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Ephesus, Library of Celsus

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Ephesus (modern Selçuk): ancient Greek town in western Turkey, one of the largest and best excavated cities of the ancient world.

The façade of the Library of Celsus

The library of Celsus, one of the most famous monument in Ephesus. Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus had been tribune in the Fourth Legion Scythica, was consul in 92, and governor of Asia in 106-107, but never saw the building, which was erected by his son Gaius Julius Aquila after his death in 110. The library contained 12,000 scrolls.

In the façade, one can see several statues: allegorically, they embody the Celsus' qualities, Sophia (wisdom), Arete (character), Ennoia (judgment), and Episteme (expertise). The choice is not very surprising: any Roman official would have claimed to possess these virtues. The original statues are now in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna.

The fact that Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus was buried in the library, close to the market, is remarkable: this was an honor fitted for the founder of a city.