Ancient Libraries

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Jason König, Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou, Greg Woolf
Cambridge University Press, Apr 25, 2013 - History - 479 pages
The circulation of books was the motor of classical civilization. But books were both expensive and rare, and so libraries - private and public, royal and civic - played key roles in articulating intellectual life. This collection, written by an international team of scholars, presents a fundamental reassessment of how ancient libraries came into being, how they were organized and how they were used. Drawing on papyrology and archaeology, and on accounts written by those who read and wrote in them, it presents new research on reading cultures, on book collecting and on the origins of monumental library buildings. Many of the traditional stories told about ancient libraries are challenged. Few were really enormous, none were designed as research centres, and occasional conflagrations do not explain the loss of most ancient texts. But the central place of libraries in Greco-Roman culture emerges more clearly than ever.


Libraries in ancient Egypt 23
Reading the libraries of Assyria and Babylonia 38
Fragments of a history of ancient libraries 57
Men and books in fourthcentury BC Athens 85
the impact of the Alexandrian library
Where was the royal library of Pergamum? An institution found
libraries in Rome
the case
Roman libraries as public buildings in the cities
Flavian libraries in the city of Rome 277
Archives books and sacred space in Rome 312
Visual supplementation and metonymy in the Roman
Libraries and reading culture in the High Empire 347
Galen and the Alexandrian library 364
special libraries

Ashes to ashes? The library of Alexandria after 48 BC 167
The nonPhilodemus book collection in the Villa
Libraries for the Caesars 237

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About the author (2013)

Jason König is Senior Lecturer in Greek at the University of St Andrews. He works broadly on the Greek literature and culture of the Roman Empire. He is author of Athletics and Literature in the Roman Empire (2005) and Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture (2012), and editor, jointly with Tim Whitmarsh, of Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire (2007). Greg Woolf is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews. He currently holds a Major Leverhulme Research Fellowship and is editor of the Journal of Roman Studies. His books include Becoming Roman: The Origins of Provincial Civilization in Gaul (1998), Et tu Brute: The Murder of Julius Caesar and Political Assassination (2006), Tales of the Barbarians: Ethnography and Empire in the Roman West (2011) and Rome: An Empire's Story (2012). He has also edited volumes on literacy, on the city of Rome and on Roman religion, and has published widely on ancient history and Roman archaeology.

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