Highlights of Individual Books in the Classics Library

The Classics Collection

Facsimile of the papyrus of Ani in a display case in the Classics Library’s Reading Room

A facsimile of the "Papyrus of Ani," in a display case in the Classics Library’s Reading Room, features the Egyptian Book of the Dead from 1898 with translation by E.A. Wallis Budge, the same copy Prof. John Miller Burnam (1864-1921) is examining in the portrait. It shows the royal scribe Ani and his wife Thuthu entering the Hall of Judgement, Ani’s soul, Anubis testing the tongue of Balance, Toth recording the result of the weighing with the Devourer of the Unjustified standing by, Horus leading Ani to Osiris. Osiris throned with Isis and Nephthys behind the throne. Under the 19th dynasty the dead were entombed with a copy of the Book of the Dead as a provision on their journey to Eternity. During the burial ceremony a priest would read from this book. The texts that it contained depicted in great detail the stages of rebirth, one of which was the weighing of the soul. The dead person's heart was put in one pan of a scale, and in the other was placed the Feather of Ma'at (Goddess of Justice and Truth). The sacred writing (hieroglyphs) told the story along with beautifully-colored vignettes on rolls from the papyrus plant. 

Facsimile of the Book of the Dead
Facsimile of the Book of the Dead

Rare Belser facsimile of the manuscript in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Rare Belser facsimile (Cod. Urb. lat. 277) of the manuscript in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. The Geography (in the Greek original, Γεωγραφικὴ Ὑφήγησις, and in Latin, Geographia or Cosmographia) is a gazetteer, an atlas, and a treatise on cartography, assembling the geographic knowledge of the 2nd century CE Roman Empire. Originally written by the Egyptian astronomer, mathematician, and geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus (c. 100-170 CE), the work was a revision of a now-lost atlas by Syrian-Greek geographer and cartographer Marinus of Tyre (c. 70-130 CE) and other sources. This facsimile of the earliest translation into Latin in 1406 by the Florentine Renaissance scholar Jacobo D'Angelo was highly influential for the geographic knowledge and cartographic traditions of Renaissance Europe.

Facsimile of the Laurentian manuscript of Sophocles

Facsimile. The Laurentian manuscript of Sophocles (Bibliotheca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, Codex Laurentianus 32.9). The oldest of the codices (c. 800 CE) of the Sophoclean opera.

Rare facsimile of Vergilius Romanus or the Roman Vergil

Rare facsimile of Vergilius Romanus (Biblioteca Apostolica, Cod. Vat. lat. 3867) or the Roman Vergil, is a 5th century illustrated manuscript of the works of Vergil. It contains the Aeneid, the Georgics, and some of the Eclogues. It is considered one of the oldest and most important Vergilian manuscripts. Here are some scenes from the Eclogues.

Cover of rare facsimile of the works of Roman poet Horace
Text of rare facsimile of the works of Roman poet Horace

Rare facsimile of the works of Roman poet Horace (65-27 BCE) (Cod. Laur. Med. Pluteus 34.1). Late 10th or early 11th century. Once the property of the influential Italian Renaissance poet and scholar Petrarch (1304-1374) with marginal annotations and now in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence. The image shows Horace’s poem Carmen Saeculare, commissioned by Emperor Augustus on the occasion of the ludi saeculares to celebrate the end of one saeculum and the beginning of another.

Facsimile of Liber Floridus or Book of Flowers

Facsimile. Liber Floridus ("Book of Flowers") is a medieval encyclopedia compiled between 1090 and 1120 by Lambert, Canon of Saint-Omer. It reflects the knowledge of and beliefs about the science, geography, zoology, botany, and mythology of the high Middle Ages. It is also a medieval bestiary.  The oldest of the known copies of the manuscript is in the Library of the University of Ghent (MS Gandensis 92).

The Byzantine and Modern Greek Collection

Facsimile of the Joshua Roll

Codex Vat. Pal. Graec. 431. The Joshua Roll is a Byzantine illuminated manuscript of highly unusual format for a codex, probably of the 10th century Macedonian Renaissance, believed to have been created by artists of the Imperial workshops in Constantinople, and now in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Perhaps the “papyrus like” scroll format was to honor the importance or antiquity of the Hebrew Bible? The Roll narrates Joshua’s military successes.

Colored engravings of Turkish dress and manners from the early 19th century

Colorful engravings of Turkish dress and manners from the early 19th century by Octavian Dalvimart.

Constantine Peter Cavafy collection of poetry signed by author

Constantine Peter Cavafy (Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης, Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, 1863–1933) considered one of the greatest Greek poets of the 20th century was born in Alexandria where several of his poetry collections were self-published. The Library’s copy bears the author’s signature in his own hand.

Greek Cubist artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas’ illustrations to the famous Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel

Greek Cubist artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas' (Νίκος Χατζηκυριάκος–Γκίκας) (1906–1994) illustrations to the famous Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis' (Νίκος Καζαντζάκης) (1883–1957)The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, including 34 color plates and a facsimile of a letter from Kazantzakis to Ghika from 1944.

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