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Ancient Libraries: 900s BCE to 300s CE

Let's begin with an overview of the ancient libraries section of the course. Watch the Ancient Libraries video at Vimeo.

scroll, Clark 1901 PDAncient history generally begins with early recorded human history around 3000BCE and continues through around 600CE.

For the purposes of our exploration of libraries, we'll be focusing on the period from 900s BCE through 300s CE, known as classical antiquity from the rise of Greek city-states through the fall of the Roman empire. This period includes the times of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), Confucius, Socrates, Jesus Christ and Roman Emperors.

Much of what we know from this time period comes from archaeology and the historians of the times.

This period represents a shift from the formation of archives to the development of libraries. Although archives continue to flourish, a growing demand for libraries shifts the focus of collections from storage of historical records to providing a wide range of materials for diverse users. Librarians are hired to develop collections to be accessed by royalty, religious leaders, and the elite classes. In some cases, literacy among the masses is encouraged leading to an expanded client base for libraries.

Explore each of the following pages:


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