Atlas of libraries – overview

The aim of this project is to present an overview of our knowledge on ancient libraries, through the medium of an internet encyclopaedia of libraries and centres of wisdom in the ancient Mediterranean and Orient (Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome).

Egyptian scribes with tablets and papyri.  Relief from Horemheb’s tomb, Saqqara,14th c. BC 
[Archaeological Museum Florence, n°2566; photo]
ninive-relief palais SWNeo-assyrian scribes writing on a parchment and a tablet.Relief from Sennacherib SW palace at Nineveh, 8th c. BC 
[British Museum; photo A. Tenu]
fresque d'Herculanum
Young Roman reading. Fresco from Herculanum, 1st c. AD 
[Archaeological Museum Naples, n°9072; photo Wikimedia]
Greek Muse reading; a second roll is visible behind her. Attic lekythos, Klügmann Painter, 5th c. BC 
[musée du Louvre CA2220; photo Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia]

Project NimRoD has the ambition to show that the ancient world (and consequently our society) was nourished by numerous cultural interactions, which are all as important, and that it hasn’t always been centered around the northern Mediterranean.  The theme of  libraries and knowledge is an important medium to break ideas inherited from the birth of ancient studies in western Europe.

The online encyclopaedia will combine written and visual testimonia on ancient libraries, presenting their history, their shape, their contents and the associated activities. It will also contain notes and articles highlighting the common features and differences between these libraries, their organisation and their place in the ancient society. It will finally present some phenomena linked to libraries, such as the scholarly worlds and the transmission of knowledge.

To conclude, this website will be a reasoned atlas of scholarly collections and literary practices in Antiquity, which will be followed by a paper publication.

Scientific investigators: Ph. Clancier, G. Coqueugniot

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