Photos

Photographer's Note

I first saw a shot of the Library of Celsus and the Gate of Mazeus and Mithradates on TN around 4 years ago and thought “I must go and see that someday”. Well earlier this year my dream came true and I arrived at Ephesus on a beautiful winter’s day. I was one of the first people into the complex and thus had the library to myself, a fantastic experience. Later, hoards of tourists streamed in and out of this beautiful ruin like ants, quite amusing to watch. I know this ruin has appeared on TN many times, but this is my version, thanks for looking.

This library is one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus. It was built in 117 A.D. It was a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the governor of the province of Asia; from his son Galius Julius Aquila. The grave of Celsus was beneath the ground floor, across the entrance and there was a statue of Athena over it.

The scrolls of the manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches on the walls. There were double walls behind the bookcases to prevent the them from the extremes of temperature and humidity. The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls. It was the third richest library in ancient times after the Alexandra and Pergamum. The reading room was destroyed by fire in the 4th C and the façade collapsed during an earthwauke in the 10th C.

The facade of the library has two-stories, with Corinthian style columns on the ground floor and three entrances to the building. There is three windows openings in the upper story. They used an optical trick that the columns at the sides of the facade are shorter than those at the centre, giving the illusion of the building being greater in size.

The statues in the niches of the columns today are the copies of the originals. The statues symbolize wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valor (Arete). These are the virtues of Celsus. The library was restored with the aid of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the originals of the statues were taken to Ephesus Museum in Vienna in 1910.

There was an auditorium ,which was for lectures or presentations between the library and the Marble Road, was built during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.

The gate with three passage ways at the right of the Celsus Library was built in 40 A.D by the slaves Mazeus and Mythridates for their emperor, Augustus, who gave them their freedom.

The passages are vaulted, the front side of the vault facing the Celsus Library is made of black marble, while the other side is white. A Latin inscription with inlaid letters made of bronze is still visible on one side of the structure. Part of the inscription states: "From the Emperor Caesar Augustus, the son of the god, the greatest of the priests, who was consul twelve and tribune twenty times; and the wife of August Livia; the son of Lucus, Marc Agrippa who was consul three times, Emperor, and tribune six times; and the daughter of Julio Caesar Augustus, Mazeus and Mythridates to their master and the people."

The small area in front of the gate was used as an auditorium. The steps around the gate, in front of the library and the round pedestal were used as seats. In Byzantine Period, the walls in the small area were built when the city walls were reduced in length.

Reference: Ephesus

asajernigan, Clementi, jhm, danos, arnie, lousat, vasilpro has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 1260
Points: 28
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Chris Chafer (sandpiper) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 778 W: 89 N: 1202] (6788)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH