Libraries, Bookstores and Literary Museums

Libraries, Bookstores and Literary Museums

Ancient LibrariesLibraries

Texts

Texts

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Literature, Oratory, Philosophy and Government

Literature, Oratory, Philosophy and Government

Top Ten Ancient Libraries

Top Ten Ancient Libraries

  1. Hall of Records, Egypt

           Located under the Sphinx, the hall of records contains traces of a Pre Egyptian society, that lived…, …May contain clues to the Atlantean society. The Hall of Records is a library buried under the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is in the Giza pyramid complex. It is rumored to house the knowledge of the Egyptians by papyrus scrolls, much as the Great Library of Alexandria housed Grecian knowledge. According to some, the Hall was not the work of Ancient Egyptians at all but another society (this has ranged from advanced prehistoric societies to a superior race of intelligent beings). Accordingly, this society sealed the Hall away with scrolls of their accumulated knowledge at about 10,500 BC, the last period of time when the constellation of Leo was located between the Sphinx’s paws when it rose in the night sky. Also of note, following Egdar’s Cayce’s remote viewings of the Egyptian Hall of Records, there are two other Halls of records rumored; one in or around Bimini, and another in the Yucatán jungle, most likely the ruins of Piedras Negras.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall_of_Records,
  2. Library of Alexandria

           The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was probably the largest, and certainly the most famous, of the libraries of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and functioned as a major center of scholarship, at least until the time of Rome’s conquest of Egypt and probably for many centuries thereafter. Alexander, although picking the site and planning the general layout of the city, died before he could take part in the construction of the library or academy that was created in his name. nerally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the third century BC, the library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II. Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC, Julius Caesar might have accidentally burned the library when he set fire to his own ships to frustrate Achillas’ attempt to limit his ability to communicate by sea. According to Plutarch’s account, this fire spread to the docks and then to the library.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Philosophers, Top Ten Greek Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria,
  3. Library of Ashurbanipal in Ninevah

           One of the greatest discoveries of Mesopotamia, the Library of Ashurbanipal in Ninevah contained more than 25,000 clay tablets arranged by subject, that covered everything from epic tales to astrological forecasts. Named after Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the catalogued library contained texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC. Among its holdings was the famous Epic of Gilgamesh. Due to the sloppy handling of the original material much of the library is irreparably jumbled, making it impossible for scholars to discern and reconstruct many of the original texts, although some have survived intact. The materials were found in the archaeological site of Kouyunjik (then ancient Nineveh, capital of Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia.
    Links: Top Ten Assyrian Artifacts, Top Ten Ancient Middle Eastern Textshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Ashurbanipal,
  4. Library of Celsus

           The library of Celsus, in Ephesus, Asia Minor (Anatolia, now Turkey), was built in honor of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus (completed in 135 AD) by Celsus’ son, Gaius Julius Aquila (consul, 110 AD). Celsus had been consul in 92 AD, governor of Asia in 115 AD, and a wealthy and popular local citizen. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits, so this was a special honor for Celsus.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Celsus,
  5. Library of Pergamon (3rd Century BC)

           The Library of Pergamum in Pergamum, Turkey, was one of the most important libraries in the ancient world. Pergamum is credited with being the home and namesake of parchment (charta pergamena). Prior to the creation of parchment, manuscripts were transcribed on papyrus, which was produced only in Alexandria. When the Ptolemies of Egypt refused to export any more papyrus to Pergamum, King Eumenes II commanded that an alternative source be found. This led to the production of parchment, which is made out of a thin sheet of sheep or goat skin. Parchment reduced the Roman Empire’s dependency on Egyptian papyrus and allowed for the increased dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe and Asia. The introduction of parchment also greatly expanded the holdings of the Library of Pergamum.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions,
  6. Ebla Library

           The archives and texts at Ebla, 2,500 BC to the destruction of the city 2,250 BC, constitute the oldest organized library yet discovered.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla_tablets,
  7. Forum Libraries of Rome

           The forum libraries of Rome date to the reign of Caesar Augustus and contained separate libraries, which housed both Greek and Latin texts.
    Links:
  8. House of Wisdom Library of Academy of Gundishapur (3rdCentury AD)
    The Academy of Gundishapur, also Jondishapur, was a renowned academy of learning in the city of Gundeshapur during late antiquity, the intellectual center of the Sassanid empire. It offered training in medicine, philosophy, theology and science. The faculty was versed not only in the Zoroastrian and Persian traditions, but in Greek and Indian learning as well. According to The Cambridge History of Iran, it was the most important medical center of the ancient world (defined as Europe, the Mediterranean and the Near East) during the 6
    th and 7th centuries.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_of_Gundishapur,
  9. Royal Library of Hattusas

    Description:
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  10. Library of HarranDescription:
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  11. The Libraries of Ugarit (1,200 BC)       In present day Syria – diplomatic and literary works, as well as the earliest privately owned libraries yet found. Some of the oldest written copies of an alphabet come from Ugarit.
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  12. Nag Hammadi LibraryDescription:
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  13. Bonus: Metallic Library of Ecuador or Bolivia??Description:
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  14. Bonus: Rumored Library on the Moon

    Description:
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  15. Bonus: Caesarea Maritima (3rdCentury AD)       Located in present day Israel, the Caesarea Maritima, a theological school under Origen of Alexandria, may have housed the largest ecclesiastical library of the day with more than 30,000 manuscripts.
    Links:
  16. Bonus: Library of Constantinople (330 AD)       Destroyed by the Third Crusade, thought to be the last vestige of texts of Antiquity.
    Links:
  17. Bonus: Villa of the Papyri (1stCentury AD)       Herculaneum near Pompeii, buried by the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The only “surviving” library of ancient papyrus from the ancient world. Thought to have belonged to Julius Caesars father in Law. The upper story of the villa that has been excavated contained 1,800 carbonized scrolls that are now being deciphered. More scrolls may exist below this.
    Links:
  18. Bonus: Desert Library of Timbuktu       Timbuktu a remote city in Mali on the edge of the Sahara Desert is thought to have once housed the first University in the world. It was a significant cultural, religious and merchant centre that traded with Europe, Asia and Africa. Its education of Islamic scholars became renown throughout the world. Many manuscripts still exist today from many varied topics of human endeavor.
    Links: Top Ten Malian Attractions,
  19. Links: Top Ten Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_libraries_of_the_ancient_world, http://historicconnections.webs.com/historyofwriting.htm,

Enlightening Works of Literary Revelation

Top Ten Libraries

Top Ten Libraries

  1. Vatican Library and Secret Archives

    The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from throughout history. From July 2007, the library has been temporarily closed to the public for rebuilding, which is expected to be completed by September 2010. The Vatican Secret Archives, located in Vatican City, is the central repository for all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See. These archives also contain the state papers, correspondence, papal account books, and many other documents which the church has “accumulated” over the centuries. In the 17th century, under the orders of Pope Paul V, the Secret Archives were separated from the Vatican Library, where scholars had some very limited access to them, and remained absolutely closed to outsiders until 1881, when Pope Leo XIII opened them to researchers, of whom now more than a thousand examine its documents each year. The word “secret” in the title “Vatican Secret Archives” does not have the modern meaning: it indicates instead that the archives are the Pope’s own, not those of a department of the Roman Curia. The word “secret” was used in this sense also in phrases such as “secret servants,” “secret cupbearer,” or “secret carver.” The Vatican Secret Archives have been estimated to contain 52 miles (84 km) of shelving.
    Links: Top Ten Vatican City Attractions, Top Ten Italian Attractionshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Library,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Archives,
  2. The Library of Congress (1800 – Present)

    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress and is the oldest federal cultural institution in the US. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and holds the largest number of books. The head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington. The Library of Congress was established by Congress in 1800 and was housed in the US Capitol for most of the 19th century. After much of the original collection had been destroyed during the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson sold 6,487 books to the library, his entire personal library, in 1815. After a period of decline during the mid-19th century the Library of Congress began to grow rapidly in both size and importance after the American Civil War, culminating in the construction of a separate library building and the transference of all copyright deposit holdings to the Library. During the rapid expansion of the 20th century the Library of Congress assumed a preeminent public role, becoming a “library of last resort” and expanding its mission for the benefit of scholars and the American people.
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress,
  3. National Library of China

    The National Library of China in Beijing is the largest library in Asia, and one of the largest in the world with a collection of over 23 million volumes. It holds the largest and among the richest worldwide collections of Chinese literature and historical documents. The forerunner of the National Library of China, the Capital Library, was founded on 24 April 1909 by the Qing government. The name of the library was at that time ‘The Metropolitan Library.’ It was first formally opened after the Xinhai Revolution, in 1912. In 1916, the library received depository library status. In July 1928, its name was changed to National Beijing Library and was later changed to the National Library. The National Library of China’s collection inherited books and archives from the “Imperial Wenyuange Library” collection of the Qing Dynasty and that, in turn, included books and manuscripts from the library of the Southern Song Dynasty. The library also contains inscribed tortoise shells and bones, ancient manuscripts, and block-printed volumes. Among the most prized collections are rare and precious documents and records from past dynasties in Chinese history. The library also houses official publications of the United Nations and foreign governments and a collection of literature and materials in over 115 languages.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Top 100 Chinese Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_China,
  4. British Library (Previously The Cotton Library)

    The British Library is the national library of the UK and the world’s largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is one of the world’s major research libraries, holding over 150 million items in all known languages and formats: books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings and much more. While it holds more items in total, its book collection is second only to the American Library of Congress. The Library’s collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial additional collection of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 300 BC. As a legal deposit library, the library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including all foreign books distributed in the UK. It also purchases many items which are only published outside Britain and Ireland. The British Library adds some three million items every year. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is located on the north side of Euston Road in St Pancras, London, between Euston railway station and St Pancras railway station.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Libraryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_library,
  5. The Russian State Library

    The Russian State Library is the national library of Russia, located in Moscow. It is the largest in the country and the 3rd largest in the world for its collection of books (17.5 million). It was named the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR from 1925 until it was renamed in 1992 as the Russian State Library. The library has over 275 km of shelves with more than 43 million items, including over 17 million books and serial volumes, 13 million journals, 350 thousand music scores and sound records, 150,000 maps and others. There are items in 247 languages of the world, the foreign part representing about 29% of the entire collection. Between 1922 and 1991 at least one copy of every book published in the USSR was deposited with the library, a practice which continues in a similar method today, with the library designated by law as a place to hold a “mandatory” copy of every publication issued in Russia.
    Links: Top Ten Russian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_State_Library,
  6. National Library of Russia

    The National Library of Russia in St Petersburg, known as the State Public Saltykov-Shchedrin Library from 1932 to 1992 (i.e. in the Soviet era), is the oldest public library in Russia. It should not be confused with the Russian State Library, located in Moscow.
    Links: Top Ten Russian Attractions, Top Ten Israeli Artifacts, Top 100 Symbolshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_Russia,
  7. Bodleian Library, Oxford (1602 – Present)

            The Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library. Known to Oxford scholars as “Bodley” or simply “the Bod,” under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom and under Irish Law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Though University members may borrow some books from dependent libraries (such as the Radcliffe Science Library), the Bodleian operates principally as a reference library and in general documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractionshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodleian_Library,
  8. Modern Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Maktabat al-Iskandarīyah)



           The Bibliotheca Alexandrina or Maktabat al-Iskandarīyah is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It is both a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity, and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier center of study and erudition represented.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Artifacts, Top 100 Egyptian Artifacts, Top Ten Ancient Egyptian TextsTop Ten Sarcophagi, Top Ten Pharaohs, Top Ten Mummieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bibliotheca_Alexandrina,
  9. Bonus: Hall of Records

           The Hall of Records is a library buried under the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is in the Giza pyramid complex. It is rumored to house the knowledge of the Egyptians by papyrus scrolls, much as the Great Library of Alexandria housed Grecian knowledge. According to some, the Hall was not the work of Ancient Egyptians at all but another society (this has ranged from advanced prehistoric societies to a superior race of intelligent beings). Accordingly, this society sealed the Hall away with scrolls of their accumulated knowledge at about 10,500 BC, the last period of time when the constellation of Leo was located between the Sphinx’s paws when it rose in the night sky. Also of note, following Egdar’s Cayce’s remote viewings of the Egyptian Hall of Records, there are two other Halls of records rumored; one in or around Bimini, and another in the Yucatán jungle, most likely the ruins of Piedras Negras.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, Sculptures, Top 100 Egyptian Sculptures, Top Ten Statues of the Sphinx, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall_of_Records,
  10. Bonus: Library of Alexandria

           The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was probably the largest, and certainly the most famous, of the libraries of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and functioned as a major center of scholarship, at least until the time of Rome’s conquest of Egypt and probably for many centuries thereafter. Alexander, although picking the site and planning the general layout of the city, died before he could take part in the construction of the library or academy that was created in his name. nerally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the third century BC, the library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II. Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC, Julius Caesar might have accidentally burned the library when he set fire to his own ships to frustrate Achillas’ attempt to limit his ability to communicate by sea. According to Plutarch’s account, this fire spread to the docks and then to the library.
    Links: Top Ten Egytpian Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria,
  11. Bonus: Akashic Records

           The akashic records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning “sky,” “space” or “aether”) is a term used in theosophy (and Anthroposophy) to describe a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. They are metaphorically described as a library; other analogies commonly found in discourse on the subject include a “universal supercomputer” and the “Mind of God.” People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated automatically and that they can be accessed through astral projection or when someone is placed under deep hypnosis. The concept was popularized in the theosophical movements of the 19th century and is derived from Hindu philosophy of Samkhya. It is promulgated in the Samkhya philosophy that the Akashic records are automatically recorded in the elements of akasha one of the five types of elements visualized as existing in the elemental theory of Ancient India, called Mahabhuta. In Buddhism it is taught one reason that people knew Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment as a Buddha was because he was able to remember all of the details of all of his past lives by accessing them on the akashic records. The term akashic records is frequently used in New Age discourse.
    Links: Top Ten Psychonauts, Top Ten Remote Viewers, Top Ten Psychics, Top Ten Paintings by Alex Grey, Top 100 Mandalas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashic_records,
  12. Links: Top Ten Ancient Libraries,

Enlightening Works of Literary Revelation

Top Ten South American Codices

Top Ten South American Codices

       Maya codices (singular codex) are folding books stemming from the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, written in Maya hieroglyphic script on Mesoamerican bark cloth, made from the inner bark of certain trees, the main being the wild fig tree or amate. Paper, generally known by the Nahuatl word āmatl, was named by the Mayas huun. The folding books are the products of professional scribes working under the patronage of deities such as the Tonsured Maize God and the Howler Monkey Gods. The Maya developed their huun-paper around the 5th century, which is roughly the same time that the codex became predominant over the scroll in the Roman world. However, Maya paper was more durable and a better writing surface than papyrus. The codices have been named for the cities where they eventually settled. The Dresden codex is generally considered the most important of the few that survive. In the words of Michael Coe, “Our knowledge of ancient Maya thought must represent only a tiny fraction of the whole picture, for of the thousands of books in which the full extent of their learning and ritual was recorded, only four have survived to modern times (as though all that posterity knew of ourselves were to be based upon three prayer books and Pilgrim’s Progress).”

  1. The Dresden Codex (Codex Dresdensis)

           The Dresden Codex (Codex Dresdensis) is held in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek (SLUB), the state library in Dresden, Germany. It is the most elaborate of the codices, and also a highly important specimen of Maya art. Many sections are ritualistic (including so-called ‘almanacs’), others are of an astrological nature (eclipses, the Venus cycles). The codex is written on a long sheet of paper that is ‘screen-folded’ to make a book of 39 leaves, written on both sides. It was probably written just before the Spanish conquest. Somehow it made its way to Europe and was bought by the royal library of the court of Saxony in Dresden in 1739. The only exact replica, including the huun, made by a German artist is displayed at the Museo Nacional de Arqueología in Guatemala City, since October, 2007. The Venus cycle was an important calendar for the Maya and much information in regard to this is found in the Dresden codex. The Maya courts employed skilled astronomers, who could calculate the Venus cycle with extraordinary accuracy. There are six pages in the Dresden Codex devoted to the accurate calculation of the location of Venus. The Maya were able to achieve such accuracy by careful observation over many centuries. The Venus cycle was especially important because the Maya believed it was associated with war and used it to divine appropriate times (electional astrology) for coronations and war. Maya rulers planned for wars to begin when Venus rose. The Maya may have also tracked the movements of other planets, including Mars, Mercury and Jupiter.
    Links: Top Ten Mayan Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_codices,
  2. Madrid Codex (Tro-Cortesianus Codex)

    Although of inferior workmanship, the Madrid Codex (Codex Tro-Cortesianus) is even more varied than the Dresden Codex and is the product of a single scribe. This codex was likely written after Spanish arrival, and was the result of hastily absorbed imagery and text from several sources. It is in the Museo de América in Madrid, Spain, where it may have been sent back to the Royal Court by Hernán Cortés. There are 112 pages, which got split up into two separate sections, known as the Troano Codex and the Cortesianus Codex. These were re-united in 1888. This Codex’s provenance has been suggested to be Tayasal, the last Maya city to be conquered in 1697.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_codices,

  3. The Paris Codex (Peresianus Codex)

    The Paris Codex (also or formerly the Codex Peresianus) contains prophecies for tuns and katuns, as well as a Maya zodiac, and is thus, in both respects, akin to the Books of Chilam Balam. The codex first appeared in 1832 as an acquisition of France’s Bibliothèque Impériale (later the Bibliothèque Nationale, or National Library) in Paris. Three years later the first reproduction drawing of it was prepared for Lord Kingsborough, by his Lombardian artist Agostino Aglio. The original drawing is now lost, but a copy survives among some of Kingsborough’s unpublished proof sheets, held in collection at the Newberry Library, Chicago. Although occasionally referred to over the next quarter-century, its permanent “rediscovery” is attributed to the French orientalist León de Rosny, who in 1859 recovered the codex from a basket of old papers sequestered in a chimney corner at the Bibliothèque Nationale where it had lain discarded and apparently forgotten. As a result, it is in very poor condition. It was found wrapped in a paper with the word Pérez written on it, possibly a reference to the Jose Pérez who had published two brief descriptions of the then-anonymous codex in 1859. De Rosny initially gave it the name Codex Peresianus (“Codex Pérez”) after its identifying wrapper, but in due course the codex would be more generally known as the Paris Codex. De Rosny published a facsimile edition of the codex in 1864. It remains in the possession of the Bibliothèque Nationale.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_codices,

  4. Codex Borgia

           The Codex Borgia (or Borgia Codex or Codex Yoalli Ehecatl) is a Mesoamerican ritual and divinatory manuscript. It is generally believed to have been written before the Spanish conquest of Mexico, somewhere within what is now today southern or western Puebla. The Codex Borgia is a member of, and gives its name to, the Borgia Group of manuscripts. The codex is made of animal skins folded into 39 sheets. Each sheet is a square 27 cm by 27 cm (11×11 inches), for a total length of nearly 11 m (35 ft.). All but the end sheets are painted on both sides, providing 76 pages. The codex is read from right to left. The Codex Borgia is named after the Italian Cardinal Stefano Borgia, who owned it before it was acquired by the Vatican Library. In 2004 Maarten Jansen and Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez proposed that it be given the indigenous name Codex Yoalli Ehecatl, Nahuatl for “Night and Wind,” although it is not certain that its creators were Nahuas.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Borgia,
  5. Codex Borbonicus

           The Codex Borbonicus is an Aztec codex written by Aztec priests shortly before or after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The codex is named after the Palais Bourbon in France. It is held at the Bibliothèque de l’Assemblée Nationale in Paris. In 2004 Maarten Jansen and Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez proposed that it be given the indigenous name Codex Cihuacoatl, after the goddess Cihuacoatl. The Codex Borbonicus is a single 46.5-foot (14.2 m) long sheet of amatl “paper.” Although there were originally 40 accordion-folded pages, the first two and the last two pages are missing. Like all pre-Columbian codices, it was originally entirely pictorial in nature, although some Spanish descriptions were later added. There is dispute as to whether the Codex Borbonicus is pre-Columbian, as the calendar pictures all contain room above them for Spanish descriptions. Codex Borbonicus can be divided into three sections: The first section is one of the most intricate surviving divinatory calendars (or tonalamatl). Each page represents one of the 20 trecena (or 13-day periods), in the tonalpohualli (or 260-day year). Most of the page is taken up with a painting of the ruling deity or deities, with the remainder taken up with the 13 day-signs of the trecena and 13 other glyphs and deities. With these 26 symbols, the priests were able to create horoscopes and divine the future. The first 18 pages of the codex (all that remain of the original 20) show considerably more wear than the last sections, very likely indicating that these pages were consulted more often. The second section of the codex documents the Mesoamerican 52 year cycle, showing in order the dates of the first days of each of these 52 solar years. These days are correlated with the nine Lords of the Night. The third section is focused on rituals and ceremonies, particularly those that end the 52-year cycle, when the “new fire” must be lit. This section is unfinished.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Borbonicus,
  6. Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

           The Codex Fejérváry-Mayer is an Aztec Codex of central Mexico. It is one of the rare pre-Hispanic manuscripts that have survived the Spanish conquest of Mexico. As a typical calendar codex tonalamatl dealing with the sacred Aztec calendar – the tonalpohualli – it is grouped in the Codex Borgia group. Its elaboration is typically pre-Columbian: it is made on deerskin parchment folded accordion-style into 23 pages. It measures 16.2 cm by 17.2 cm and is 3.85 m long.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Fej%C3%A9rv%C3%A1ry-Mayer,
  7. Aubin Codex

    The Aubin Codex is a pictorial history of the Aztecs from their departure from Aztlán through the Spanish conquest to the early Spanish colonial period, ending in 1607. Consisting of 81 leaves, it was most likely begun in 1576, it is possible that Fray Diego Durán supervised its preparation, since it was published in 1867 as Historia de las Indias de Nueva-España y isles de Tierra Firme, listing Durán as the author. Among other topics, the Aubin Codex has a native description of the massacre at the temple in Tenochtitlan in 1520. Also called “Manuscrito de 1576” (“The Manuscript of 1576”), this codex is held by the British Museum and a copy of its commentary at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. A copy of the original is held at the Princeton University library in the Robert Garrett Collection there. The Aubin Codex is not to be confused with the similarly named Aubin Tonalamatl.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boturini_Codex,

  8. Codex Magliabechiano

           The Codex Magliabechiano was created during the mid-16th century, in the early Spanish colonial period. Based on an earlier unknown codex, the Codex Magliabechiano is primarily a religious document, depicting the 20 day-names of the tonalpohualli, the 18 monthly feasts, the 52-year cycle, various deities, indigenous religious rites, costumes, and cosmological beliefs. The Codex Magliabechi has 92 pages made from European paper, with drawings and Spanish language text on both sides of each page. It is named after Antonio Magliabechi, a 17th century Italian manuscript collector, and is presently held in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence, Italy.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boturini_Codex,
  9. Codex Ixtlilxochitl

    The Codex Ixtlilxochitl is an early 17th century codex fragment detailing, among other subjects, a calendar of the annual festivals and rituals celebrated by the Aztec teocalli during the Mexican year. Each of the 18 months is represented by a god or historical character. Written in Spanish, the Codex Ixtlilxochitl has 50 pages comprising 27 separate sheets of European paper with 29 drawings. It was derived from the same source as the Codex Magliabechiano. It was named after Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl (between 1568 & 1578 – 1650), a member of the ruling family of Texcoco, and is held in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boturini_Codex,

  10. Grolier Codex

    While the three famous Mayan codices were known to scholars since the 19th century, the Grolier Codex only surfaced in the 1970’s. The codex, said to have been found in a cave, is really a fragment of 11 pages. It is currently in a museum in Mexico, but is not on display to the public (scanned photos of it are available on the web). Each page shows a hero or god, facing to the left. At the top of each page is a number, and down the left of each page is what appears to be a list of dates. The pages are much less detailed than in the other codices, and hardly provide any information that is not already in the Dresden Codex. Mayanists continue to debate its authenticity.
    Links:

  11. Bonus: Manuscript of 1558

    In Aztec mythology, the Centzonmimixcoa (or Centzon Mimixcoa, the “Four Hundred alike Mixcoatl”) are the gods of the northern stars. The Aztec gods of the southern stars are the Centzonuitznaua. According to the Manuscript of 1558, section 6, these 400 ‘Cloud-Serpents’ were divinely slain [= transformed into stars] in this wise :- of 4 their protagonists, Quauhtli-icohuauh (‘Eagle’s Twin’) “hid inside a tree”; Mix-coatl (‘Cloud Serpent’) “hid within the earth”; Tlo-tepetl (‘Hawk Mountain’) “hid within a hill”; Apan-teuctli (‘River Lord’) “hid in the water”; their sister, Cuetlach-cihuatl, “hid in the ball court.” From this ambuscade these 4 slew the 400.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centzonmimixcoa,

  12. Bonus: Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis

           The Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis (Latin for “Little Book of the Medicinal Herbs of the Indians”) is a herbal manuscript, describing the medicinal properties of various plants used by the Aztecs. It was translated into Latin by Juan Badiano, from a Nahuatl original composed in Tlatelolco in 1552 by Martín de la Cruz that is no longer extant. The Libellus is also known as the Badianus Manuscript, after the translator; the Codex de la Cruz-Badiano, after both the original author and translator; and the Codex Barberini, after Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who had possession of the manuscript in the early 17th century.
    Links: Health, Top 100 Plants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boturini_Codex,
  13. Bonus: Florentine Codex

           The Florentine Codex is the common name given to a 16th century ethnographic research project in Mesoamerica by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún. Bernardino originally titled it: La Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana (in English: the General History of the Things of New Spain). It is commonly referred to as “The Florentine Codex” after the Italian archive library where the best-preserved manuscript is preserved. In partnership with Aztec men who were formerly his students, Bernardino conducted research, organized evidence, wrote and edited his findings starting in 1545 up until his death in 1590. It consists of 2,400 pages organized into 12 books with over 2,000 illustrations drawn by native artists providing vivid images of this era. It documents the culture, religious cosmology (worldview) and ritual practices, society, economics, and natural history of the Aztec people. One scholar described The Florentine Codex as “one of the most remarkable accounts of a non-Western culture ever composed.” Charles E. Dibble and Arthur J. O. Anderson were the first to translate the Codex from Nahuatl to English, in a project that took 30 years to complete.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florentine_Codex,
  14. Bonus: Codex Bodley

           The Codex Bodley is an important pictographic manuscript, and example of the native Mixtec historiography. It was named after the colloquial name of the Bodleian Library, where it has been stored since the 17th century. While the exact dates of its creation are difficult to establish, judging from its content, it was completed shortly before the 1521 Spanish conquest of Mexico.
    Links:
  15. Boturini Codex

           The Boturini Codex was painted by an unknown Aztec author sometime between 1530 and 1541, roughly a decade after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Pictorial in nature, it tells the story of the legendary Aztec journey from Aztlán to the Valley of Mexico. Rather than employing separate pages, the author used one long sheet of amatl, or fig bark, accordion-folded into 21½ pages. There is a rip in the middle of the 22nd page, and it is unclear whether the author intended the manuscript to end at that point or not. Unlike many other Aztec codices, the drawings are not colored, but rather merely outlined with black ink. Also known as “Tira de la Peregrinación” (“The Strip Showing the Travels”), it is named after one of its first European owners, Lorenzo Boturini Bernaducci (1702 – 1751). It is now held in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boturini_Codex,
  16. Codex Mendoza

           The Codex Mendoza is an Aztec codex, created about 20 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico with the intent that it be seen by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. It contains a history of the Aztec rulers and their conquests, a list of the tribute paid by the conquered, and a description of daily Aztec life, in traditional Aztec pictograms with Spanish explanations and commentary. The codex is named after Antonio de Mendoza, then the viceroy of New Spain, who may have commissioned it. It is also known as the Codex Mendocino and La coleccion Mendoza, and has been held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University since 1659. It was taken off of public exhibition on December 23, 2011.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Mendoza,
  17. Codex Cozcatzin

    The Codex Cozcatzin is a post-conquest, bound manuscript consisting of 18 sheets (36 pages) of European paper, dated 1572 although was perhaps created later than this. Largely pictorial, it has short descriptions in Spanish and Nahuatl. The first section of the codex contains a list of land granted by Itzcóatl in 1439 and is part of a complaint against Diego Mendoza. Other pages list historical and genealogical information, focused on Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlan. The final page consists of astronomical descriptions in Spanish. It named for Don Juan Luis Cozcatzin, who appears in the codex as “alcalde ordinario de esta ciudad de México” (“ordinary mayor of this city of Mexico”). The codex is presently held by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
    Links:

  18. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boturini_Codex, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_codices,