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  1. Making the myth of the Library of Alexandria - Ancient World Magazine
  2. Libraries in the Ancient World
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  4. 1. The Library of Ashurbanipal
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Making the myth of the Library of Alexandria - Ancient World Magazine

It is possible that more scrolls remain to be found in the lower, unexcavated levels of the villa. Suggested Dimensions: Although, this library was not a large public one. It provides insight into a Roman private or semi-public library. The Villa of Papyri is situated north-west of the town and sits halfway up the slope of the volcano Vesuvius without other buildings to obstruct the view.

Libraries in the Ancient World

Vesuvius that destroyed the town in 79 AD, it was rediscovered in Then again, it was destroyed at the end of the third millennium BC, which paved the way for the Amorite tribes to settle in the city and form the third Ebla. A clay tablet found in Ebla, Syria. The Ebla Tablets have thus provided scholars with new insights into the origin of library practices that were in use 4, years ago.

Fate: The library is thought to have perished in a fire, but it was in fact a great way to be destroyed! Many of the tablets had not previously been baked, but when all were preserved by the fire that destroyed the palace, their storage method served to fire them almost as thoroughly as if in a kiln.

The Great Library of Alexandria, O. Von Corven, 1st century. C until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 B. With collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens, the library was part of a larger research institution called the Museum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied. This library, with the largest holdings of the age, acquired its collection by laborious copying of originals.

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Classical sources describe the Library of Alexandria as comprising a collection of scrolls, a peripatos walk, a room for shared dining, a reading room, meeting rooms, gardens, and lecture halls. It sounds amazing! It was dedicated to the Muses, who were the nine goddesses of the arts epic poetry, history, song, lyric poetry, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy and astronomy.

A few sources differ on who is responsible for the destruction and when it occurred. Although there is a mythology of the burning of the Library at Alexandria, the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction over many years.

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One of these fires is even credited to Julius Caesar. The reconstructed Temple of Trajan at Pergamon. Courtesy of WIkiCommons. No index or catalog of the holdings at Pergamum exists today, making it impossible to know the true size or scope of this collection.

1. The Library of Ashurbanipal

Model of the Acropolis in the Pergamon museum in Berlin. Manuscripts were written on parchment, rolled, and then stored on these shelves.

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An empty space was left between the outer walls and the shelves to allow for air circulation. A statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, stood in the main reading room. The introduction of parchment also greatly expanded the holdings of the Library of Pergamum. Pergamum is mentioned in the Book of Revelation as the dewelling place of Satan and his throne. The city was damaged badly due to an earthquake in A. D, and sacked by the Goths shortly afterwards. Furthermore, it was invaded by the Persians in the 7th century, but later rebuilt on a smaller scale by Emperor Constans II.

Hello There! Is small talk a big deal? Check out the different attitudes towards small talk around the world: hubs. Learn English with Transparent Language Online: hubs. Origen of Alexandria — a Hellenistic scholar, ascetic, and early Christian theologian — and the scholarly presbyter Pamphilus of Caesarea, who were both avid collectors of Christian books were the main patrons of the library and helped it to achieve its large collection.

The Theological Library was so famous that several Christian scholars from other parts of the world came to study there, including Gregory Nazianzus, Basil the Great, and Jerome. Several priceless works were lost after the library declined in the mid-7 th century CE. The ancient Greek city of Pergamum also called Pergamon was an important cultural center of the ancient world, only rivaled by Alexandria and Antioch. Like Alexandria, Pergamum was home to a large library , which was second best in ancient Greece after the Library of Alexandria.

According to the writings of Plutarch, the Library of Pergamum housed about , volumes. A distinguished citizen of the city and wife of a town Councillor, Flava Melitene, is largely responsible for supplying the library. She also presented a statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian to the library as a gift.

However, this was just a myth parchment had been in use in Anatolia long before Pergamum was established as the city became known for producing parchment and storing its manuscripts on parchment instead of papyrus, which was monopolized by Alexandria. The Library of Alexandria is the best-known and largest libraries of the ancient world. It was located in the city of Alexandria in ancient Egypt, which was the major economic, cultural, and intellectual center of the world at the time. Alexander the Great, who is believed to have founded Alexandria, got the inspiration for his own grand library after visiting the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal.

He wanted to collect the works of the people he conquered, convert them to Greek, and store them in a library of his own. While he did not live long enough to see his dream come true, Ptolemy, who was one of his generals, began constructing the library around the 3 rd century. The library flourished until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE and it was burned down and thousands of scrolls were lost.

Before the discovery of older ancient libraries in the early 20 th century, the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal was considered the first library or the oldest surviving royal library in the world. While we now know that older libraries exist, it was one of the first to implement a systematical organization of its material. The library was named for Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

When his empire had stabilized, Ashurbanipal built his royal library and filled it with texts covering a wide array of subjects, including medicine, mythology, magic, science, poetry and geography.


Libraries in the Ancient World

The most famous text — that has mostly survived intact — from Ashurbanipal is the Epic of Gilgamesh. This tablet is regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. When the Ugarit archives were discovered in , archaeologists found more than one library. The thousands of clay tablets they uncovered revealed a palace library, a temple library, and two private libraries, one belonging to a diplomat named Rapanu.

The two private libraries were unique in the world at the time and may have been some of the first libraries made for private, personal use.

The libraries contained diplomatic, legal, economic, administrative, scholastic, literary, and religious texts. Although the letters were similar to other cuneiform signs, they were unique and the Ugaritic alphabet is considered to be the first alphabet in history. The Royal Library of the ancient Kingdom of Ebla is thought to be the oldest library in the world. The library was discovered in the years — by Italian archaeologists from the University of Rome La Sapienza.

They found about 2, complete tablets ranging in size from 1 in to over a foot, 4, tablet fragments, and over 10, chips and small fragments. This collection of texts is the largest ever found from the 3 rd millennium BCE. Unlike other ancient archives, there is evidence that suggests the tablets from the Ebla library were purposely arranged and even classified. The larger tablets were originally stored on shelves, but fell over when the palace was destroyed.

Additionally, the tablets show evidence of the early transcription of texts into foreign languages and scripts, classification and cataloging for easier retrieval, and arrangement by size, form and content.