Libraries in the Ancient World

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Writing in the ancient world was recognized as a powerful skill, the scribes were a very important people and not many were to be found. Starting with the Mesopotamian society, scribes were needed to send messages, convey news, take down Kings orders, register laws, write religious text, and much more as well as entertaining people with their readings. “The Mesopotamian scribes were an aristocratic elite, they contained power in their hands.” (Manguel 180). Text books in the past were found in the wealthier of homes not for the poor or common people.

In the Christian era the scribes of Ireland were also kept at an exalted status. The penalty for killing an Irish scribe was equal to killing a bishop.

In Babylon only an elite few people were trained to be a scribe, which they were held on a higher status than rest of society.

Back in history it was important for the chosen scribes to do well in school and there is evidence that fathers would bribe teachers to obtain good marks for their sons (Manguel 181). The students would learn the making of clay tablets and using the stylus, drawing and recognizing signs. The students would be given a round clay tablet which the teacher would inscribe a short sentence, proverb, or list of names on it, the student would study it and turn the clay tablet over and reproduce the writing. Becoming a reader and writer for the first time. Soon Mesopotamian script changed from pictograph to cuneiform. Signs took on sounds, becoming easier to comprehend the text, which brought forth complex literature. The ancient Mesopotamians believed birds to be sacred because their footsteps on wet clay left marks that resembled cuneiform writing, and if they could decipher the signs, they would know what the ...

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...e pursuit of knowledge that thrived in the ancient library. The old library encouraged the public to debate, create and invent. The new library is carrying that legacy forward” (Mohsen Zahran).

Works Cited

Chesser, Preston. “The Burning of the Library of Alexandria”. E. History. Ohio State University. 2014. Web. April 2014.

Crystalinks. “Library of Alexandria Bibliotheca Alexandrina”. of alexandria.html. 2014. Web. April 2014.

Manguel, Alberto. A History of Reading. New York. Penguin Books, 1996. Print.

Staidos, Konstahtinow. “The Great Libraries: From Antiquity to the Renaissance. Delaware. Oak Knoll Press. 2000. Print.

Watson, Bruce. “Rising Sun”. Smithsonian Magazine. April 2002. Web. April 2014.

Whitehouse, David. “Library of Alexandria Discovered”. BBC News, Science/Nature. 12 May, 2004. Web. April 2014.
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