Libraries of Old

Hi everyone this week I wanted to do about the oldest, but legendary libraries that were built so long ago. I love researching and uncovering things that we now take for granted, but what was it like back then.

5 Ancient Libraries

1. The Library of Ashurbanipal

The library of Ashurbanipal is the world’s oldest known library to date, it was founded during the 7th century B.C. The site itself is located in Nineveh Iraq, which included a treasure trove of 30,000 cuneiform tablets and was organized by subject matter. It contained mostly archival documents, scholarly texts and religious incantations. It also housed many works of literature including the 4,000 year old “Epic of Gilgamesh.” Over time Ashurbanipal compiled works from Babylonia and other places he conquered, which all went into creating this library. Archaeologists had stumbled upon the ruins in the mid to late 19th century and found the majority of its content, which now is kept in the British Museum in London.

2. The Library of Alexandria

When Alexander the Great’s died in 323 B.C. the control of Egypt now had fallen to his former general Ptolemy I Soter, whom sought out a place, so that he could have a learning centre. the end result was the Library of Alexandria which became the intellectual gem of the ancient world. There is not much that is known about the sites layout of the building, but it held over 500,000 papyrus that contains works of literature and texts of history, law, mathematics and science. The library and associated research institute attracted scholars from all sides of the Mediterranean, which saw many living on site.

3. The Library of Pergamum

The Library of Pergamum was constructed in the third century by members of Attalid dynasty, it is located in what now is known as Turkey, that housed 200,000 scrolls and it was situated in the temple complex devoted to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, that comprises of four rooms, there’s three for the library and all its contents and the fourth was used as a conference room that would hold meetings and banquets.

4. The Villa of the Papyri

The Villa of the Papyri is by know means the largest library of antiquity. This library is just only one whose collections have survived to this present day. It houses 1,800 scrolls that were located in the city of Herculaneum in Rome. The villa was more likely to of been built by Julius Caesars father-in-law Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus. During the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. the library was buried but it was preserved under 90 foot of volcanic material. The scrolls were not discovered until the 18th century and modern researchers have used a variety of things on them, from x-rays to multispectral imaging so they can finally read the scrolls, but there are still a lot that is yet to be deciphered.

5. The Imperial Library of Constantinople

The Imperial Library of Constantinople came into existence in the fourth century A.D. but was under Constantine the Great, it was a small library until the fifth century, by now its collection had grown to a staggering 120,000 scrolls and codices. Due to the neglect of the Imperial Library it continued to wax and wane for several centuries and it was also plagued with having several fires due to the neglect of one of the worlds historical places. Nevertheless its scribes and scholars are now credited in preserving countless pieces of both ancient Greek and Roman literature by making parchments copies of deteriorating papyrus scrolls.

Thank you for taking the time in read this. See you all next week!

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