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
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

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 Reference Service

Blog posts

Actaeon was not a voyeur

Monday, March 20, 2017

The current small exhibition about Ovid in art (primarily ceramics) at the Wallace Collection reminded me of an earlier one at the National Gallery. Here some artists of our time paid homage to Actaeon on the entirely bogus grounds that...

“Ex musaeo” on a Latin title page = “from the library of” or “edited by”?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

On a Latin title page the author and title are only a small element: early printers just had to tell you where an author came from, his offices and distinctions (very important in an age of hierarchy) and the grandee...

Father Manuel Alvares, the Portuguese Jesuit who taught the British Latin

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When John Aubrey, best known for his unbuttoned biographical sketches Brief Lives, drew up the programme of studies for his ideal school, he referred no less than five times to the work of a Portuguese Jesuit: In the first year...

Picturing the Sacred: Byzantine Manuscript Illumination

Monday, November 7, 2016

Some of the British Library’s most precious manuscripts are those containing beautiful miniatures from the Byzantine world. The majority of these manuscripts are religious in focus, usually Gospels or Psalters, reflecting the central role played by Christianity in the Byzantine...

More blog posts

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