Inside Roman Libraries

Inside Roman Libraries : Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity

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Libraries of the ancient world have long held a place in the public imagination. Even in antiquity, the library at Alexandria was nearly legendary. Until now there has been relatively little research to discover what was inside these libraries, how the collections came into being and evolved, and who selected and maintained the holdings. In this engaging and meticulously researched study, George Houston examines a dozen specific book collections of Roman date in the first comprehensive attempt to answer these questions.

Through a careful analysis of the contents of the collections, Houston reveals the personalities and interests of their owners, shows how manuscripts were acquired, organized, and managed, and identifies the various purposes that libraries served. He takes up the life expectancy of manuscripts, the sizes of libraries, and dangers to books, as well as the physical objects within libraries from scribal equipment to works of art. The result is a clearer, more specific, and more detailed picture of ancient book collections and the elements of Roman libraries than has previously been possible.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 164.85 x 235 x 28.19mm | 648.64g
  • Chapel Hill, United States
  • English
  • 13 halftones, 7 tables
  • 1469617803
  • 9781469617800
  • 894,372

Review quote

George Houston's comprehensive survey of the life and contents of Roman libraries should be regarded as a major contribution to the work of both students of ancient library culture and classical scholars sensu lato.--GNOMON An excellent teaching resource and a valuable addition to the collection of anyone with an interest in the book in the ancient world.--Journal of Roman Studies
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About George W. Houston

George W. Houston is professor emeritus of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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