7 Books We Lost to History That Would Have Changed the World

The vast majority of the knowledge humans have assembled over the centuries, has been lost. The world's geniuses either kept their revelations to themselves and then died, or else they put it down on paper which has long since rotted or burned or been used to line some parakeet's cage.

Obviously we'll never know what great books have been lost to time, but we have clues on some of them, and what those clues tell us is mind-boggling, and a little bit depressing. If you could make a library out of just books that didn't survive, you'd have a collection of some of the best freaking books ever written.

#7.
The Gospel of Eve, by Unknown

What is it:

It is apparently a totally sexually perverse lost book of the Bible. It's not hard to see why it didn't survive--church officials back in the day said the book was inspiring all kinds of depravity, from "free love" to "coitus interruptus and eating semen as a religious act."

(Wait, what? HOLY SHIT!)

Why it's Awesome:

Ah ha! The truth comes out! A book like this could deliver a potentially fatal blow to all that 2,000 years' worth of celibacy Christians had to set their watch to. For all we know, The Gospel of Eve could have been that Good News mankind had been waiting for or, failing that, it could've been totally fucking hot.

Why You'll Never Read It:

In the 4th Century church officials like Epiphanius lashed out at the book, apparently having nothing better to do than stop everyone from having sex and eating a little bit of semen. And he got away with it.


Heh heh heh.

Whatever copies that asshole Epiphanius didn't torch, the Pope probably has stashed under his mattress. And Pope, if you're reading this (who are we kidding "if"), we will pay good, hard American dollars for copies of that book.

But is the Gospel of Eve really "the Word" of the Lord? Alas, we won't know until the second coming, at which point it will definitely be #1 on Cracked's list of "7 Vital Questions To Ask Jesus."

#6.
On Sphere-Making, by Archimedes

What is it:

Supposedly a how-to on the many steampunk wonders of Ancient Greece, such as orreries, astronomical clocks and whatever devices they invented to assist them with their buggery. It was authored by one of the greatest mechanical minds in history: the legendary Archimedes, who knew a thing or two about spheres right down to his dying words...


The next panel has the soldier going "Fuck your circles," and then he just goes nuts on Archimedes.

Why it's Awesome:

Remember that fancy Antikythera mechanism Cracked mused about way back? The ancient, intricate machine found near Greece that dates back to about 100 BC but that contains gears and structures that were not found in devices again for 1000 years?

Well, this book may hold the blueprints for building one yourself (as well as the time machine it was attached to).


[Artist's depiction.]

But even if such grand designs were not included, the simple fact that Archimedes was the Leonardo da Vinci of antiquity makes any of his undiscovered work invaluable. Even modern standards pale in comparison to how the Greeks mastered mechanics, and whatever secrets Archimedes had died when the Romans killed him.

Why You'll Never Read It:

Whatever copies exist are either buried in the middle of nowhere, or were destroyed when Rome torched the Library of Alexandria to prevent Greece from using time-travel against the Roman Empire again. Does this sound familiar yet? Jesus, Past, you really need to stop destroying all of our invaluable books.


"Don't fuck with the space-time continuum." - S.P.Q.R.

Unfortunately, it gets worse...

#5.
The "Rare Books" Section at the House of Wisdom

What is it:

The rarest of the rare books from the East and West hemispheres housed in the Grand Library of Baghdad, the Library of Congress of its time. It was the single largest library in the world, and contained some of the oldest books ever written from three continents. It's also where the Persians likely kept the greatest hits from their history, including discoveries in science, medicine, astronomy and technology that made them the biggest swinging dick on the planet for several centuries.


A title now held by this man (minus the swinging).

Why it's Awesome:

The card catalog alone would be considered priceless. The library was like a rough draft of a university, it was where everyone went to learn. Not only could this create a checklist for countless works we know nothing about, but possibly subjects we could never know about, such as extinct animals or plant-life (the Romans supposedly had a plant that was such a good form of birth control they farmed it to extinction... imagine cloning that).

And since Baghdad was once the capital of the world for science and mathematics, books like Space Travel by Mohamed, How I Cured AIDS by Hippocrates or E.T. Episode I - They Came In Peace by Ezekiel would have likely been in their possession. Probably.

Why You'll Never Read It:

Goddamn Mongolians. The Mongols, fueled by their hatred for the cosmopolitan Chinese, tossed every book in the library into the Tigris when they captured the city. For those who survived the initial destruction, the river ran black with ink for six months. And thus was the present-day Middle East born.

#4.
The Rest of the Epic Cycle, by Various

What is it:

The rest of the epic saga of Troy which Iliad and Odyssey are sandwiched between. It turns out the whole story of Troy's fall and Odysseus' journey home covered a total eight books, and the Greek poet Homer only authored two of them. The remaining six fleshed out all the gaping holes in its plot, such as the death of Achilles, the extent of Paris' douchebaggery, the Trojan Horse and the spellbinding conclusion to the vast saga. *SPOILERS* Odysseus dies at the end! *END SPOILERS*

Why it's Awesome:

Ever heard of that Coen Brothers movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? What about James Joyce's Ulysses? Or Cold Mountain? Or 2001: A Space Odyssey? Or William Shakespeare or Bob Dylan? They were all influenced by The Iliad and The Odyssey, and we could easily go on. The impact these stories had on literature, movies and music is, for lack of a better word, epic. The Battle of Troy is probably the most famous non-religious story in history (unless science proves that Zeus is the real deal), and knowing that we've only heard part of the story is just the biggest cocktease ever.

Why You'll Never Read It:

All we have about the saga are bits and pieces of information, and we're lucky to have that. The only reason we know the books exist at all is that other books from the time reference them (including some Cliffs Notes-style summaries) but that's it. If some guy has copies in his basement, he isn't talking about it.

Maybe it's for the best. Iliad and Odyssey are pretty badass; we could have been stuck with the Hellenistic equivalent of Star Wars: Episode I.

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