The Great Libraries: From Antiquity To Renaissance
At first glance, this book, copublished with the British Library, appears very similar to Anthony Hobson's Great Libraries (Putnam, 1970. o.p.), but only the second half is comparable to the earlier work. Book 1 is an encyclopedic narrative history of libraries from approximately 3000 BCE to 1600 CE. Except for two short chapters on library development in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, this section is nearly equally divided between the libraries of the Greek East and the Latin West. Book 2 contains individual chapters on 14 European libraries founded before 1600. Ten of the libraries, including the Vatican Library, France's Biblioth que Nationale, and Oxford University's Bodleian Library, are also covered in Hobson. Staikos also includes additional Eastern European libraries such as the Oecumenical Patriarchate Library in Constantinople, the Strahov Abbey Library in Prague, and Hungary's defunct Corvinian Library but, unlike Hobson, excludes all non-European libraries. Author Staikos (The Charta of Greek Printing) has worked on the interior design of two of the historic Greek libraries featured here, and he displays impressive scholarship in this lavishingly illustrated (in both black-and-white and color) tome. For large libraries collecting on library science and European history and civilization.