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The Library


The library found in the villa, similarly to other contemporary Roman libraries both public and private, was organized in two main sections, one Greek, the other Roman.

The most important Greek text uncovered thus far is Epicurus’ De Natura known to have been originally composed in 37 books but otherwise lost. The Herculaneum papyri, however, have significant passages of this work from books 2, 11, 14, 15, 25, 28 & 35 to name only the most extensive. In addition, works of the first generation of Epicureans such as Colote, Polistrato and Carneisco as well as those who came slightly later including Demetrius Laco and most importantly Philodemus have appeared. Indeed, the library primarily consists of the works of Philodemus, who is believed to be the architect of the entire collection. Philodemus’ opus spans a wide range of topics including the history of philosophy, poetics, rhetoric, music, ethics, logic and theology. Some Stoic treatise have also been found, in particular various works by Crisippus on logic and theology.

The Villa of the Papryi has also yielded some 100 fragments of Latin texts, which can be reconstructed in approximately 50 rolls. The technical advances of the past few years combined with the exhaustive research of Kleve have identified fragments of Ennius’ Annales, The Usurer a comedy by Cecilius Statius and perhaps the second book of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. The best preserved Latin text contains approximately 70 hexameters on Octavian’s victory over Antony. Another two rolls appear to preserve an Oratia in Senatu habita ante principem of 27 BC and a Oratio iudicaria.