- New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press and HES & DE GRAAF Publishers BV, 2004-2013.
- small 4to.
- cloth, dust jacket
- 374, 364, 608, 532, 624, 216 pages.
Price: $375.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 125904
This is the six-volume series addressing the unique role libraries have played in building and preserving Western culture. All included volumes are:
Vol 1 - FROM MINOS TO CLEOPATRA
Vol 2 - THE ROMAN WORLD - FROM CICERO TO HADRIAN
Vol 3 - THE BYZANTINE WORLD - FROM CONSTANTINE THE GREAT TO CARDINAL BESSARION
Vol 4 - THE MEDIEVAL WORLD IN THE WEST - FROM CASSIODORUS TO FURNIVAL
Vol 5 - THE RENAISSANCE - FROM PETRARCH TO MICHELANGELO
Vol 6 - EPILOGUE AND GENERAL INDEX
Mr. Staikos has become one of our foremost scholars on library history, writing such books as this, as well as works like "The Great Libraries," a classic in its field.
Vol 1 - The first volume reveals the rich history of the early archive libraries from Crete to the famous library of the Ptolemies in Alexandria. Through well-researched text and many full-color illustrations, the author guides his readers over 1800 years of mankind's struggle to preserve his knowledge by the written word.
Vol 2 - The second volume continues Staikos' brilliant history of the library from the early days of the Roman Republic to the "Golden Age" of Imperial Rome and the Emperor Hadrian. Extensively researched and beautifully illustrated with many rare photographs and drawings. Printed in Athens with careful attention to detail.
Vol 3 - The third volume of The History of the Library spans a period of more than a thousand years and covers an area stretching from Alexandria and Trebizond to Calabria and Sicily in the south of Italy. The author explores the end of the ancient world and the closure and destruction of its monumental libraries, and describes the formation of the great monastic libraries, such as St. Catherine's on Mount Sinai, the Monastery of Studius in Constantinople, the group of monasteries on Mount Athos and the famous library in the Monastery of St. John on Patmos. Finally, he examines all the known palace, public, university and private libraries in the whole of the Byzantine Empire, and discusses the book trade as well.
Among the libraries included in this third volume are those formed in the states that emerged after the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders in 1204, such as the Empires of Nicaea and Trebizond, the Despotate of Epirus and the Kingdom of Thessalonica. In addition, special attention is given to the book collections of monasteries in the Kingdom of Cyprus and the libraries in the Despotate of the Morea, one of the last Greek bastions to hold out against the Turkish conquest, where the famous Neoplatonist philosopher Plethon taught.
Altogether there are nine chapters in this volume and the text is enlivened with more than two hundred color and black-and-white illustrations covering a wide variety of subjects, such as illuminated manuscripts, engravings, maps, drawings, archaeological sites and imaginary and real library interiors. The ninth chapter deals with the architectural characteristics of Byzantine libraries from the end of Late Antiquity to the monastic libraries of the eleventh century onwards.
Vol 4 - The fourth volume discusses the publishing procedure for secular and religious writings of late antiquity and the factors that led to the impoverishment of the monumental libraries in Rome. New centers of learning grew up in the monasteries, where great libraries containing educational and instructive books and representative works of Christian literature came into being. Monastic libraries were founded throughout Europe, including the regions with Celtic and Anglo-Saxon populations: those at Monte Cassino, Bobbio, St. Gallen, Fulda, Cluny and elsewhere are dealt with extensively. Mention is also made of the libraries founded in universities and of the new philosophy of forming school libraries, as in Bologna and Paris.
Eight chapters unfold the events that influenced the tradition of libraries in the West beginning when Christianity was imposed as the official religion of the Empire. The first chapter includes the realignment of populations of the North, the formation of new kingdoms, and the emergence of new intellectual centres. The more general movement of books is contrasted to the reproduction of books with Roman literary works of the Late Roman period and the issue of Christian education is touched upon discussing its models according to the Church Fathers, as well as the ancient personalities who exchanged letters with Christians on the topic of the role played by monastic centres in relation to books.
Chapter two presents the practices of authorship and publication, the reproduction of books, and their availability movement according to St. Jerome. An attempt is also made to reconstruct the library of St. Augustine, calculating which books he would have required in order to complete his written works. Lastly, the Vivarium is also described as a model monastic centre, as are the role of the scriptorium and the significance of the Bible in the Christian conscience. The third chapter is devoted to the British Isles: the promotion of regional tribes to kingdoms, the course of their conversion to Christianity, and the nature of the education cultivated in the monastic centres of the period. Mention is also made of the role played by the various local centres in the preservation of ancient literature, and its transfusion by missionaries to Continental Europe from the pre-Carolingian era on.
The fourth chapter deals with the Carolingian era, Charlemagne's contribution to upgrading schooling, the foundation of a considerable number of monastic centres based on books, and the chronicle of the founding of Charlemagne's personal library. There is also an extensive description of two major monastic centres of books, St. Gallen and Corbie, as well as descriptions of their scriptorium and library. Chapter five assesses the influence exerted by the Carolingian period in the diffusion of knowledge and books in general and gives examples of the private libraries of men and officials of the Church. The birth of a new family of books is noted as national languages find their place, and educational centres and their libraries are established in cathedrals.
The birth of the university in all the European countries is the subject of the sixth chapter, as an unprecedented system in regard to books, and an indispensable tool for education. There is an extensive description of the Sorbonne's college library and of the new teaching methods, comprising theology and a reassessment of the Aristotelian corpus. The interests of eminent men of letters are outlined in chapter seven, in the matter of books and the genesis of the French royal library, with a chronicle of the papal library at Avignon and at Hereford Cathedral.
Finally, chapter eight is an overview of the installation of the library as architecture. The diverse bookstands serving as diminutive 'libraries' are described, up to the time when chambers were set aside to function as libraries.
Vol 5 - With the publication of Volume V, the last stage in the development of the library is revealed. Like the rest of the books in The History of the Library series, this volume is beautifully designed and fully illustrated in color.
This fifth and final volume of The History of the Library in Western Civilization contains eight chapters giving a comprehensive account of the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and the effects of the revival of interest in the Greco-Roman tradition on the European cultural scene, at both the secular and religious level.
The first chapter looks at the early exponents of humanism in Europe and assesses their role in the revival and promotion of classical thinking. It also describes the particular characteristics of the books in the libraries of pioneers of the humanist movement, such as Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Leonzio Pilato, and the organization of the first bilingual library of the Renaissance by Palla Strozzi in Florence.
With Byzantine scholars leaving Constantinople and settling at first in Italy, bringing their fine collections of books with them, the second chapter describes the 'brain drain' from East to West in the fifteenth century. It discusses the systematic study and diffusion of the Greek language, while including brief historical accounts of three humanistic libraries: those of Novello Malatesta and Cardinal Bessarion, and the Vatican Library. Three more great libraries: those of King Matthias Corvinus, Janus Pannonius, and the Medici family are described in the third chapter, as the part played by the invention of printing in the spread of learning and the formation of libraries is explored.
The fourth chapter describes the character of French humanism and the role of the scholarly circle in Paris that sowed the seeds of humanist learning, and gives the salient facts about its leading members. There is a section on the formation of the French royal library, its contents, and the persons chiefly responsible for its growth, and another dealing with the contribution made by French printers to the spread of humanism and of books in general.
With a long section on Erasmus, the fifth chapter examines his study of scholarly books, his work as an editor, his edition of the New Testament, and the manuscripts that provided him with his material. Erasmus's correspondence with civic and ecclesiastical dignitaries, scholars, and printers around Europe implies the existence of a 'common library' shared by the humanists. Also in the fifth chapter is a discussion of Geneva's position as a publishing centre of books by Reformers and a refuge for those who supported Luther and Calvin's objections to the practices of the Catholic Church.
The next chapter is chiefly concerned with those parts of every library that contained copies of the new Christian literature embodied in the writings of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, new translations of the Bible into the vernacular, and the many books written about religious disputes. It covers the dispersal of the monastic libraries in England and discusses the libraries of men of letters and scholars throughout Europe. Furthermore, in the seventh chapter, insight is given into the nature of the new libraries created in the late sixteenth century, containing contemporary pity works and prose and verse adaptations of medieval classics in booklet form. It concludes with a chronicle of the founding of the Oxford University library by Sir Thomas Bodley.
The final chapter oversees the Renaissance library architecture and the great changes in library design that resulted from the creation of many public libraries and the opening of libraries generally to a wider public. The three-aisled library, designed by Michelozzo, is introduced, and its influence on monastic libraries in Italy, and to the libraries designed by Domenico Fontana, Jacopo Sansovino, Michelangelo, and others is explained.
Vol 6 - This extensive index on all five volumes will identify all proper names, places, and subjects covered in this comprehensive and scholarly series.
Order all five volumes of The History of the Library in Western Civilization series at one time and get the Index volume for free.
Co-published with HES & DE GRAAF Publishers BV and Kotinos Publications. Sales Rights: worldwide except EU.