The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World

The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World

Yun Lee Too

Language: English

Pages: 250

ISBN: 0199577803

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World Yun Lee Too argues that the ancient library was much more than its incarnation at Alexandria, which has been the focus for students of the subject up till now. In fact, the library is a complex institution with many different forms. It can be a building with books, but it can also be individual people, or the individual books themselves. In antiquity, the library's functions are numerous: as an instrument of power, of memory, of which it has various modes; as an articulation of a political ideal, an art gallery, a place for sociality. Too indirectly raises important conceptual questions about the contemporary library, bringing to these the insights that a study of antiquity can offer.














Saturnalia, and Plutarch’s Quaestiones Convivales—that attest to the dinner party as a scene in which literary erudition was displayed, celebrated, and performed.28 Yet, in particular, it is precisely the backward-looking and hellenophile community of Egypt in the Second Sophistic period that aspires to recreate and, as I shall now suggest, to surpass this sophisticated culture. Textuality and food intermingle in such a way that literary texts are presented as precisely material for consumption,

Hesiod’s view that Pelasgus was a son of the soil (ÆPôüåŁïíÆ). OVering a comparison of the Bible to a ‘library’ as a selection of books, Italo Calvino goes on to observe: A library can have a restricted catalogue, or it can tend to become a universal library, though always expanding around a core of ‘canonical’ works. This is the place the center of gravity resides, marking oV one library from another even more than the catalogue. The ideal library that I would like to see is one that gravitates

insists upon the more conservative translation of 1 See Diodorus Siculus 1.4.4. 2 See also Aulus Gellius NA pref. 6–10, where there is a similar critique of such works as undiscriminating collections of details. 144 Forms of the Library âØâºØïŁÞŒÅ, ‘bookshelf’,3 but I shall venture that, quite apart from its title, it is more notable as an innovative experiment. This chapter argues that the library without walls, which Roger Chartier, historian of the book and textuality, predicts as the

concerning the mistreatment of strangers, as it seems to stand (e.g. in Callimachus frs. 44–6).31 Phalaris’ father Busiris is after all notorious for his impiety towards strangers, which was characteristic of the Egyptians (cf. äØa ôcí ôHí Kªåøæßøí IîåíßÆí, 1.67.11).32 Later in book 13 Diodorus presents us with Tellias, a wealthy citizen of Acragas, who orders his servants to invite strangers into his household, and, in this, does what many other citizens of Acragas also do (13.83.1). The

twentieth and twenty-Wrst centuries metadata have become an important concern for the information sectors, and there is a concern to have diVerent schemes for classifying the diVerent types of metadata. They are a means of gaining access to a more primary body of information. For instance, I may know a detail about an author and enter it into a search engine. The search engine would then provide all references that match my 9 I would like to thank Ruth Cameron, archivist at the Burke Library at

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