A one day workshop held on Saturday 8th November 2014, in the School of Classics, University of St Andrews.
Organisers: Professor Jason König and Professor Greg Woolf (School of Classics, University of St Andrews)
Last year saw the publication of Ancient Libraries, one of the products of the Leverhulme Trust sponsored research project Science and Empire in the Roman World. We examined collections of books, their organization, their users and uses and the buildings in which they were housed from ancient Egypt to the early Roman Empire. Ancient libraries emerged as rather unfamiliar entities, in some ways more like treasure houses or art galleries than research facilities, smaller than they have sometimes been imagined, monuments to a culture of reading and book ownership in which private collections still played a central role. Ancient libraries also turned out to have been much mythologized and we tried to look behind (as well as at) some of those myths.
We are currently planning a follow up volume that will examine the evolution of ancient library cultures between the early third century CE (where Ancient Libraries stopped) and the ninth century CE when great new book collecting projects were undertaken by each of the three heirs of Rome. This workshop was an informal scoping event at which experts on late antiquity, Byzantium, Armenia and the Arab world, shared their knowledge and gave advice on how to take the project forward.