Tuesday, September 14, 2004

today is 14 september

you heard me right. today is september 14. that means that on this day, drusus died in AD 23 and domitian became emperor in AD 81.

also, in honor of our alexandrian class, i thought i would post this brief review of lionel casson's book Libraries in the Ancient World:

In "Libraries in the Ancient World" Lionel Casson discusses all the important topics about ancient writing and libraries, and supplements the chapters on ancient Mesopotamian libraries, the Greek, Alexandrian, and Roman libraries, the evolution of codex from papyrus roll, and the beginning of the Middle Ages, with ample diagrams and useful photographs. Among other intriguing anecdotes, Casson explains the development of parchment from papyrus as the result of a rivalry between Ptolemy V and the king of Pergamum (whence the word parchment), both of whose cities held important libraries. It was parchment on wooden tablets that were later joined together to make the first books. Greek libraries housed scrolls, but provided no room for reading and contained only Greek literature. In Republican Rome, Greek literature was greatly admired, copied by booksellers, and imitated by early Roman writers. Roman libraries in the time of Augustus had two rooms, one for Greek literature and one for Roman, which meant there needed to be some degree of selectivity about what to store, and that, in turn, required competent librarians. In the late Republic, the first public libraries and reading rooms were introduced, and later some were connected with the social centers known as public baths. Although there is a wealth of information in "Libraries in the Ancient World," Casson writes so that a reader can breeze through Libraries in the Ancient World.

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