A planetary sphere in a shagreen case, advertised for sale at seven shillings and sixpence by John Neale, London, 1745
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Donations from the Friends of the Library

Science & Medicine
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The Classical World
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The Art of the Printed Book
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Previous exhibitions

25 January to 4 June 2005
(closed 25-28 March inclusive)

Monday-Friday 09.00-18.00, Saturday 09.00-16.30. Sunday closed.


Dramatic masks, from a bilingual Latin and Italian edition of the plays of Terence, published in Rome in 1767

The Classical World

From the Renaissance until the end of the nineteenth century, classical learning underpinned scholarship in the humanities. This intense study of the philosophical, artistic and archaeological remains of antiquity is manifested in a vast body of publications reflecting the hegemonic conception of human civilisation in the post-medieval West. The Friends have rendered significant assistance to the University Library in assembling its collection of editions representing this aspect of academic activity. From early printings of classical literary and philosophical texts to lavishly-produced descriptions of excavations of Greek and Roman sites, adorned with plans and engravings, donations and purchases made through the Friends have served to document the modern world’s fascination with its intellectual and aesthetic roots.

Items on display

Girolamo Franzini (fl. sixteenth century), Icones statuarum antiquarum urbis Romae, Rome, 1599 (F159.e.2.6); Louis de Montjosieu (fl. sixteenth century), Gallus Romæ hospes, Rome, 1585 (F158.c.2.14); Publius Terentius Afer (186 or 5 B.C.-c. 161 B.C.), Comoediae, Rome, 1767 (F176.bb.2.1-2); Josef von Stichaner, Römische Denkmäler in Baiern, Munich, 1808 (8000.a.24). View exhibit captions.

A cut-away view of the Pantheon, from a collection of woodblocks of classical antiquities (Rome, 1599)