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Ephesus (Turkey)...Celsus Library

Date of Origin: "The library serves as a grave monument, rather like many churches, and in the tradition of the entombing of heroes and celebratory family monuments. At the back right of the monument is the entrance into a sepuchral chamber that contained the remains of Celsus. The library is dedicated by Ti. Iulius Aquila (cos. 110) to his father Ti. Iulius Celsus Polemaeanus (cos. 92, procos. Asia 106, native of Asia, presumably of Ephesos). When the library was completed is not known, but prob. Hadrianic. (115 to 150 are the range of dates proposed; but even later is possible for the completion.) The original editors suppose that Celsus was voted heroic honors, and for that reason a spot close to the city agora was allowed for "hê Celsianê bibliothêkê.""
source: Library of Celsus at Ephesos--accessed25sep10

Date of Destruction: "With a few centuries of its construction a fire destroyed the reading room and the library fell into disuse. Around 400 AD, the courtyard below the exterior steps was converted into a pool. The facade collapsed in an earthquake in the 10th century. The Library of Celsus was raised from the rubble to its present splendid state by F. Hueber of the Austrian Archaeological Institute between 1970 and 1978."
source: Sacred Destinations--accessed25sep10

"The library was burned down totally approximately in the 3rd century. The front wall was not destroyed totally. It was restored after the disaster and a small pool was constructed right in front of the building. These restorations were done roughly in the 4th century."
source: Focus Mediterannean Online Magazine--accessed25sep10

"The interior of the library was burned during a Goth invasion in 262 AD, and in the 10th century, an earthquake brought down the facade. The building we see today was carefully restored by the Austrian Archaeological Institute."

Size: 12-15,000 volumes

Date of Excavation: 1903
source: Lora Lee Johnson, The Hellenistic and Roman Library: Studies Pertaining to Their Architectural Form, p. 11.
Miscellaneous: Directly across the courtyard from the Library of Celsus was the Ephesus town brothel. Engravings in the marble street pavement show the way. The left foot and the woman's figure indicate that the brothel is on the left side of the road.
The building is important as one of few remaining examples of an ancient Roman-influenced library. It also shows that public libraries were built not only in Rome itself but throughout the Roman Empire. In a massive restoration which is considered to be very true to the historic building, the front façade was rebuilt and now serves as a prime example of Roman public architecture.

The Library of Celsus may serve as a model for other, less well preserved, libraries elsewhere in the Empire, for it is possible that literary collections were housed in other Roman cities for the benefit of students as well as traveling Romans. Such libraries may also have housed collections of local documents of interest if they were not destroyed during the Roman conquest. Verulamium (St Albans) and Caesaromagus (Chelmsford) are reputed to have been sites of such Roman libraries.

The edifice is a single hall that faces east toward the morning sun, as Vitruvius advised, to benefit early risers. The library is built on a platform, with nine steps the full width of the building leading up to three front entrances. The center entrance is larger than the two flanking ones, and all are adorned with windows above them. Flanking the entrances are four pairs of Ionic columns elevated on pedestals. A set of Corinthian columns stands directly above the first set, adding to the height of the building. The pairs of columns on the second level frame the windows as the columns on the first level frame the doors, and they also create niches that would have housed statues. It is thought there may have been a third set of columns, but today there are only two registers of columns.

This type of facade with inset frames and niches for statues is similar to that found in ancient Greek theaters (the stage building behind the orchestra, or skene) and is thus characterized as "scenographic".

The building's other sides are irrelevant architecturally because the library was flanked by buildings.

The inside of the building, not fully restored, was a single rectangular room (55 feet (17 m) wide by 36 feet (11 m) long) with a central apse framed by a large arch at the far wall. A statue of Celsus or of Athena, goddess of truth, stood in the apse[1], and Celsus’ tomb lay directly below in a vaulted chamber. Along the other three sides were rectangular recesses that held cupboards and shelves for the 12,000 scrolls. Celsus was said to have left a legacy of 25,000 denarii to pay for the library's reading material.

The second and third levels could be reached via a set of stairs built into the walls to add support to the building and had similar niches for scrolls. The ceiling was flat, and there may have been a central square oculus to provide more light.

The style of the library, with its ornate, balanced, well-planned façade, reflects the Greek influence on Roman architecture. The building materials, brick, concrete, and mortared rubble, signify the new materials that came into use in the Roman Empire around the 2nd century C.E.

The building's façade was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001-2005[2] and of the 20 new lira banknote of 2005-2009.
source: Wikipedia--accessed25sep10

source: Library of Celsus at Ephesos--accessed25sep10

source: Helen Betts; accessed from Sacred Destinations--accessed25sep10
Nysa (Turkey)...Library
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