Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Koraes library’s holds several other collections, namely

Άλλες Συλλογές
  • Manuscripts
  • Old and rare editions
  • Newspapers, journals and periodicals
  • Memento, heirlooms, medals and coins
  • Sea shell collection and a collection of metals from the island of Chios
  • Historic and topographic maps

One of the most invaluable treasures of the Central public and historic library of Chios is its manuscript collection. Its worth is measured not only by the number of manuscripts (the Kavvadas collection alone consists of 1673 manuscripts) but also by the importance of their content and that of their authors. Koraes’ manuscripts are the jewel of this collection. They consist of translations, annotations and commentaries (mainly of a linguistic, grammatical, historical, mythological and geographical nature) on ancient authors, medieval texts and other manuscripts which belonged to Koraes. This collection also contains dictionaries, anthologies, notes and statements, Koraes autobiography as well as theological writings. Finally there is an impressive collection of letters written by G. Koressis, Ioakim Phoropoulos, Neophytos Vamvas, Kall. Kreatsoulas, Alexander Vlastos, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, Andreas Mamoukas, I. Andreadis, G. Sourias, K. Kondos, Ioannis Psycharis, K. Karatheodoris, Gr. Photeinos and many others.
Additionally, the manuscript collection holds important documents from the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Ephorate of Orthodox Schools of Chios, the Consulate, several key institutions of the island (such as the Council of Elders, the Hospital Committee, the Leprosarium of Chios, the Court of First Instance and the Court of Commerce), etc.
The manuscripts belonging to the Council of Elders as well as the notary codes of various villages (the library currently possesses some 100 notary codes whereas the Historical Archives of Chios possess another 1,200 codes) merit a special note. The Historical Archives are also housed in the library’s building and have one of the oldest codes, i.e. the St. George of Sykousi Code, which extends from 1518 to 1846). Notary codes are made of wills and testamentary dispositions, contracts and agreements, balance sheets, notices of sale, renting agreements, bonds, powers of attorney, receipts, insurance policies, etc. All these documents provide valuable information regarding the island’s self-governance during the ottoman occupation, the history and evolution of law, agricultural production, money circulation, household economics, the use of langue, place-naming, etc. This is an unparallel historical source for anyone interested in matters pertaining to the public and private life of the islanders and demonstrates Greek continuity on the island.

Old and rare editions
Παλαιές και σπάνιες εκδόσειςKoraes Library was fortunate to receive donations from several eminent intellectuals and wealthy merchants of Chios. These donations consisted of books, some of which are old and rare editions. Koraes’ books, dating before 1833, that is the year of his death, are a priceless collection. The oldest of all books is the history of medicine, written in Latin. This book was published in 1493, namely a few years after the invention of modern book printing. The I. Andreadis collection constitutes an impressive selection of rare editions of ancient and Byzantine authors. St. Kavvadas catalogue mentions 53 books published prior to 1600, 100 volumes published during the 17th century and 367 books published during the 18th century. Another priceless collection is that of Philip Argenti. Researchers will discover 33 books published during the 16th century, 122 books that date back to the 17th century, 118 books that were published during the 18th century and 694 books printed during the 19th century. These books are related to the island of Chios and provide direct or indirect references to it. This is particularly true in the case of books written by people who visited Chios in order to discover the beauties of the island. These titles amount to an impressive 205 books, some of which are extremely rare and unique titles that bear the coat of arms of reputable publishing houses. To quote Argenti: “most of the books that belong to the collection dedicated to Chios are extremely rare, were published during the century of the invention of [book] printing and were made available by famous houses which made history in the printing and publishing business.” [Our translation] The books’ binding is also worth mentioning, mainly because the covers are made of luxurious material and are particularly artistic. These priceless collections need to be preserved and made known publicly. They constitute an invaluable source for researchers and can contribute in promoting science and the arts thus paying tribute to their donators.

Newspapers, journals and periodicalsΕφημερίδες - Περιοδικά
Newspapers, journals and periodicals make up for another interesting collection. There is an almost complete selection of newspapers and periodicals issued on the island or published elsewhere by people originated from Chios Finally, the collection holds several other publications. It is worth stressing that Chios’ first printing facility was founded in 1819 and was operating from the Historical Middle School of Chios. The first document to have been printed was a newspaper. Well-renowned periodicals, some of which were published for a long time whereas others were short-lived, included the following: Chiakon Mouseion, To Chiakon Imerologion, I Sphinx, To Nisi, I Chiaki Epitheorisi, etc. Among the most important newspapers, one can identify Amalthia (1832-1922) published in Smyrna, Neologos tis Konstantinoupolis, Ethniki, Elpis, Panxhiaki (printed in Chios as of 1908), Nea Chios and others. The library is still in the process of collecting more issues of these newspapers and periodicals because they are an integral part of our contemporary history.

Mementos, heirlooms, medals and coins
Ενθυμήματα - κειμήλια μετάλλια - νομίσματαHeirlooms and personal items of an unquestionable artistic and historic value are included in the library’s treasures. This particular collection is made of diplomas, medals, distinctions, office equipment, precious miniatures and other objects. All the items are kept in various rooms throughout the library and belonged to eminent public figures and intellectuals such as Adamantios Koraes, Leonis Kalvokoresis, Ioannis Psycharis, Konstantinos Amantos, Georgios Theotokas, the Argenti family and others.
The first flag to have been raised in Chios during its liberation day (on November 11, 1912) as well as a piece of the historical flag of the 23th Regiment of Chios which fought in the 1940 war are among the treasures of this collection. The curious visitor will be happy to discover a porcelain candleholder offered to Koraes by his friends to keep him “company during his sleepless nights of studying” as well as Georgios Theotokas’ ink holder, Psycharis’ clock, and Eustratios Argenti’s Russian silver cross that dates back to the 17th century. Additionally, Koraes Library is the proud owner of Eustratios Argenti medals. Eustratios Argenti was a national hero and a personal friend of Righas Velestinlis. Finally, the collection comprises an ivory-bound bible, a series of miniatures which belonged to the Argenti family, coins engraved with the coat of arms of several Venetian Dons as well as several other mementos of unquestionable historic value.
Finally, the library possesses Sp. Argyropoulos’ coin collection, namely a series of 188 Ancient, Byzantine and more contemporary coins, an 8th century lead stamp and six medals.

Sea shell and coin collectionsΣυλλογή κοχυλιών - Συλλογή Χιακών Μετάλλων
John Quintana’s Mediterranean sea shell collection was donated to Koraes Library by Quintana’ himself in 1901. Quintana served as Director of the British Telegraph Office of Chios. The collection is kept in a special case located at the Entrance of the library. It represents a rare and beautiful arrangement of species and colours.
At the beginning of the 20th century, G. Kaloutas created a collection of metals from various areas of Chios which he later donated to Koraes Library. Kaloutas also wrote a detailed report on the oryctological make up of Chios. The collection is preserved in two special cases kept in the library’s reading room.

Historic and topographic maps
Ιστορικοί και Τοπογραφικοί πίνακεςThese maps belong to Philip Argenti’s personal collection and are arranged by subject matter. They are hung at the entrance of the library, along the staircase and the upper floor’s hall way. They refer to the history of Chios and provide a geographical, topographical and historic overview of the island between the 14th and the 19th century. Older maps are handmade or consist of old paintings that offer a topographical depiction of the city of Chios, the castle and Kampos (Chios’ plane). These maps and paintings represent scenes and persons directly linked with the history of the island during the ottoman occupation. The also depict the coat of arms of Chios’ most prominent families. The oil paintings that represent the Massacre of Chios in 1822 are particularly impressive. Their artistic value is enhanced by their magnificent frames. However, the collections’ historical significance is priceless since it provides direct testimony on how the island and its landmarks looked like during the previous centuries. Some of these monuments have been destroyed since.