Rome’s Libraries

There had been private libraries in Rome since the 2nd century BC. Public libraries for Greek and Latin literature were only established during the early imperial period. Since the 1st century BC, there had been an extensive book market in Rome. Slaves and freed slaves produced books for private patrician households. As the production of Roman books became systematized, the first “publishing houses” came into existence, for example Atticus, who published Cicero’s works, among others. Several names of booksellers have also been recorded from Roman antiquity: The brothers Sosius, for example, by Seneca.