UPDATED! Walk Like an Egyptian: A Visit to the Ancient Library of Alexandria in Second Life (and Some Free Egyptian Outfits!)

This is a blogpost that I have been sitting on for a while, from a tour I took last March, which I only found the time to finish editing this afternoon. It’s a long blogpost, so go get some coffee and settle in!

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL, a division of the American Library Association) has a Virtual Worlds Interest Group (VWIG) which provides an opportunity for academic librarians with virtual world interests and responsibilities to have a place in ACRL to network, share information, ask questions, and work on special projects and programs relevant to academic libraries. The Interest Group also works to promote the various uses of virtual environments to potential and current academic librarians and to improve information literacy specifically in virtual worlds. The ACRL VWIG sponsors events, programs and meetings held mainly within the virtual world of Second Life and explores other developing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality environments.

On March 17th, 2021, I participated in an ACRL Virtual Worlds Interest Group-sponsored tour of the ancient Library of Alexandria in Second Life.

Here’s your taxi to the Info Hub for the sprawling complex of sims that is home to the Library, where there is a panel taking you to six different areas (3 for ancient Egyptian Alexandria, and 3 for ancient Greece):

Or, if you want to travel there directly, here’s the exact SLURL to the Library of Alexandria. (The entire set of sims is well worth a wander, however! Set aside a couple of hours, and if your avatar should need some appropriate historical attire, just scroll down to the end of this blogpost for some freebies for men and women!)

The hypothetical historical recreation of the Library of Alexandria in Second Life

Here’s a bit of background on the library complex and its historical significance (I believe I picked up this notecard at the site of the library in Second Life):

The Musaeum or Mouseion at Alexandria (Ancient Greek: Μουσεῖον τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας), which included the famous Library of Alexandria, was an institution said to have been founded by Ptolemy I Soter. This original Musaeum (“Institution of the Muses”) was the home of music or poetry, a philosophical school and library such as Plato’s Academy, and also a storehouse of texts. It did not have a collection of works of art; rather it was an institution that brought together some of the best scholars of the Hellenistic world, analogous to a modern university. This original Musaeum was the source for the modern usage of the word museum.

The idea of collecting all the past Greek literature at Alexandria had also a very important ideological goal, since it presented the Ptolemaic capital as the legitimate heir of ancient Greece. The Ptolemaic capital emerged as the hub of the latest discoveries in many fields. Ptolemaic patronage was central to the growing prestige of Alexandria in Hellenistic scientific development.

it was most likely founded by Ptolemy I (306–282 bce) (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 5.8.11), and Ptolemy II (282–246 bce) might have developed it further.

The Hellenistic kings also fostered ‘scientific research’, especially the Ptolemies who founded the Museum on the model of the Mouseia of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Peripatos (Plut. Non posse 1095d). The Ptolemies, were particularly active in promoting scholarship, with the result that scientific and technical knowledge flourished under their rule. They funded research institutions such as the Library, providing scholars with funds and the necessary tools (i.e. books) for carrying out their research (direct patronage). Despite the gaps in our evidence, the Ptolemies seem indeed to stand out for their scientific patronage, both because they were the first to embark on such a project, and because they did so to a far greater extent than the other Hellenistic rulers. It eventually left an enduring legacy in science and scholarship

A second library in the Serapeum, the temple of Serapis, was probably founded by Ptolemy III (246–222 bce). The Royal Library was led by a head librarian, perhaps called προστάτης τῆς βιβλιοθήκης, who was appointed by the king and also served as royal tutor. Ptolemy III had issued an order that all books on ships arriving at Alexandria had to be taken and copied: the originals would be kept in the Library and only the copies returned to the owners.

More than 1,000 scholars lived in the Mouseion at a given time. Staff members and scholars were salaried by the Mouseion and paid no taxes. They also received free meals, free room and board, and free servants. The Mouseion was administered by a priest appointed by the Pharaoh.

The Mouseion’s scholars conducted scientific research, published, lectured, and collected as much literature as possible from the known world. In addition to Greek works, foreign texts were translated from Assyrian, Persian, Jewish, Indian languages, and other sources. The edited versions of the Greek literary canon that we know today, from Homer and Hesiod forward, exist in editions that were collated and corrected by the scholars assembled in the Musaeum at Alexandria.

Here is an edited transcript of our guided library tour, along with some pictures I took. Ellen of Sparta was our tour guide:

Ellen of Sparta: Welcome! Ok… so, lets start. I want to welcome you, to this Tour of the Great Library. This past weekend, in the USA, we set our clocks for spring, by moving one hour ahead, for Daylight Savings Time. And now, since all of you have arrived safely, I will suggest that you move your clocks back by 2063 years, as we live in the year 42 BC. This is an ancient region and the architecture and lifestyles, reflect this time. I would like to make some formal introductions and explain a little about what we do here. We are a region of 3 sims, representing two Kingdoms, Egypt (Alexandreia, where we are now) and Greece (Sparta and Delos, adjacent). We are roleplay sims, dedicated to a realistic recreation of this era of history.

Ryan Schultz: Do we have to take part in the roleplay?
Ellen of Sparta: You do not.
Ryan Schultz: Or can we just observe?
Ellen of Sparta: You can visit. Also we have a mix of activities that complement our roleplay including special events, lectures, armies and tournaments, re-enactments of religious rituals, museums, belly dance every Sunday, and modern club events. The Queen and sim owner of two sims, Alexandreia and Rhakotis (representing Egypt) is a lady who has a passion for this historical era, Queen Kleopatra T. Philopator. It was her vision, that led to the creation of Alexandreia, and this Great Library and these two sims of Egypt. I am Queen and sim owner of Greece (Sparta and Delos) which are adjacent. In my sim are two Greek regions of fame, the city state of Sparta, and the sacred island of Delos, located in the Aegean Sea. I encourage you, in your free time to visit and tour.
Valibrarian Gregg: We want to share this space with other educators and librarians
Ellen of Sparta: We have 2 groups, one for Egypt, and one for Greece.. I can add anyone to both and, then you see our notices, for all events

Ellen of Sparta: In the plaza below, where you arrived…we have a statue of Plato, an Exhibit Area, & a Classroom. We also have amphitheaters for lectures. This building… we are in is based our Library upon the one from the film 2009 “Agora” (starring Rachel Weisz & directed by Alejandro Amenabar). This was a movie set.. but well done, so our architect, copied it for here. Once the largest library in the ancient world, the Library of Alexandria contained works by the greatest thinkers and writers of antiquity, including Homer, Plato, Socrates and many others. Alexandria was considered the capital of knowledge and learning for several centuries, in part because of this library. Originally, this was called the “Mouseion” named after, the “muses”.
Ryan Schultz: Fascinating
Ellen of Sparta: And we get the word, museum, from the Muses
Ryan Schultz: And of course museums and libraries are still closely linked today in many places
Ellen of Sparta: It was actually part of a larger complex, known as the Museum of Alexandria and included rooms for the study of astronomy, anatomy, and even a zoo containing exotic animals. While no one knows for sure, the library may have held from 40,000 to 400,000 to 700,000 papyrus scrolls. It was, in its day, the premier library [in the world].

Ellen of Sparta: So, as you look around… the porch, where you came in, has 4 Caryatids at the entry (draped female figures, inspired by the Erechtheion, the Porch of the Maidens, located in Athens). Within the Library are bookcases filled with Scrolls. On the floor of the Library is a mosaic of a Medusa Head (Roman 2nd-3rd century AD, the original is in the Sousse Archaeological Museum, Tunisia). And on the walls are reproductions of ancient egyptian Heiorglyphs.

Ryan Schultz:
I wonder how they kept track of everything here, they must have had some sort of library catalogue
Ellen of Sparta: Our growing library contains one of the largest collection of notecards [text files] in Second Life. Yes Ryan, I can answer that. So, there was a Head Librarian appointed by the Pharaoh and, under his authority, he, himself, or, one of his staff, were in charge of cataloguing. Some spent all their time, cataloging the scrolls.
Ryan Schultz: I bet…400,000 to 700,000 [scrolls] is a LOT.
Ellen of Sparta: With such a large number of scrolls.. yes.. it was a huge task
Ryan Schultz: I had heard they even forced ships to deliver all their scrolls here for copying before they were allowed to leave
Ellen of Sparta: That is true
Masokomi Kiyori: It is thought that approximately 100 people may have worked here.
Ellen of Sparta: We are thinking, at any one time, there may have been up to 1000 in the Library and Mousieion (University).So, it was, a campus. It was, in fact, one of the original research universities in the world, and endured hundreds of years, from Ptolemy I until about 400 AD, so a span of roughly 700 years.

Ellen of Sparta: Our growing library contains one of the largest collection of Notecards in Second Life. This is an active library; you can come, and do research.
The Library is open to all. No library card is required!!!
Ryan Schultz: How did I not know this was here? I’ve been in SL 14 *years* now and this is the first I have heard of it!
Valibrarian Gregg: yes Ryan! That is a huge problem! we don’t know about all the great education sims! That is why we formed the Virtual World Education Consortium and I will talk with Ellen later about it- to promote this 🙂
Ellen of Sparta: In front of each bookcase… is a podium, with the topic.” Touch” a bookcase behind one of the subjects displayed (Egypt, Greece, Rome, Ptolemy, Festivals of Egypt, or Alexandria),

Ellen of Sparta: So, did everyone click on a bookcase? So, you should have seen a menu, and each bookcase is a different subject matter. There are hundreds of notecards [text files] here, and a few images, but mostly notecards. So, what we want to do, is replicate the idea , of the original Library of Alexandreia…and that is, to become, the premier storehouse of info, on the ancient world
Zoe Foodiboo: I love that this library is beautiful and useful!
Ryan Schultz: Yes so do I!
Masokomi Kiyori: Does Alexandria accept scrolls from outside parties on related topics?
Ellen of Sparta: Yes

Valibrarian Gregg: So happy to have found this amazing simulation! Thank you so much Ellen of Sparta!
Ellen of Sparta: You are welcome, Val.

If you wish to pay a visit the Library of Alexandria or other ancient Egyptian historical and roleplay sims in Second Life, you can pick up some free outfits for your trip! Teleport here to the Temple of Nefertari sim, and click on the signs below to pick up some free Egyptian sandals for men and women:

And, right next door at this SLURL, click on this sign to join the Temple of Nefertari group for free:

With that group active, on the opposite wall of this room you can pick up three female outfits and one male outfit for free!

The Egyptian Formal ladieswear includes the wrist and ankle cuffs shown, and the package even includes a braided wig to finish off the look! The ornate gold-and-white dress and jeweled collar comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara; Slink Physique and Hourglass; Belleza Freya, Venus, and Isis; Tonic Curvy and Fine; eBody; Ocacin; and the Meshbody Classic/TMP mesh bodies, plus five standard sizes. (This avatar is also wearing the free ladies’ sandals I picked up earlier, which come in sizes to fit Belleza, Maitreya, and Slink mesh feet).

The Egyptian Girl outfit consists of a linen skirt and top, and also includes wrist and ankle bands (not shown, they are similar to the previous picture), plus the short black wig shown. This outfit comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara; Slink Physique and Hourglass; Belleza Freya, Venus, and Isis; and the Meshbody Classic/TMP bodies.

Note that both the white top and and the white skirt are tintable and texturable, so you can recolour and repattern these pieces for use with other outfits!

Here’s what the free men’s outfit looks like, with the free sandals I mentioned earlier. The tunic comes in five standard sizes, and the sandals come in versions to fit Belleza, Signature, Slink, Adin, Onupup, and Ocacin mesh feet. (I had a bit of trouble getting this tunic to fit right on the shoulder area of this Altamura men’s mesh body, but at least I was able to get a good picture for the blog!)

UPDATE Oct. 13th, 2021: If you are shopping for Egyptian outfits, there’s a new, free group gift over at the Virtual Diva store of this costume (the Virtual Diva group is free to join).

Here’s a closer look at the outfit, which includes the wristband and the helmet (the Egyptian sandals are the freebie ones I picked up at the Temple of Nefertari sim):

Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Creator Spotlight: Three More Historical and Fantasy Outfits from Silvan Moon Designs

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group yet? I will be posting EVEN MORE news and tips on finding fabulous freebies and bargains in Second Life than I now post here on the blog! More information on this brand new SL group here.

Bee Dumpling and Solas NaGealai, the owners of Silvan Moon Designs, do such amazing work that I wanted to once again showcase three of their most recent releases. Silvan Moon Designs (SLURL to their in-world storeSL MarketplaceFlickr) specializes in historical, fantasy, and role play outfits, consistently beautiful and detailed virtual dresses, gowns, and outfits that I have enjoyed over many years!

Afternoon Tea Gown

The Afternoon Tea gown set comes in the Maitreya Lara size only (although you should be able to make it work with other brands of mesh bodies by using the alpha sections on their HUDs). This delightful period gown comes in six different colours:

  • Blooming (light blue and white)
  • Brew (monochrome gray and white)
  • Jam (a deep violet and white)
  • Matcha (a lovely green and white)
  • Merlot (deep red and white)
  • Oolong (a darker blue and white)

Here Vanity Fair is wearing the Oolong version of this wonderful, evocative Victorian gown:

The detail on this gown is wonderful, both front and back!

These Afternoon Tea gown pictures were taken at the Mieville Doyle sim

The Afternoon Tea gown is available at the Silvan Moon Designs main store (exact SLURL), for L$400 per colour.

Daughter of Olaf Tunic Set

This wonderful outfit is available for sale at the Silvan Moon Designs booth at the Viking Saga round of the Enchantment shopping event in Second Life (here’s the exact SLURL of the booth at the event).

The Daughter of Olaf tunic set consists of four separate pieces which you can mix and match to a certain extent (wearing the shirt just with the girdle, with the maille, or both; wearing the outfit with or without leggings). The four pieces are:

  • a long shirt that could double as a dress;
  • a maille armour layer to wear overtop of the dress;
  • a girdle with an elven tree design to wear overtop the maille;
  • system layer/Bakes on Mesh leggings (note: no Omega or Maitreya appliers).

The Daughter of Olaf outfit comes in eight different colours: aqua, black, blue, brown, olive, purple, rose, and white:

Picture from the Silvan Moon Design booth showing the eight different colours available

The outfit shown below is the brown one (the black staff, black leggings and elven boots are not part of the original outfit):

This picture of the Daughter of Olaf outfit was taken in the Lord of the Rings — Middle Earth Roleplay sim.

The Daughter of Olaf outfit costs only L$400 per colour, or you can buy the entire fatpack of eight colours for L$3,000.

The Virgin Queen Gown

Now this is a gown fit for a queen (virgin or otherwise 😉 )! The outfit consists of three parts: the main gown, separate ruffled Elizabethan collar and puffed sleeves, and the final touch of separate gold-and-pearl attachments to accentuate the breast and waist. The Virgin Queen gown set comes in six jewel-tone colours: amethyst, emerald, onyx, ruby, sapphire, and turquoise. Shown below is ruby:

These Virgin Queen gown pictures were taken at Lundy historical roleplay sim, where it’s always 1589!

The Virgin Queen gown is available at the We Love Roleplay shopping event (here’s the exact SLURL of the Sylvan Moon Designs booth), where you can buy this sumptuous, bejeweled gown for only L$360 for each colour. And if you simply cannot make up your mind, why not splurge and buy the entire fatpack of six colours for only L$2,100?

Such a gown demands an appropriate animation override, and I can highly recommend the Southern Belle and Woman in Ballgown AO from Tuty Bento and Mocap Animations store (available in-world at this SLURL or via the SL Marketplace for L$650). It’s the perfect AO for full-skirted ballgowns such as this Elizabethan masterpiece!

Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a Shoulder Overrider HUD which works with your existing AO, just lifting your arms higher so they don’t poke through the voluminous skirt! The Shoulder Overrider is available on the SL Marketplace for only L$299 from Ethik Nacon and it was originally intended for fatter avatars so their hands don’t disappear into their bodies, but it also works great for gowns with wide, full skirts or oriental gowns with long, full sleeves that you want to show off!

Why not pick up a Silvan Moon Designs garment for your next adventure in Second Life?

Another Fifteen-Minute Second Life Avatar Makeover: Professional Business Woman

Everybody is familiar by now with the Elizabeth businesswoman avatar, one of Linden Lab’s selection of starter avatars for newbies:

Well, today I decided to give Elizabeth one of my patented fifteen-minute avatar makeovers, and take her to a role-play hotel operating in Second Life for a business meeting! The Essencia Hotel (website; SLURL) is a hotel and convention centre, staffed by both NPCs and role-playing avatars (you can even apply to work here).

To book a room, you just click on one of the kiosks in the hotel foyer, which takes you to a website. Rates range from L$150 a night for a standard twin single, up to L$500 a night for the premium suite!

If you join the Essencia Hotel group for free, you can even pick up a free gift: some luggage!

Here’s what Elizabeth looks like after her head-to-toe makeover. And, like any savvy businesswoman, she knows the value of a dollar. Everything you see here was free! (In some cases I joined a group when they had a free group join period.)

Elizabeth is wearing:

Mesh Head and Body: the free Kalhene Ariadna female mesh body (which, unfortunately, has been pulled from the SL Marketplace because of a DMCA complaint; more details here; I hope that this is resolved soon, but as Elizabeth the businesswoman well knows, legal matters over intellectual property can take time to resolve!).

Skin: Creamy in the milk skin tone from WOW Skins (a free system skin from the gift box of all the previous group gifts, located next to the panel with this month’s group gift; I joined the WOW Skins group when they had a free group join period a while back; Creamy is an older system skin, to which I added the Bakes on Mesh finger fix gloves which are part of a full package of BoM feet and finger fixes for Wow skins, tucked away on a shelf on the second floor of the new location of the Wow Skins store, located at this exact SLURL (click Show on Map and follow the red arrow).

Hair: Kristen by Ade (free gift from the SL17B Shop and Hop; more information here).

Eyes: Sahara eyes by Avi-Glam (free gift from the SL17B Shop and Hop; more information here).

Dress: Office dress in black from Kaithleen’s (I picked this up for free using the gift card that was a Christmas group gift from the store last December).

Shoes: I have been meaning to blog about this fabulous freebie for a while now! These are the sixtynine pumps in black, a free group gift from the KOKOIA shoe store (the KOKOIA group is free to join). These lovely free pumps come in six different neutral colours to go with just about any outfit!

Briefcase: I picked up this freebie from the SpotCat booth at a past Man Cave shopping event. It comes with the Bento hold post shown, and I think it’s the perfect finishing touch for this professional look! (Note: if you go to the SpotCat store in-world and join their store group for L$100, among the group gifts is a set of three of these briefcases for men or women, in white, brown, and black.)


All pictures taken at the Essencia Hotel.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gorean Goodies

I have never really understood why Second Life is home to so many Gorean roleplay sims, which are based on the series of science-fiction novels by John Norman. I personally find the sexual philosophy of the books to be repulsive, but they’re obviously popular in Second Life. There are dozens and dozens of Gorean sims, full of people roleplaying scenes from the Norman novels in endless variations.

Show up at a Gorean roleplay sim in regular streetwear and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb (and most likely, get asked to leave for messing up the atmosphere). Gorean clothing consists of two completely separate styles:

  1. Freemen or freewomen, who dress in medieval-era wear, with women wearing long skirts, often with a hijab and a veil;
  2. Kajira/Kajirus clothing (basically slavewear or skimpy dancing silks for women and men).

So, if that’s what you are looking for, hey, you’re in luck! (Trust me, you’re not going to find anything in-between those two extremes in Gorean sims.) The Gorean freemen/freewomen outfits can also easily be repurposed for medieval/fantasy roleplay. The freewomen’s outfits could also be used for conservative Muslim women’s wear, especially the headscarves and veils.

There are four Gorean sites I recommend you visit for some great freebies. All four spots are in the OOC (Out Of Character) welcoming areas of the sims, where you can dress as you like without being bothered by others.

City of Tor

At the City of Tor there are free outfits for men and women, including a very nice full gown with puffed sleeves which includes a 34-colour HUD:

The veil in the picture above comes from a separate outfit from the freebie outfits at Svago (see below), and it fits so snugly that you don’t need to worry about adding any hair underneath. The animated particle staff my avatar is holding is the Star of Stars staff from Talevin’s Magic Sky Village, the best place to get staves and wands on the entire grid! You can change the colour of the particle effects to one of ten different colours. You could say that here I was going for a medieval sorceress look with a Handmaid’s Tale edge 😉 Hey, it’s Second Life! Be who you want!

Here’s what the freemen’s outfit looks like (it includes the boots, and the tunic comes in four different colours). It’s very detailed and quite attractive for medieval/fantasy roleplay:


From the spawn point, turn right and touch the green door to go to the Gorean Welcome Centre. Then turn around and walk through the three sets of arches to find an extensive collection of free clothing for men and women:

In the following picture I am wearing Style 2 of the Gorean freewoman’s gown from Svago, which has a dramatic high collar and comes in five different colours, very suitable for medieval, fairytale, or fantasy wear:

Port Kar

You have to trek a bit from the spawn point for this one (here’s the exact SLURL, just follow the red beacon arrow and walk straight through the marketplace and through the stone arch at the end to reach the docks). There you will find five crates on the docks which you can buy for zero Lindens:

Click on the Port Kar FREE FW box and you will get this lovely medieval/fantasy gown with optional straps:

Here’s what the slavewear camisk looks like (there are two boxes for two versions of this outfit, one clean and one dirty/smudged):


At the City of Varn you can pick up some nice medieval clothing, just walk to the other end of the dock (past the Gorean Meter curtain) and click the containers sitting on the dock (one outfit for men and the other for women):

Here’s what the ornate medieval women’s outfit looks like:

And this is what the men’s outfit looks like (it includes a black cape which is not shown). Note that you have to click on the antlers on top of the container, rather than the container itself, to get this freebie!

So, there you have it! You do not need to spend any money to outfit yourself for medieval or fantasy roleplay if you visit these four Gorean freebie spots! Happy shopping!