived helped Italy invent a little something called “the Renaissance,” and the books themselves were worshiped like goddamn monoliths.