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

Reading Room  Paul Grundy

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 free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions 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

New papyrus position at the British Library

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The British Library is delighted to be able to offer a full time papyrus cataloguing and researcher post to work on our world-famous collection of Greek and Latin papyri. This one-year, fixed-term position will be based in the Ancient, Medieval...

Transparency and Too Much Information!!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Do you find yourself saying out loud what should really have stayed in your head? In the course of a short recent bus ride one passenger exclaimed to no-one in particular, “How am I supposed to get to work on...

Harry Potter meets the Middle Ages

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Harry Potter: A History of Magic has been a rip-roaring success. Not only has every session of every day of our exhibition sold out (a first for the British Library), and not only did we sell more advance tickets than...

A mammoth list of Digitised Manuscripts hyperlinks

Saturday, January 27, 2018

We have been hard at work here at the British Library and we are excited to share with you a brand new list of Digitised Manuscripts hyperlinks. You can currently view on Digitised Manuscripts no less than 1,943 manuscripts and...

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

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 book cover

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript

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

£50