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The Library of The Speros Basil Vryonis Center
for the Study of Hellenism

Janet Coles,
The Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism

The Vryonis Center

The Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism is a private, non-profit institute devoted to the study of the historical evolution of Greek civilization. The Center, which was established over 15 years ago, brings together scholars, artists, critics and professionals, who collaborate to promote an international approach to the study and preservation of Greek history and culture, ancient through modern.

The Library

Pivotal to the Center's mission is its Library, which is widely recognized as an important resource for Greek studies. The library's holdings include main collections of monographs and serials; special collections of rare books, manuscripts and artifacts; a non-print media collection, including photographs, videotapes, audio tapes and compact discs, microfilm/fiche, maps, posters and computer software; and a small but important collection of archives. These collections are interdisciplinary in nature, pertaining to Greek, Balkan, Slavic and Middle Eastern history, literature, language, art, anthropology, law, music, philosophy, sociology, economics, political science, religion and folklore.

Main Collection

The main collection numbers about 65,000 volumes at this time. About 30 percent of this collection is in Modern Greek; another 25 percent is in English. About 20 percent is in Slavic languages, including Bulgarian, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian. The rest is in a variety of Western European and Middle Eastern languages, including German, French, Italian, Turkish, Armenian, Persian and Arabic. The collection includes about 650 serial titles, with 143 serials as current subscriptions.

This collection is especially strong in the areas of Byzantine and Ottoman history and civilization, and in the history and culture of the modern Greek state, Cyprus and the Balkans. Special emphasis is also given to the history and culture of Greek Americans and the Greek diaspora in English-speaking countries.

Special Collections

Rare books

The Library's rare book collection is comprised of three main categories of material. The first is early editions in ancient Greek of classical works, including Arrianus' De Expeditione Alexandri (Basel, 1539); Eustathios' Parekvolai eis ten Homerou Iliada kai Odysseian (Basileae, 1560); Homer's Ilias (London, 1591); and a series of critical editions of classical works edited by Adamantios Koraes (dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries). The second is early works in Modern Greek on the Greek War of Independence and the establishment of the modern Greek state. Examples of these include Kodix ton nomon (Hydra, 1824); Andreas Mamoukas, Ta kata ten anagennesin tes Hellados (Peraia, 1839-1852); and Praktika ton synedriaseon tes Voules (Athena, 1846). The third category is best described as ancient Greece and the Levant through modern eyes. Examples of this are Voyages du Chevalier Chardin en Perse (Paris, 1811); William Hamilton, Memorandum on the subject of the Earl of Elgin's pursuits in Greece (London, 1811); and Connop Thirdwall, A history of Greece (London, 1835). The rare book collection numbers about 1500 volumes at this time.

Manuscripts and artifacts

The Library's collection of manuscripts and artifacts has grown substantially in the past three years. Articles from this collection span the entire range of Greek civilization, from antiquity to the present. Examples include an Attic red-figure vase (ca. 400 BC); a bronze winged victory statue (ca. 450-200 BC); an icon of St. Spyridon, from Corfu (ca. 1770-1800); a manuscript in handwritten Ottoman Turkish concerning a legal agreement, signed by the Greek inhabitants of Ottoman Crete (ca. 1890); and a silver-framed photo of Anthony Capodistrias, with his father and mother (ca. 1920).

Non-Print Media

Photographs and videotapes

The photographic material is strongest in the areas of 20th century Greek history, notably Greece during World War II and the Greek Civil War; and the life of Greeks in Asia Minor in this century. The videotape collection is comprised of some 150 videotapes covering various aspects of Greek history and culture. Examples include the In the Paths of the Gods series from Films for the Humanities and Sciences; the Vyzantine Historia collection from the Hidryma Meleton Lamprake in Greece; and various series on modern Greek and Greek American history and culture, including Hellada 1453-1940 from ATG Ltd. in Athens and a series of talk shows profiling the Greek American community in the United States, from GOTelecom.

Audio, microfilm/fiche, maps and posters

Audio resources include recordings of Greek folk music, music from classical Greek composers, church music and liturgical chants, and contemporary Greek popular music. The Library also has a large collection of U.S. dissertations and Greek government documents on microfilm, and classical and Byzantine works on fiche. The map collection includes historical and contemporary maps of Southern and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Cyprus, the Middle East, and Russia. The poster collection consists of some 500 posters, covering themes from ancient Greece to modern Greek political life.

Computer disc

Examples of important resources on computer disc are the Database of Classical Bibliography; the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae; Hagia Sophia (interactive CD-ROM); and the Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries.

Archives

The library's archival collections are strongest in the areas of 20th century Greek and Greek American history and culture. Notable archival holdings include the Basil J. Vlavianos papers, which cover political and social developments in the Greek American community over the past 50 years; the Panhellenic Emergency Committee archives, useful for the study of the Turkish arms embargo of the 1970s and Greek American lobbying activities; and the Costas Couvaras archive, which covers the German occupation of Greece during World War II and the Greek Civil War.

Access

The Library is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. While the library does not lend materials, it makes space available to visitors for research during open hours. In addition, the library catalog will soon be available on the World Wide Web (http://www.glavx.org).

The Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism
3140 Gold Camp Drive, Suite 50
Rancho Cordova, California 95670

[NOTE: The holdings of the former Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism were donated to Sacramento State as the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection (http://library.csus.edu/tsakopoulos/default.asp.htmlExternal link in December 2002.]

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  June 16, 2016
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