Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Subject Categories

Classical Archaeology and Art History | Library and Information Science


Library of Pantainos, Athens Greece, Ancient libraries, Classical archaeology, Roman libraries, History of libraries


The Library of Pantainos is not typical of Greco-Roman libraries built around the same time. When comparing the library to two libraries built within 35 years of it, the Library of Celsus (135 CE) in Ephesus and the Library of Hadrian (132 CE), there are major differences in design. The Library of Pantainos proper was surrounded by two stoas, which housed various stores, the revenue from which may have been used in the upkeep of the library and its collection. The library was built on land that had been fallow since the sack of Sulla in 86 BCE. Contrary to the belief by many historians that the library was a converted house, it was built as a library from spoila; only the two stoas were newly constructed. Built to follow the contours of the land, the library collection probably suffered dampness and mold problems because of a high water table. There were two entrances, one of which was secured by a special lock. (This lock type has only been found twice outside of Italy, both being in Athens.) In front of one of the stoa rooms stood a statue of Trajan, to whom the library was in part dedicated, and two statues have been found that once decorated the interior of the library, statues that are not of gods or the donors. The Pantainos family has an interesting history. Pantainos is also the only library in antiquity where the hours and circulation rules are known. This unique library was destroyed during the Heruli incursion, which decimated Athens in 267 CE.