History is one of the larger sections of the Library as it covers not only the history of Greece but also of the neighboring countries and nations. The history of Greece incorporates the following sections and covers the chronological periods until the present time.
The Byzantine history collection ranges from rare editions of early texts to the most recent studies. These include the standard editions of the Byzantine historians, the so-called Bonn Corpus and the new international Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae, as well as important patristic, hagiographic, and documentary texts. Volumes of Acta from the International Byzantine Congresses and periodicals such as Byzantinische Zeitschrift and Revue des Etudes Byzantines complete the collection and keep it up to date.
The “Eastern Question”
Gennadius had a very extensive and comprehensive collection of pamphlets, review articles and other treatises on the most intractable problem of 19th-century European diplomacy. The Eastern Question started in 1774 with the Kutchuk-Kainardji treaty between Russia and Turkey and ended in 1923 with the treaty of Lausanne. In between those years some of the most important events in world history and international relations took place: the Napoleonic wars, the Greek War of Independence, the Crimean War, World War I.
War of Independence
The section on the War of Independence (1821-1829) contains a wide variety of works, including eyewitness accounts of many participants, Greeks and Philhellenes alike. Among the Greek works the memoirs of Kolokotrones and Makriyannis are outstanding, and among the Philhellenes, Lester Stanhope, Samuel G. Howe, and James Emerson. The Library also contains many pamphlets addressing the critical period of the struggle for independence, from both Greece and other countries. In addition to the material that deals with the historical facts, this section also includes information about the Philhellenic movement, diplomatic transactions, biographies, cartography, pictorial representations and memorials, poetic, dramatic and romantic works on the War and manuscripts.
The Kingdom of Greece
Gennadius put under this heading all publications dealing with the history of Greece after it became an independent state, its political institutions, and its government. This section also cotnains a very good collection of laws and statutes of several organisations and institutions, dating approximately from the middle of the nineteenth century and on until the first three decades of the twentieth century.
History of Neighboring Countries
Publications and other materials on the history of neighboring countries are organized geographically, with subsections on the Balkans, the history of the Jews, the history of the Near East and Turkish history.The collection of Turkish history has close to 1500 entries, and it is significant that sixteen of the Library’s earliest printed books (1470-1500) are related to Turkish affairs.