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The Beginnings of Libraries: 1100s BCE

Let's explore the introduction of calendars and patterns of library destruction.

In addition to legal and religious documents, other forms of recording could be found. For instance, calendars began appearing during this time. The Maya Calendar counts time from this 1102 BCE. The Discordian or Erisian Calendar starts in 1166 BCE and is based on a religion around the Greek goddess of Eris.

It's often difficult to track early libraries because they are often destroyed during war. The cycle of construction and destruction is evident throughout history.

Commemorative tablet wikimedia commons CC A-SATemple of Assur (Ashur)
Assur, Assyria, Mesopotamia (now Iraq)

Situated on the Upper Tigris River, the city was establishing around 2500 BCE. The first temple was dedicated in the 21st century BCE. The image on the left shows a tablet commemorating the reconstruction of the temple between 1300 BCE and 1257 BCE.

More than 16,000 tablets with cuneiform writing were housed in the ruins of the temple constructed during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser from 1115 BCE to 1075 BCE. Groups of tablets were found that appear to be part of a library that many attribute during to Tiglath-Pileser (Casson, 2001). The works including materials dealing with omens and astronomy, standards handbooks, and hymns.

The city was destroyed in 612 BCE during the conquest of Assyria by the Medes, Babylonians and Scythians.

Resources

Casson, Lionel (2001). Libraries of the Ancient World. Yale University.

Clark, John Willis (1901). The Care of Books. Cambridge University Press Warehouse. Available: http://books.google.com/books?id=uvQ_AAAAYAAJ

 


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