The circulation of books was the motor of classical civilization. However, 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.
Jason Konig 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). Katerina Oikonomopoulou is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the programme 'Medicine of the Mind, Philosophy of the Body: Discourses of Health and Well-Being in the Ancient World' at the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin. She is co-editor, with Frieda Klotz, of The Philosopher's Banquet: Plutarch's 'Table Talk' in the Intellectual Culture of the Roman Empire (2011). 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.
Introduction: approaching the ancient library Greg Woolf; Part I. Contexts: 1. Libraries in ancient Egypt Kim Ryholt; 2. Reading the libraries of Assyria and Babylonia Eleanor Robson; 3. Fragments of a history of ancient libraries Christian Jacob; Part II. Hellenistic and Roman Republican Libraries: 4. Men and books in fourth-century BC Athens Massimo Pinto; 5. From text to text: the impact of the Alexandrian Library on the work of Hellenistic poets Annette Harder; 6. Where was the Royal Library of Pergamon? An institution found and lost again Gaelle Coqueugniot; 7. Priests, patrons and playwrights: libraries in Rome before 168 BC Mike Affleck; 8. Libraries in a Greek working life: Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a case study in Rome Daniel Hogg; 9. Libraries and intellectual debate in the Late Republic: the case of the Aristotelian corpus Fabio Tutrone; 10. Ashes to ashes? The Library of Alexandria after 48 BC Myrto Hatzimichali; 11. The non-Philodemus book collection in the Villa of the Papyri George W. Houston; 12. 'Beware of promising your library to anyone': assembling a private library at Rome T. Keith Dix; Part III. Libraries of the Roman Empire: 13. Libraries for the Caesars Ewen Bowie; 14. Public libraries in the cities of the Roman Empire Matthew Nicholls; 15. Flavian libraries in Rome Pier Luigi Tucci; 16. Archives, books and sacred space in Rome Richard Neudecker; 17. Visual supplementation and metonymy in the Roman public library David Petrain; 18. Libraries and reading culture in the High Empire William A. Johnson; 19. Galen, Ptolemy III and the Athenians: libraries, perception and history Michael W. Handis; 20. Libraries and paideia in the Second Sophistic: Galen and Plutarch Alexei V. Zadorojnyi; 21. The professional and his books: special libraries in the Roman world Victor Martinez and Megan Finn Senseney.
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