Vranesh A. Photius’ Myriobiblon: The Roots of Bibliography
The interest in making bibliographies in the Byzantine age, and Photius’ Bibliotheca, or Myriobiblion as a striking example, can be attributed to the higher literacy rate of the people and a desire to introduce them to the most important artistic and scientific accomplishments of the time. Bibliotheca has overviews of 280 works by ancient classics, including religious and mundane texts on history, philosophy, rhetoric, medicine, and grammar, all except poetry. A bibliography studied through the historical perspective may show the national identity and consciousness manifested by the longing to hail the culture and wish to pass it on to new generations. In Europe bibliographies started to emerge only in the Middle Ages, and bibliographers normally adhered to the religious criterion. The French Revolution sparked further interest in bibliographies, and the 19th century made them widespread. The article discusses the role of Photius’ Myriobiblion in the rise of bibliography as a field of knowledge.