Seniors, Let’s Check Out a Library


I have my coffee, do you have your’s?  We’re going to visit a library this morning, senior friends. This library is unlike any other in the entire world. It is called the Library of Celsus. Ever heard of it? Nope, this senior hadn’t heard of it either.

Picked by CNN as one great place to visit, the Library of Celsus is an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Anatolia. Christians know about Ephesus… Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the Bible.

The Story: In 92 A.D., Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus was a consul in Rome, and was in charge of all public buildings. Sometime between 105 and 107 A.D. he was the proconsul (governor) of the Asian province, the capital of which was Ephesus. When he died in 114 A.D. at the age of seventy, his son Tiberius Julius Aquila, built the library as a heroon (mausoleum) in honor of his father, a wealthy and popular local citizen.

The facade of the Library of Celsus is one of the most spectacular sights in Ephesus. It faces east so the reading rooms received the morning light. In the land that is now Turkey, a wide marble road slopes down to this, one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. Early on, Ephesus was a coastal city with a population of 1/4 million.


The library was built to store scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits, so this was a special honor for Celsus. I always felt that I was “buried in a library too”… during grad school at Ohio State.

 Seniors…Greek City, Roman City, Important City

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire, ranking behind Rome, the empire’s capital.

This library is one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus. The grave of Celsus was beneath the ground floor, across the entrance and there was a statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, over it.


The scrolls of the manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches on the walls. There were double walls behind the bookcases to protect from the extremes of temperature and humidity. The capacity of the two-story library was more than 12,000 hand-written scrolls. It was the third richest library in ancient times after Alexandra and Pergamum.

The facade of the library has two-stories, with Corinthian style columns on the ground floor and three entrances to the building. Senior visitors will discover that the Library of Celsus was remarkable not only for its size and its beauty, but also for its clever and efficient design. jeb


  1. Burak says:

    Really greatly written article. We hope everyone will have the chance to visit this library once in their life.

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