LIBRARY OF CELCUS
The Library of Celsus is the most wellknown ancient structure which is thought to represent Ephesus. The library has a two-storey façade, and interior areas. İnside, there is large room with dimensions of 10.90 to 16.70 meters. This room is above the vaulted substructure. The building was surrounded by an additional wall which provides protection from moisture.
With a close look to the library structure, there can be seen two rows of niches located on the inner side walls and rear wall of the building. Originally there was a third third row as archeologists say. The manuscripts were used to be stored on shelves which were placed in these niches. The largest, central niche, was being used as the base of the statue of Goddess Athena.
Two-storey structure was supported by four pairs of columns. The entrance to the building was used to be provided between these colums. At the second floor three windows were illuminating the reading room. İt is thoughtthat the statues at the façade of the Library building represent the Four Virtues, which are; Wisdom, Bravery, Knowledge, Thought.
The Library of Celsus is named to honor Julius Celsus Polemaenus, who was governing Asia Minor district of Rome in the 2nd century AD. His sarcophagus where he was buried, is under the library. The construction of the building was between 110 AD & 135 AD. The library is a kind of mausoleum which was donated to Julius Aquila Polemaeanus by his son.
There was an important fire at around 400 AD, which burned & ruined the interior but left the façade of the structure undamaged. It is not known that after about 400 AD the structure didn't function as a library. A pool was built in front of the facede of the building. Big reliefs about the victory of Marcus Aurelius over the Parthians had been unerathed at the pool area. Most of them are now being exhibited in a museum in Vienna. Some original fragments and replicas of the Monument are exhibited in the Ephesus Museum in Selçuk.
During the reconstruction the façade of the library was added original fragments that were found during excavations. The first reconstruction was conducted in the years 1970-1978 by Germans. The fragments excavated by Austrian archaeologists in the beginning of the 20th century were used to restore the building. Some of these fragments had been bought by the museums in Istanbul and in Vienna. These missing elements were replaced by copies. The most important ones of the missing coğies which are in Vienna Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum), are the statues of the Four Virtues.
Above are the photos of the four Virtues in a slight show.
Click on the links below for other pages of Ephesus
Ephesus & Christianity