UCL News


Gift will make historic Greek manuscripts accessible to all

29 November 2012

A grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will create an online digital library containing rare books and art works related to Greek history and culture which will be available to everyone, across the world.

The first printed edition of Euclid, translated by Adelardus of Bath and with the commentary of Novarese.

For the first time, hundreds of key texts by the notable Greek mathematician, Euclid will be made available to all.  Other materials will include copies of early Greek bibles, illustrations and plaster models created by John Flaxman, a key figure in the development of British Neo-classicism and excavation reports from Greek and Roman archaeological sites.

The material on the Digital Library website will be accompanied by information and commentary written by UCL academics to enhance engagement and understanding. The digital capture and curation proposed will allow wider, easier, long-term access to these extraordinary materials which will benefit UCL staff, students, scholars from the international community, school children and the general public.

In particular, widening access to these materials for scholars will yield more interdisciplinary and innovative research projects and more unique research papers. The new digital library will create a virtual community of scholars and interested individuals and therefore encourage debate. UCL plans to work closely with partners like the British Library and the Institute of Classical Studies to share this new resource as widely as possible.

The material will also be used by UCL and other universities in schools to inspire children and young people to take an interest in subjects like Ancient History and enhance their understanding of the unique opportunities university provides. Members of the public across the world will have online access to hundreds of fascinating texts and artworks at the touch of a button.

Dr Stelios Vasilakis, Senior Program Officer for Strategy & Initiatives at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, said: "The grant reflects the Foundation's commitment to educational projects that can benefit as wide of an audience as possible. We are very pleased that our support will help create a digital library, making a large number of rare books and artefacts accessible to scholars, students and the general public alike."

Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services, said: "When Euclid was alive, only a tiny number of people would have been privileged enough to read his works. Today, thanks to the generosity of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, we are able to make these available for the whole world. I am very much looking forward to working with the Foundation to create this wonderful new resource for everyone who is passionate about Greek history and culture the world over."

About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of the world's leading international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects that exhibit strong leadership and sound management and are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive social impact. The Foundation also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as effective means for serving public welfare.

Media Contact: Ed Nash

Image caption: The first printed edition of Euclid, translated by Adelardus of Bath and with the commentary of Novarese.