Friday, January 10, 2014

Ephesus - toilets, brothels and the Celcus Library

What a juxtaposition, eh? Apparently there was more public discourse going on in the public toilets than occurs nowadays.

This is the male toilet:

OK, for something more elevated, it's impossible to beat the Library of Celcus, built in 125 AD in memory of a Greek governor of Roman Asia and was built by his personal wealth by his son; he's buried beneath it. It once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. Pretty much only the facade has been reconstructed, but what a facade it is! According to a sign at the site, the Library was built into a narrow gap between other buildings, so the architect tried to give the facade monumentality by playing with perspective. The columns, capitals and architraves on the outside edges are smaller than the ones in the middle so they appear to be more distant. And as in a lot of Greek temples, the horizontal seams are given a curvature:

Above is the photo from 1990 (as if you couldn't tell from the handful of people there...). You can see from the 2013 photo below that a little work's been done on the Gate of Augustus to the right:

The Augustus Gate, built in 40 AD by two slaves Augustus had freed:

The facade from inside the Gate of Augustus:

The underside of the porch of the library:

One of several statues set into niches in the porch:

Interior of the library, which was a couple of stories tall originally:

There are rumors that there was a tunnel linking the Library to the nearby brothel so that the patrons could claim to be just going the library... Anyway, in a nearby street, there's a footprint and a heart to direct visitors who might otherwise not know where to find the brothel:

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