Library of Alexandria
The Library of Alexandria was established under the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt (323-30 BCE) and flourished under the patronage of the early kings to become the most famous library of the ancient world, attracting scholars from around the...
What happened to the Great Library at Alexandria?
Once the largest library in the ancient world, and containing works by the greatest thinkers and writers of antiquity, including Homer, Plato, Socrates and many more, the Library of Alexandria, northern Egypt, is popularly believed to have...
Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus in ancient Ephesus, located in western Turkey, was a repository of over 12,000 scrolls and one of the most impressive buildings in the Roman Empire. Constructed in the 2nd century CE, it was named after the city's former...
Library of Ashurbanipal
The Library of Ashurbanipal (7th century BCE) is the oldest known systematically organized library in the world, established in Nineveh by the Neo-Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (r. 668-627 BCE) to preserve the history and culture of Mesopotamia...
Library of Pergamon
The Library of Pergamon was established in the city of Pergamon (also Pergamum) by the Attalid King Eumenes II (r. 197-159 BCE) and became the most famous and well-respected center of learning after the Library at Alexandria, Egypt. The library...
The Library of Hadrian, Athens
The Library of Hadrian (aka Hadrian's Library) in Athens was constructed circa 132-134 CE as part of Roman Emperor Hadrian's grand re-building plan for the city. The library was the largest in Athens and with its columned façade and...
Artist's impression of an ancient library, possibly the Great Library of Alexandria.
Libraries in the Ancient World
Libraries were a feature of larger cities across the ancient world with famous examples being those at Alexandria, Athens, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Nineveh. Rarely ever lending libraries, they were typically designed for visiting scholars...
Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Completed in 117 CE, the Library of Celsus at Ephesus was ordered built by Tiberius Julius Acquila in memory of his father Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, proconsul (governor) of the Asian province c. 105 to 114 CE.
Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus in Ephesos (completed 117 AD), with a statue of Arete in the foreground.