About the Exhibition
In 1512, at a period in which the number of manuscripts copied into the Armenian language was relatively low, Hakob Meghapart (Jacob the Sinner) created the first Armenian press in Venice, Italy. There he published the first printed Armenian book, the Urbatagirk‘ (The Book of Fridays), which inaugurated what became a rich printed literary tradition. Although initially concentrated on the production of religious texts, printing in the Armenian language led to an enlightenment beginning in the seventeenth century and a rebirth of Armenian scholarship in history, literature, science, and geography.
This exhibition honors the 500th anniversary of the first printed Armenian book and the decision by UNESCO to designate Yerevan, the capital of the Republic of Armenia, as its World Book Capital 2012. These objects from the Armenian collections of the Library of Congress have been chosen to illustrate the Armenian literary tradition. To Know Wisdom and Instruction celebrates that tradition, as well as the growing role of the Near East Section at the Library of Congress as a major research center for scholars who study the Armenian people and their neighbors.