Hippocratis - image r17-R12H5L5 courtesy of the University LibraryAncient Libraries Conference

School of Classics, University of St Andrews
9-11 September 2008

Libraries operate as the core foundation of research and study in the modern Western world. Historically, they have enabled the preservation and transmission of knowledge from antiquity to the Middle Ages, to the contemporary era. Yet in the diachronic history of the library, we still lack fundamental facts about its institutional role, organisation and mode of operation in the ancient world. This is especially acute as both archaeological research and the study of ancient literary texts have enabled significant advancement to our knowledge and understanding of ancient written culture and its various loci of production and dissemination.

One of the ‘Science and Empire’ project’s principal research objectives is to examine the institutional contexts associated with the production and dissemination of ancient scientific, technical, and encyclopaedic writing. Our conference, accordingly, aims to re-open discussion of the role, function and users of ancient libraries. We are keen to explore the shifting conditions under which the library operated as a physical and institutional entity, but also as intellectual and symbolic space over the long span of antiquity. In addition, we wish to investigate a variety of scholarly practices and social and intellectual networks that developed within the domain of the ancient library. We thus hope to illuminate the relationship between the library and the broader culture of reading, writing and intellectual exchange in antiquity.

The conference will bring together literary scholars, historians and archaeologists of all periods of Graeco-Roman antiquity specialising in the above fields.

TypFP.B10PD Courtesy of the University LibraryPapers

Papers will cover the following broad themes:

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