Scholarship

The intellectual traditions of Graeco-Roman antiquity continued throughout the Byzantine era and into the Early Modern world. Many examples of science, philosophy, historiography and literary scholarship are on display in the Greek manuscripts held at the British Library.

Scribes and scholars in Byzantium

Scribes and scholars in Byzantium

Article by:
Georgi Parpulov

Byzantine manuscripts were created by and for educated men both in Constantinople and further afield. Georgi Parpulov explores the lives and works of some of these figures.

Themes:
Scholarship, The makers of Greek manuscripts
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Ancient libraries

Article by:
Matthew Nicholls

How were books stored and accessed in the ancient world? Matthew Nicholls explores what the surviving evidence of ancient books can tell us about libraries in antiquity.

Themes:
Scholarship, The makers of Greek manuscripts
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Greek in Elizabethan England

Greek in Elizabethan England

Article by:
Matthew Adams

The teaching of Greek in English schools developed slowly and not without setbacks. Matthew Adams tells the story of how Greek spread in 16th-century England.

Theme:
Scholarship
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Byzantine libraries

Article by:
Georgi Parpulov

Byzantine scribes and authors refer repeatedly to book collections and libraries. Georgi Parpulov outlines what private, monastic and imperial libraries were like in medieval Byzantium.

Theme:
Scholarship
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The transmission of Greek philosophy and medicine

Greek philosophy and medicine

Article by:
Aileen Das

Ancient Greek philosophy and medical writing were extremely influential on later thought, both in the West and in the East. Aileen Das traces some of the strands of this remarkable journey, from Greek to Syriac, Arabic, and Latin.

Themes:
The Greek World, Scholarship
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The Greek language in the Latin West

Article by:
Cillian O’Hogan

After late antiquity, knowledge of Greek declined in Latin-speaking Western Europe. Although Greek would not be taught widely in the West again until the Renaissance, a number of manuscripts indicate that there was interest in learning about Greek letters during the Middle Ages, as Cillian O’Hogan explains.

Themes:
The Greek World, Scholarship
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Printing Greek in the 15th century

Article by:
Eugenia Russell

The development of printing in the 15th century signalled huge changes for the spread of Greek knowledge in Western Europe. Here, Eugenia Russell describes the key events in the early years of Greek printed books.

Themes:
The makers of Greek manuscripts, Scholarship, The Greek World
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Greek Gospels on Purple Parchment (Cotton MS Titus C XV f005r)

British collectors of Greek manuscripts

Article by:
Cillian O’Hogan

Cillian O’Hogan surveys how a number of manuscripts came to be in the British Library through the actions of successive British collectors over the centuries.

Themes:
The Greek World, Scholarship
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Byzantine Book Epigrams

Byzantine book epigrams

Article by:
Julie Boeten, Sien De Groot

Byzantines were famous for inscribing verses in and on important objects including books. In this article, Julie Boeten and Sien de Groot explore the content, function and value of these so-called book epigrams.

Themes:
Scholarship, The makers of Greek manuscripts, Art
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Further themes

Art

Learn more about Byzantine art from the illuminations and decorations found on Greek manuscripts.

Religion

Discover more about what our rich collection of surviving religious manuscripts tells us about Byzantine life.

Scholarship

Explore the intellectual traditions of the Graeco-Roman world that continued throughout the Byzantine era and into the Early Modern world.

The Greek World

Explore the influence of the Greek world on Western Europe and the Middle East.

The makers of Greek manuscripts

Learn more about book production in antiquity. What was more popular: parchment or paper?