by Konstantinos Sp. Staikos
2000, 600 pp.
This monumental work chronicles the development of the library from 3000 B.C. to 1600 A.D. Beginning with the clay-tablet libraries of the ancient Sumerian and Assyro-Babylonian empires, to those inspired by the Italian Renaissance, Mr. Staikos reveals the majesty of western literature within these great depositories of human knowledge. Using over 400 illustrations [200 in full color] the reader is treated to hundreds of beautifully photographed interiors of these legendary libraries and their rare treasures. Chapter by chapter the stories of the fabled libraries of Alexandria, Greece and Rome unfold like an unbroken chain, connecting the wisdom of the ancients to the magnificent libraries of the European Renaissance. The author also shares with us the very personal stories of the founders and the unsung librarians, who struggled during wars and countless disasters to preserve and protect their precious holdings. The chapters on the contributions of the Byzantine and Greek monastic libraries, the foundation of the Western Renaissance, are especially revealing. Mr. Staikos original scholarship and well-written prose makes a very readable work of surprising originality. He has created a literary masterpiece that captures the rich heritage of one of man’s greatest achievements. Hardcover.