The Classics and Archaeology Library

Overview

The Classics and Archaeology program has a collection of about 7,000 books, housed in two locations in the Arts West Building. This unique specialized collection facilitates the research conducted by academic staff, honorary fellows, postgraduate students, and visiting researchers. The Classics Reading Room (511 West Wing) and the Research Lounge (552 North Wing) are therefore non-lending facilities and not open to the general public or to undergraduate students.

The Classics Reading Room contains an extensive collection of Ancient Greek and Latin texts (eg Loebs, Oxford Classical Texts, Budés, and Teubners, including some Byzantine texts), commentaries (such as the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries), dictionaries and lexicons, major works of reference (eg Oxford Classical Dictionary, Cambridge Ancient History, Pauly Wissowa), and a complete set of the Australian-published journal Ramus: critical studies in Greek and Roman literature. There are many academic books on ancient literature, art, architecture, mythology, political history, social history, philosophy, epigraphy, Roman law, Byzantine studies, and other areas of classical studies. There are also ancient Egyptian, Syriac Aramaic, and Akkadian texts.

The Research Lounge has several locked glass cabinets which house heritage books published before 1900, and a large variety of books on classical and near Eastern studies published in the 20th century. It also houses a large Archaeology collection, including rare excavation reports and periodicals and on Classical, near Eastern and Egyptian archaeology (eg Israel Exploration Journal, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, and 'Atiqot), and philological texts on ancient Egyptian and Akkadian.

Locations

Classics Reading Room
Room 511, Level 5 (West wing)
Arts West (Building 148)

Research Lounge
Room 552, Level 5 (North wing)
Arts West (Building 148)

Access

The Classics Reading Room is a research-only non-lending library, and access is limited to researchers who have been granted keys (academic staff, honorary fellows, visiting academics, postgraduates). It is not open to the general public or to undergraduate students.

The Research Lounge is facilitated by the Faculty of Arts, and entry to the room is available only to staff who have been granted swipe-card access. Books are stored behind locked glass cabinets.

Visitors who wish to view books in either location should contact the Discipline Head of Classics and Archaeology, email Dr K.O. Chong-Gossard.

Catalogue

The library's contents are being catalogued by two casual librarians, and a searchable computer catalogue should be completed in 2017 and accessible in the Classics Reading Room.

More about the Library

The Classics Library was started by Graeme Clarke who became Professor of Classical Studies in 1969. When he arrived the Classics department was still in Old Arts (Building 149) and there was no Classics library as such, just a small collection of multiple copies of the Latin and Greek set books which were kept in the secretary's office. Shortly after his arrival, a large number of texts and commentaries that had been housed in the Tower of the Jesuit establishment at Watsonia were donated to the department. At the same time, John Medley (Building 191) was being completed and Classics was due to move into the 6th floor of the East wing of the building. Graeme Clarke asked for and got a large room to house what was to become a rapidly expanding Classics library. Graeme Clarke established a departmental policy of building up a working collection of texts and standard commentaries, funded from various departmental sources. He was able to make standing orders for the full Loeb collection, the Oxford Classical Texts, the Budé series, and the Teubner series. Other important works, especially reference works, were also acquired. The aim was to have in hand a standard reference collection, including encyclopaedias and dictionaries, useful for both staff and students, and to have on the shelves all the material referred to in various courses and essay lists.

Under Graeme Clarke's successor, Professor Michael Osborne, the Classics department merged with the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, which had a large library of its own, housed in Old Arts (Building 149). This library contained a large number of rare excavation reports on sites in the Middle East and Egypt, as well as several Middle Eastern archaeological and biblical periodicals, and a large number of reference works and dictionaries, including grammars and lexicons of Hebrew, Aramaic, Assyrian, and Akkadian.

Shortly after Frank Sear became Professor of Classical Studies in 1991, a combined Classics and Archaeology library moved to the 5th floor of John Medley (Building 191). In 1997 the library was moved again, this time to Elisabeth Murdoch (Building 134) - formerly Old Pathology - when Classics and Fine Arts (Arts History and Cinema Studies) were merged. Finally in 2002 the Classics and Archaeology staff were moved to the Old Quadrangle (Building 150), and the library moved with them, into a space formerly used as a staff reading room by the Law School. In 2007 a major donation from an anonymous donor, the Classics Library Fund, was established specifically for the purchase of books; hundreds of valuable texts and commentaries were purchased with this donation, and the fund is still in operation. The Library remained in the Old Quadrangle until 2016, when it was relocated to the Arts West (Building 148), along with the rest of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS), which had been established back in 2011.