Ancient and medieval libraries as well as late antique compendia (virtual libraries, as it were) are institutionalized storing processes, thus selecting and organizing religious as well as profane knowledge. Selection criteria indicate what knowledge was deemed relevant, while organizational principles point to the ways in which religious and profane bodies of knowledge served cultural or religious policies. The proximity to cultic institutions produced architectural, sociocultural and reflexive connections between cult and the transmission of knowledge that vary in closeness. Within such ensembles, storehouses of education could represent religion-based authority or communicate relations of medicine and cult, that is, healing and salvation.
Archaeology of Ancient Libraries: Religion, Representation, Storerooms of Knowledge
The sub-project investigates the archaeological and literary sources for Greco-Roman libraries by virtue of a new and comprehensive approach and interprets them with respect to both the contextualization of storerooms of knowledge within sanctuaries and imperial representation. In doing so, the question arises whether the localization, e.g., of Hellenistic libraries in sacred contexts served as prefiguration of the relationship of libraries and Christian cultic practices in Late Antiquity and medieval times. Also the integration of thermal baths as a precursor of the interconnection between bath and library in the Middle Ages will be discussed. Thereby it will be clarified whether ancient libraries – considering their functioning – should be regarded as a preliminary stage for later ensembles of storerooms of knowledge or whether they should rather be studied following a transcultural comparative approach.
The project investigates the interactions of education and religion in the case of several important early Christian libraries; continuities and discontinuities vis-à-vis their non-Christian predecessors will be documented by a comprehensive coverage of the relevant literary and archaeological evidence. Three paradigmatic cases will be studied: 1. the establishment of the school and library of Origen in Caesarea; 2. the transformation of the Bibliotheca Pacis (Rome) into the ecclesiastical building complex St. Cosmas and Damian; 3. the establishment of the (library and educational institution) Vivarium of Cassiodorus in Calabria.
Pagan Religion and Philosophy in ‘Virtual Libraries‘: Late Antique Compendia and Encyclopaedic Works
The project investigates various forms of the literarisation of pagan religious traditions in selected late antique compendia and encyclopaedic works. In doing so, it takes into account the full pagan religious panorama, including philosophy. Mechanisms of selection and condensation of knowledge about religion are analysed with regard to their impact on late antique pagan religiosity and to their embeddedness in conceptions of education and culture on the one hand, and to their importance for the construction and transmission of alternative worldviews in the Middle Ages on the other hand.
Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Hedwig Röckelein
Research Fellows: Silviu Ghegoiu, Karin Bohr, Carmen Cvetkovic
Religious Reception and Christian Transformation of Non-Religious Knowledge in the Carolingian Era
The project is focused on the Carolingian period and aims to reconstruct communication and transformation processes of non-religious knowledge in the fields of the Septem Artes and medicine that had been passed on in schools and by scholars since the Antiquity. In particular, the research will be focused on the re-interpretation of traditions of knowledge and education under Christian auspices on the one hand, and the use of this knowledge for representative and pragmatic purposes by the Carolingian rulers on the other hand. The subjects in concern are both the corpus of non-religious texts communicated at schools and collected in monastic and court libraries as well as the architectural ensembles of schools and libraries which were located at the court in Aachen and in palaces and monasteries all over the Frankish realm.