Library of Celsus at Ephesos
W. Alzinger, "Ephesos vom Beginn der römischen Herschaft in Kleinasien bis zum Ende der Principatszeit," ANRW II.7.2 (1980) 786ff., 822ff.
*B. Fehr, "Archäologen, Techniker, Industrielle. Betrachtungen zur Wiederaufstellung der Bibliothek des Celsus in Ephesos," Hephaistos 3 (1981) 107-125. On the reconstruction.
*Götze 232ff. Quite good; taken into account by the final excavation report (FE V/1; Wilberg below).
*F. Hueber, V.M. Strocka, "Die Bibliothek des Celsus. Eine Prachtfassade in Ephesos und das Problem ihrer Wiederaufrichtung," AW 6 (1975) 3ff.
*Vedat Idil. "Die römischen Bibliotheken in Kleinasian: die Celsusbibliothek in Ephesos und die Bibliothek in Nysa," in 100 Jahre Österreichische Forschungen in Ephesos pp. 437-441. Surprisingly amateurish. The 3rd volume of the same book contains the complete, updated plans for the city, which is of course quite useful.
Karwiese, Artemis von Ephesos 72f. [Cannot locate; cited in Idil]
F. Pesando, "Le Biblioteche," Archeo 124 (1995) 90ff. [Cannot locate; cited in Idil]
V. M. Strocka, "Zur Datierung der Celsusbibliothek" in Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Classical Archaeology 1973 (1978) 893ff.
H. Vetters. Several years of annual reports on the Ephesos excavations and restoration in the 1970s ("Vorläufiger Grabungsbericht"). In JÖAI. The original excavation reports will be found in ÖJh 7 and 8 (194, 1905), by R. Heberdey; and on the front, W. Wilberg, "Die Fassade der Bibiliothek in Ephesus," ÖJh 11 (1908) 118ff.
*W. Wilberg, et al. Forschungen in Ephesos V 1 (Österreichischen Archäologischen Institut Wien, 1953). Report of the original excavators. This entire volume is devoted to the library, and is the principal source of hard data. This is the fundamental work.
Circumstances of construction
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."
Note the fasces, statues of riders on either side, armed military statue, etc. that bespeak the celebration of the consular and proconsular honors of man and family.
21 m long, >16m high, nine steps, vestibule 2.4 m deep, 3 pairs of columns positioned to accommodate doors; central door the widest.
Above the doors was some sort of window, as is clear from the remains of the edges of the space. The pattern in the reconstruction reflects the pattern of fragments of a stone grating that was discovered (FE V.i p. 24). Which story or stories the fragments come from) is not definitively known, but there are other remains of a similar opening, without grating, that fit better the upper story (FE I.i p. 32). Thus, the hypothesis of a grated window below of .9 x 1.9 m, and a larger opening on the second story of 2.1 high (fixed by a fragment) x ca 1.45 m wide (a guess) seems reasonable. No glass remains. the openings seem designed so that the door illuminates the first floor, the window above the door the second floor, and the upper story window the third floor (for relationship of 2-story facade to 3-story interior, see FE V.i p. 36).
Four statues were found that belong to the facade. From the inscriptions, we know these to be depictions of Sophia of Celsus, Arete of Celsus, Ennoia of Philip (!), and Episteme of Celsus. (Philip is a mystery; the editors of FE guess the architect.) These stood in the niches on the lower story. Also found were statues of a bearded man in military dress (Celsus?), and a tragic Muse (Melpomene). The placement of these is uncertain; perhaps the upper story, perhaps not.
Bookcases are 1.06/1.07 m along back wall; slightly wider on side walls (1.2 m flanked by 1.15 m); in all cases .57 m deep and 2.55 m high. Note that the position of the bookcases, behind the pillars, would have been very inconvenient from the point of view of light. It's also very striking how few there are: in a space of 10.9 x 16.7 m, only 10 bookcases are accommodated. The design ensures that the wall niches are not on the exterior, probably as a protection against dampness. But it also means that the access to the upper stories is rather roundabout. There were access doors to these back passageways on the north and south walls directly inside the entrance at the east.
According to Götze's calculations, the 30 bookcases held about 12,000 rolls (for details see FE V/1 p. 82).
The bookcases were elevated from the main ground floor by a podium .94 m elevated from the ground (see FE V.i p. 34, 37). This podium was hollow, probably as an insulation against the damp. The interior columns stood upon this podium, at the edge. There are no remains of steps, thus the interior space seems deliberately designed to be segregated from access to the book cabinets; access then is controlled along the wings of the colonnade, even for the ground floor. (Though that too is not quite certain; probably the access was at the entrance, but the stairs do not remain and may have been wooden.)
That there were bookcases immediately above those on the ground floor is inferred from the area where the upper story remains sufficiently intact, to the right and left of the apse (FE V.i p. 33, p. 2).
That there was a staircase in one of the back passages (see the main plan) is a guess; no remains. That the apse was intended for a colossal statue is only supposition; in any case, it's clear that no such statue was ever placed; the floor of the apse is roughly finished, and there is no suitable base prepared for such a statue (FE V.i. p. 39). But there may well have been an altar and a painted portrait (p. 82).Locale and context
Next to the agora, just outside the South Gate of the market. In this area were other structures (Nymphaion, the later Auditorium) which may (also) have served as monuments to heroized citizens. Next to the library, an auditorium (so named in an inscription) was later built, date uncertain.
Idil (whose article is full of erroneous data in the general summary of libraries) supposes that the architecture is influenced by that at both Pergamon and Alexandria (though how to know, when Alexandria doesn't survive, is hard to say!).