Libraries: The Legacies Of Ancient Bibliophiles

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Drawing of the house of wisdom.

Libraries: The Legacies Of Ancient Bibliophiles

It can be argued of course, but a story has five important elements: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict and the resolution. These five essential narrative elements keep stories running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that readers can follow. However, an overlooked aspect of a story is where it is archived. While in prehistoric North American cultures and in Celtic European civilizations written language never superseded oral traditions, there are patches across the ancient world that not only developed writing, but also saw the construction of some of the most impressive structures of knowledge, wisdom and learning - libraries.

Artistic rendering of the Library of Alexandria by O. Von Corven, based partially on the archaeological evidence available at that time (19th-century) (Public Domain)

To study wisdom as it was taught in the classical works of ancient literature, is to introduce a degree of complexity and new insight into one’s contemporary view of reality.  However, perhaps the greatest archaeological surprise of all is how so many books have survived the flames of time, and for this modern man can thank a long linage of bibliophiles who peppered the ancient world with grand halls of intellectual inquiry - libraries. Libraries were greatly a feature of larger cities across the ancient world with the most famous examples being those at Alexandria, Athens, Nineveh, Constantinople and Ephesus, and rather than serving local populations like they do today, old-world libraries were generally designed for visiting scholars to study and copy texts.

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