December 03, 2012
When I travel, whether near or far, I always try to find the local library.
During a recent trip to Turkey, I visited the ancient city of Ephesus. Excavation of this 5,000 year old city began in 1869 and is still going on today. They estimate that only 10% of the city, which was once home to over 250,000 people, has been unearthed. The Celsus Library is one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus.
As I stood before it, I was in awe of the beauty and the history of it, and I wondered whose footsteps had passed these same marble streets I was walking on. The library was built of marble in 117 A.D. as a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the governor of the province of Asia, by his son Galius Julius Aquila. The grave of Celsus is beneath the ground floor, and across the entrance is a statue of Athena the goddess of wisdom. Scrolls of the manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches in the walls. There were double walls behind the cupboards to prevent the scrolls from the extreme temperatures and humidity. The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls; it was the third largest library in ancient times after Alexandra and Pergamum. There are three entrances with statues in each niche by the doors. These statues are copies of the originals, which were taken to Vienna during the excavation. The statues symbolize the virtues of Celsus, wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia), and valor (Arete).
So, whether you travel near or far, always try and find the local library. You never know what treasure you might find there.
Blue Springs South Branch