In the ancient world, knowledge was not taken lightly; in fact, it was well guarded against any precious treasure, such as jewels or gold. After all, knowledge is wealth. With the numerous gigantic ancient libraries still standing to this day, it clearly shows that all the treasures of this world will always pass in comparison with learning and knowledge.
These magnificent ancient libraries once kept precious and priceless scrolls and books. Some libraries were extremely beautiful. In this list, we will take a closer look at some of the most amazing ancient libraries around the world
10. University of Nalanda, India
The university has offered education to thousands of students across Asia.
The University’s 9-story library was named “Dharma Gunj”, which translated to Mountainof Truth, and “Dharmaganja”, which means the Treasury of Truth. This is due to the numerous accolades it has received for its massive collection of Buddhist manuscripts among other texts and literature.
The University of Nalanda continued to nurture thousands of students and followers until the fall of the Turks in 1193. It is believed that the Turks took several months before completely destroying the foundations of the University of Nalanda due to its enormous size.
9. Pergamum Library, Turkey
Once home to more than 200,000 scrolls, touching on a variety of subjects, the Pergamum Library was once considered a major competitor to the Library of Alexandria.
The library was built in the 3rd century BC of the Attalid dynasty in modern Turkey. Just like the Library of Alexandria, the Library of Pergamum also established reputable schools of thought.
It is stated that, due to the fierce rivalry with the Library of Alexandria, the Ptolemaic dynasty stopped the export of papyrus to the region of Pergamum in an attempt to cripple the accelerated development of the library. Unfortunately, this failed, as the city of Pergamum was among the leading producers of parchment paper.
8. Ashurbanipal Library, Iraq
The library was named after the last king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. It was the oldest surviving royal library on Earth before the discovery of ancient ancient libraries before the 20th century.
The library was built in the 7th century in the city of Nineveh, modern Iraq, and it housed over 30,000 stone tablets written in cuneiform. It was one of the largest during this period and had a huge amount of material to study. The texts covered topics such as mythology, magic, medicine, poetry and andgeography.
The Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet is the most prominent surviving material from the Ashurbanipal library and is considered to be the oldest surviving magnificent literary work.
The Ashurbanipal Library is the first library to ever adopt a systematic organization of its contents.
King Ashurbanipal was a well-known lover of books and mostly gained many of them by plundering from confiscated territories such as Babylon and others.
7. Al-Karaviiiin Library, Morocco
The Al-Karaviiiin Library was built in 859 by unknown people, as part of one of the ancient universities on earth. Although there are many other existing libraries of the elderly, the Al-Karaviiiin Library is believed to be the oldest library in the world that still functions.
The library was found by Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy merchant from Tunisia. The daughter is also admitted to have founded the University of Caravan and the Caravan Mosque.
6. Villa Papiria, Italy
One of the smallest libraries by its standards, but the villa of the Papiri library is the only library in history whose texts and manuscripts have survived to this day. The collections are about 1,800 scrolls, and were first discovered in Herculaneum – a Roman city, in a villa believed to have been built by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Ceesininus – the father of Julius Caesar.
Villa Papiria was buried almost 2000 years after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ’79. The contents of the library are preserved about 90 feet under layers of volcanic material. Blackened and carbonized manuscripts were discovered in the 18th century.
5. Library of Alexandria, Egypt
The Library of Alexandria was built in 295 BC by Ptolemy I Soter, a former general of Alexander the Great. The library used to be a ‘Universal’ library because scientists from all over the world came to gain knowledge about thousands of manuscripts and share ideas.
The Library of Alexandria was the intellectual pinnacle of the jewels of ancient civilization. The texts touched on subjects such as science, law, history and mathematics. The library had over 500,000 scrolls.
Among the notable visitors to the library were Archimedes and Euclid. The Egyptian government offered a scholarship to those who visited and decided to live and study in the library.
The Library of Alexandria was burned by Julius Caesar in 48 BC when he set fire to the port of Alexandria during the war with Ptolemy XIII.
But many scholars dispute this history, arguing that the library may have survived the fire or at least not easily destroyed it. Some historians believe that the library may have been destroyed in 270 AD during the reign of Romanem Aurelian. Few scholars believe that the deletion of the library took place in the 4th century.
Nevertheless, the Library of Alexandria is still one of the most amazing libraries in history, with its incomparable academic and architectural achievements.
4. Library at Timgadu, Algeria
No one knows when the Library in Timgad was built, but what is known is that it was a gift from Julius Quintianus to Flavius Rogatianus to the Roman people. The library occupied a rectangular space 24.7 meters long and a wide rectangular space 77 feet wide (23.5 meters).
The library indicates a high level of the library system and a high quality learning culture. Although its design was as impressive as most of the libraries on this list, Timgad’s library was of great historical significance.
There is no evidence of the amount of the collection in the library, but many estimate that it could be around 3,000.
3. Caesarea Maritima Theological Library, Palestine
The Caesarea library was at the center of ancient Christian education as well as teaching. Prior to its destruction by the Arabs in 638, the library had vast collections of theological and ecclesiastical texts from early Jewish and Christian civilization.
The library also hosted a large collection of texts from Greece and the surrounding regions. Although the literature was philosophical and historical, they were still valuable because the library was regularly visited by influential historical figures, such as Gregory of Nazareth, Jerome and Basil the Great.
The library kept 30,000 manuscripts courtesy of Father Origen, most of which was destroyed by a purge led by Emperor Diocletian. Although the diocese of Caesarea rebuilt the library, the Arab occupiers demolished it again. After the Arab inversion, all manuscripts were completely destroyed.
2. Celsus Library, Turkey
Information and knowledge were the main cornerstone of the Roman Empire in ancient civilization. That is one of the reasons why the Celsus Library has lasted for centuries. The emperor’s love for monuments led to the construction of dozens of ancient libraries.
Around 120 BC, Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus completed the construction of a memorial library to his father in the city of Ephesus (modern Turkey). His father was a Roman consul. The decorative facade of the library still stands magnificently today and contains pillars and a marble staircase, together with four figurines denoting virtue, wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. The interior of the Celsus Library contains a rectangular compartment, as well as a series of small niches with bookshelves. It is believed that the library may house 12,000 scrolls. Celsus himself is buried in the library in a decorative sarcophagus.
1. Libraries of the Trajan’s Forum, Italy
Trajan’s Forum was built around 112 by Emperor Trajan in the heart of the city of Rome. There were also markets, markets and temples around the library, but none of those buildings shone from the famous library.
The building itself was divided into two parts. The dual structures contained numerous texts and works in Greek and Latin. At the center of the twin buildings were Trajan’s Column, a huge monument erected to honor the emperor’s many military victories.