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First libraries in world

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Celsus Library in Ephesus
Celsus Library in Ephesus

The first libraries in the world began to be created in Mesopotamia and Egypt; one of the first and most famous Greek libraries were created at the courts of tyrants – Polycrates on the island of Samos and Peisistratos in Athens in the first half of the 5th century BCE.

The first public library was founded by Plato in his famous Academy, and Ptolemy I Soter founded the famous Alexandria Library in the 3rd century BCE. It is fascinating that the first public library in Rome was opened by consul Gaius Asinius Pollio in 39 BCE – over 110 years after the Romans conquered Greece. The influence of Greek culture was very visible even before the defeat of the Achaean union, and after this event, there was a huge influx of philosophers, playwrights, sculptors, painters and all kinds of other artists to Rome.

At that time, the active activity of one generation dates back to around 20-30 years, so over 5 generations of the continuous influence of Greek thought on the Romans had to pass away for the first public library to be created. Given that Greek culture soaked in Rome like a sponge, it is even more amazing how long the inhabitants of the Eternal City had to wait for the library to be created.

Author: Kacper Lewandowski

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