Building upon the insights of historians of rhetoric and architecture, this study examines the Celsus Library at Ephesus through the lenses of literacy studies and hegemony. By drawing on first-hand observations of the extant structure and historical studies that re-create its original appearance and relationship with its architectural context, the author speculates on the uses and functions of the library during the early second century CE. While the library's elite patrons experienced its instrumental impact, passersby from all levels of society witnessed the building's hegemonic display of Rome's cultural and political power.

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