Classics is the study of Graeco-Roman antiquity, from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC to the end of the 6th century AD, from the height of the Aegean Bronze Age down to late antiquity. It includes the study of the history, literature, languages, religion, philosophy, art, and culture of the Greek and Roman world during this period.

Collection guides

Readers at desks in the Manuscript Reading Room

Manuscripts Reading Room

The Manuscripts Reading Room is the enquiry point for the Library's western language manuscript collections (i.e. written by hand, not printed). The collection includes literary, historical manuscripts and private papers.

  • Find information on the shelves about the British Library’s collection of western manuscripts and those held elsewhere
  • Access online databases and electronic journals and books relating to archives and manuscripts
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our Explore Archives & Manuscripts Catalogue

Some of our manuscripts may require a Letter of Introduction, or may have other Access Conditions.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Manuscripts Reference Team.

Blog posts

A Novel Approach To Novels That Shaped Our World!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

It is wonderful to be collaborating with Leeds Libraries on their online Games Jam this month, which is encouraging people to create playful interactive adaptations of books in the BBC’s Novels that Shaped Our World list. Eye-catching artwork for the...

BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020, Rewind, Reflections, Box-sets and Seasons Greetings

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs. This action packed, detailed 'rewind' and festive bumper edition blog post about last week's largest ever BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020, contains some hidden seasonal gifts🎁(if you read very carefully) to bring...

Shortlist and voting for BL Labs People's Choice: Public Awards 2020 announced! Last chance: Book BL Labs Symposium!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs. Screenshots from the 10 BL Labs shortlisted entries for the Public Awards 2020 After much deliberation and intense discussion with key people from the BL Labs Advisory board and British Library we...

BL Labs Online Symposium 2020 : Book your place for Tuesday 15-Dec-2020

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Image taken from page 203 of '[Griffith's new historical description of Cheltenham and its vicinity ... with ... engravings. L.P.]' Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs The BL Labs team are pleased to announce that the eighth annual...

More blog posts

Over 500 collection items from the British Library and institutions across Europe

Projects

Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project

To make high-resolution digital images of the majority of the British Library's Greek manuscripts freely available online

The Codex Sinaiticus Project

Codex Sinaiticus is one of the two earliest Christian Bibles

All projects

Classics experts

Dr Scot McKendrick

Head of Western Heritage Collections

More staff members

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Digital Classicist

A wide range of materials relevant to the digital study of the ancient world

Perseus Digital Library, Greek and Roman Materials

Texts and translations of classical authors

Shop

A Classical Education (paperback)

Suitable for parents who wish to teach their children, this book includes: Latin and Greek; Logic and philosophy; Natural sciences; Art and architecture; Poetry and drama; and, History and Classical literature.

£5.99

A History of the Book in 100 Books (hardback)

From inscriptions on tombs to the first writings on papyrus; from scrolls to the first bound codex books in Roman times.

£20

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript

Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world.

£50