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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

Byzantine Libraries: The Public and the Private

From the book Libraries in the Manuscript Age

  • Inmaculada Pérez Martín


We discuss the nature of the Byzantine libraries by examining their degree of accessibility as witnessed by the loan lists of the monasteries of Saint John Prodromos in Patmos and Saint Nicholas in Casole, and by the typikon of Boilas’ foundation near Edessa. We also draw on the place occupied by books in some monasteries in Egypt (Shenute’s White Monastery in Suhag) and in Byzantine territory, to conclude that their accessibility was non-existent. In the second part of this paper, we review the history and public nature of the Imperial Library of Constantinople: in Late Antiquity it occupied a facility near the Basilike Stoa (centrally located in the city), but later on was replaced by a ‘palace library’ accessible only to members of the imperial family and to palace officers.

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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