"The Great Libraries: From Antiquity to the Renaissance (3000 B.C. to A.D. 1600). This is a study of the development of books and libraries, chiefly in the Mediterranean region, from the time when people first started collecting works of literature. Is is divided into two parts.
Book I traces the parallel development of written literature in the various Mediterranean countries with the foundation of royal, public and private libraries. Extensive coverage is given to the first private and public libraries in ancient Greece and Rome and the factors that led to their formation. There are sections dealing with the type of script in use, the content of books and the way library architecture evolved in line with the political and cultural conditions prevailing in the Sumerian, Assyro-Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek (from Pre-Socratic period to the end of the ancient Greek era) and Roman civilizations. The Middle Ages are covered in two long chapters, one on Byzantium and the other on the Western world. The Italian Renaissance is studied from the supranatural viewpoint that engendered the Renaissance spirit, the central theme of this section being the revolutionary effects of the invention of printing on the dissemination of books and the foundation of libraries.
Book II chronicles the foundation and development of the following libraries, with special emphasis on the personality and humanistic spirit of their founders: The Library of the Oecumenical Patriarchate in the Phanar, Constantinople; The Library of the Monastary of St. John, Patmos; The Vatican Library, Rome; The Library of Novello Malatesta, Cesena; The Biblioteca Marciana, Venice; The Biblioteca Laurenziana, Florence; The Stiftsbibliothek, St. Gall; The Humanistic Library of Beatus Rhenanus, Selestat; The Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel; The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; The Nationalbibliothek, Vienna; The Library of Matthias Corvinus, Budapest; The Library of Strahov Abbey, Prague; The Bodleian Library, Oxford