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Ancient Roman Libraries

A library or "bibliotheca" had its place in the houses of every Roman of good education. Book collections were large and numerous, and were made then, as now, even by persons who cared nothing about reading or learning. The books, or rolls, which will be described later, were kept in cases or cabinets around the walls of the libraries.

In one ancient Roman library discovered in Herculaneum an additional rectangular case was found the middle of the room. It was customary to decorate libraries with statues of Minerva and the Muses, as well with the busts and portraits of distinguished men of letters. Vitruvius recommends that libraries should face east, likely to guard against dampness.

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