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Library

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LIBRARY, an edifice or apartment des tined for holding a considerable number of books placed regularly on shelves ; or, the books themselves lodged in it.

The first who erected a library at Athens was the tyrant Pisistratus, which was transported by Xerxes into Persia, and afterwards brought back by Seleucus Nicanor to Athens. Plutarch says, that tinder Eumenes there was a library at Pergamus that contained 200,000 books. That of Ptolemy Philadelphus, according to A. Gellius, contained 700,000, which were all burnt by Cxsar's soldiers. Con stantine and his successors erected a mag nificent one at Constantinople, which in the eighth century contained 300,000 volumes, and among the rest one in which the Iliad and Odyssey were written in letters of gold, on the guts of a serpent ; but this library was burnt by order of Leo 'saurus. The most celebrated libra ries of ancient Rome were the Ulpian and the Palatine, and in modern Rome, that of the Vatican ; the foundation of the Vatican library was laid by Pope Nicholas, in the year 1450 ; it was afterwards de stroyed in the sacking of Rome, by the constable of Bourbon, and restored by Pope Sixtus V. and has been considera bly enriched with the ruins of that of Heidelberg, plundered by Count Tilly in 1682. One of the most complete libraries in Europe, is that erected by Cosmo de Medicis ; though it is now exceeded by that of the French King, which was be gun by Francis I. augmented by Cardinal Richelieu, and completed by M. Colbert.

The Emperor's library at Vienna, accord ing to Lambecius, consists of 80,000 volumes, and 15,940 curious medals. The Bodleian library at Oxford exceeds that of any university in Europe, and even those of any of the sovereigns of Europe, except those of the Emperors of France and Germany, which are each of them older by a hundred years. It was first opened in 1602, and has since been in creased by a great number of benefactors: indeed the Medicean library, that of Bes sarion at Venice, and those just men tioned, exceed it in Greek manuscripts, but it outdoes them all in oriental manu scripts ; and as to printed books, the Am brosian at Milan, and that of Wolfenbut tle, are two of the most famous, and yet both are inferior to the Bodleian. The Cotton library consists wholly of manu scripts, particularly of such as relate to the history and antiquities of England ; which, as they are now bound, make about 1000 volumes.

In Edinburgh there is a good library belonging to the university, well fur nished with books, which are kept in good order, and cloistered up with wire doors, that none but the keeper can open; a method much more commodious than the multitude of chains used in other li braries. There is also a noble library of books and manuscripts belonging to the gentlemen of the law.