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In 92 A.D. , Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus was a consul in Rome, and was in charge of all public buildings. Between either 105-106 or 106-107 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) for his father. It is assumed that the construction of the library was completed in 117.
The building is made of very good marble and decorated with figures of Eros, Nike, rosettes and garlands in relief . The building reflects the characteristics of the age of Emperor Hadrian. The facade is two-storeyed. On the lower storey, the columns with Corinthian capitals are placed on a 21 meters long podium reached by nine steps. The columns are arranged in pairs and between them there are three doors with richly decorated frames. The door in the middle is wider and taller than the other two.
Statues seen in the niches between the doors, are copies of the originals which were taken to Vienna during the years when the library was being excavated. As the inscriptions on the bases indicate, the statues symbolized the WISDOM (SOPHIA), KNOWLEDGE (EPISTEME), INTELLIGENCE (ENNOIA) and VIRTUE (ARETE) of Celsus.