The Library of Celsus

The Library of Celsus is one of the surviving samples of the Roman Empire libraries and an architectural masterpiece that twelve thousand scrolls were on its shelves once. It was built for the memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus by his son Gaius Julius Aquila as a public library for Ephesians.


The library was 180 square meters that contains Celsus’s marble-decorated tomb in the cellar. Female statues of personifications of virtues -Sophia (wisdom), Episteme (knowledge), Ennoia (intelligence), Arete (excellence)- are giving the message that the man whom the library was built for have those virtues and points out that the visitors can gain them by reading the library’s resources. However, a statue of Celsus which was located on the second level of the facade once can be seen in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. It portrayed Celsus in the military garments that may underline that his descendants are proud of his military career because the library construction ended after he passed away.


The earthquakes and fire inflicted serious damage to the library but yet its ruins which reach today have a stunning and iconic view.