Libraries in the Ancient World (Revised)


Product Details

Yale Nota Bene
Publish Date
4.96 X 7.76 X 0.51 inches | 0.34 pounds

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About the Author

Lionel Casson is Professor Emeritus of Classics, New York University, and the author of Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World as well as many other books on ancient maritime history and ancient travel.


"Which came first, the book or the library? This monograph by the classicist Lionel Casson provides a detailed answer that will appeal not just to bibliophiles but to anyone who enjoys picking up odd bits of intriguing historical information."--Amanda Heller, Boston Sunday Globe
"[I]nformative. . . . [A] succinct account of the development of reading, writing and book collecting in Mesopotamia, Greece, and the Roman Empire. . . . The reader can only wish . . . that he follows this short but engaging book with a sequel."--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"[A] charming and brief narrative history of the birth (and deaths) of libraries in the ancient world."--Robert Messenger, New York Times Book Review
"[A] book that many readers will enjoy immensely. Yale has produced a handsome volume, well designed by Mary Valencia (off-white paper stock, inviting layout, abundant illustrations), neither too long nor too short, and written in limpid, understated prose by an expert on ancient civilization. For a quick overview of 3,000 years of book making, selling, care and preservation--from roughly 2,500 B.C. to 600 A.D.--this is the roll, or rather codex, to start with. . . . [D]iverting and instructive."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
"A wonderful book for those who love libraries and the books within."--History Magazine
"Casson's book is not limited to where and when important libraries existed, it offers a social history transcending the idea of a library as we know it. . . . As appealing to the archaeologist as the bibliophile."--Publishers Weekly
"[R]emarkably readable and provocative. . . . A fascinating and nourishing tour of the history of the glue of civilization."--Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun
"Informative. . . . In these pages Casson offers a succinct account of the development of reading, writing and book collecting in Mesopotamia, Greece and the Roman Empire, piecing together his story from archaeological excavations, references found in literary texts and even inscriptions and epitaphs relating to libraries and library donations."--Michiko Kakutani, International Herald Tribune
"This slim volume is full of pleasures and insights. The author is a very well-known classicist who wears his learning lightly and writes in a manner to make that learning accessible to most. . . . As we teeter on the edge of another age of fragile, endangered texts--electronic this time--we would do well to read, and ponder, the lessons of Professor Casson's fascinating book."--Michael Gorman, Logos
"For architects, librarians, and archaeologists interested in library history, architecture, and procedures; for the general reader who has a love of libraries and books."--Northeastern Naturalist
"Clear and comprehensive. . . . The story of these institutions is told here with deceptive ease, but only a scholar of Casson's profound learning could sift with sure hands the many different kinds of evidence from which the story must be built up. . . . Anyone interested in library architecture, procedures, or financing will find this book rewarding. So, in fact, will anyone just interested in books."--Garry Wills, Preservation
"Utilizing his tremendous scholarship in history, archaeology, and the classics, Casson paints a fascinating picture of literature, literacy, and the development of libraries through Greek, Roman, and early Christian times. . . . Casson's book is a wonderful trip into a literary world that bears a striking resemblance to our own."--John Steingraeber, Ruminator Review
"This wonderful book assembles much of what is known about libraries from caches of Sumerian clay tablets to the foundation of monastic libraries in the 7th century AD. . . . Not just a fascinating tale of the contributions of Aristotle, the Alexandrian Library of Ptolemy, the great private and public libraries of Rome, this slender book considers from a most apt vantage point the nature of education and culture."--Virginia Quarterly Review
"This wonderful book . . . considers from a most apt vantage point the nature of education and culture."--Virginia Quarterly Review
"[A] short and elegant history of the early growth of libraries."--Amy Schwartz, Wilson Quarterly
"A wonderful book on a wonderful subject. Casson knows what is interesting and tells us in spellbinding style."--G.W. Bowersock, Institute for Advanced Study