Libraries in the Ancient World, Paperback

Libraries in the Ancient World Paperback

Part of the Yale Nota Bene series

4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


This work tells the story of Ancient libraries from their very beginnings, when "books" were clay tablets and writing was a new phenomenon.

Classicist Lionel Casson takes us on a tour from the royal libraries of the Ancient Near East, through the private and public libraries of Greece and Rome, down to the first Christian monastic libraries.

He explains what books were acquired and how, who read them, how they were organized, and more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages, 30 b/w illus.
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Library & information services
  • ISBN: 9780300097214



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Short and informative! Not riveting, but certainly not the desert-dry read that some library books can be. This book would be a great overview for those new to being interested in early libraries and the history of reading, writing and books.

Review by

An interesting, readable history of ancient libraries with references to archeological discoveries.

Review by

I used this book heavily in writing my PhD thesis and its has the virtue of being the most recent comprehensive text on ancient libraries available. As an academic text it leaves a lot to be desired. Its casual style and lack of effective footnotes make it a frustrating read for anyone who's hoping to use it in their studies. However, as a book for the non-academic reader, its an excellent introduction to the subject of libraries in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Those who know little beyond the Library of Alexandria will be amazed by the sophistication of ancient libraries. Anyone who loves books and libraries, and anyone who's passionate about ancient history will find this enthralling