This article tests the suggestion made by the first-century CE Greek geographer Strabo that the philosopher Aristotle was the first person to systematically organize a library, and that this classification influenced the arrangement of books in the libraries of early Greek Alexandria. It broadly examines Aristotle’s classifications and systematizing activities, and sets Aristotelian methods of knowledge organization against his Greek predecessors. It outlines what we know about Aristotle’s library, and how it might have differed from other collections of books owned by his contemporaries. It then surveys several ways Aristotelian arrangements may have posthumously exerted influence over cultural institutions in Alexandria in the late fourth and early third centuries BCE. The libraries studied are state-sponsored, private, and institutional collections. Definitive conclusions cannot be drawn due to a paucity of evidence, but the article argues that Aristotelian structures of knowledge could have had a profound effect on a nascent library culture that continues to have resonances in the ways libraries are organized today.

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