Ancient languages and literature account for a collection currently estimated as containing 60 000 volumes. The old collections in this field were substantial - in 1920, Greek and Latin philology represented 32 444 titles in the library's catalogue.

The other ancient languages and literature (Semitic languages, Sanskrit, Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian languages, etc) represented 12 351 titles, which demonstrates the importance of the BNU's heritage collections in this field, which should be seen in the more general context of its collections on the study of ancient history.

Current acquisitions

Although the proportion this field represents in the total collections has naturally decreased during the twentieth century, the BNU currently subscribes to 53 periodicals (85% of which are published outside France) and purchases about 130 monographs each year (37% of which are from outside France).

The BNU also offers its readers access to 14 databases and online periodicals.

Although Greek and Latin language and literature predominate recent acquisitions, languages and literature of the ancient Near East are still important.

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