- "Can you smell the history, the power here?"
- ―Exar Kun
The Great Jedi Library, also known as the Library of Ossus or as the Great Library of the Jedi, was a massive library complex consisting of several buildings erected by the Jedi Order on the planet Ossus. Commissioned by the Jedi Master Odan-Urr following the Great Hyperspace War, the Draethos Jedi assembled ancient documents and scrolls detailing every detail of sentient history and ingenuity. Home to the Order after leaving their homeworld Tython in the Deep Core, the Great Library became a symbol of the Jedi and the great storehouse of knowledge in the galaxy. Over the ensuing centuries Ossus thrived as the home of Jedi wisdom, encouraging visitors from across the Galactic Republic to visit and study at the archives.
After centuries of peace and growth, the Library was raided by Dark Lord of the Sith Exar Kun and his followers. Storming the Chamber of Antiquities, the Sith stole the forbidden Sith artifact known as the Dark Holocron from Master Odan-Urr before slaying the venerable Jedi. As Kun grew stronger and gathered his forces, the Sith unleashed the devastation of Naga Sadow's ancient battleship, the Corsair, detonating the stars of the nearby Cron Cluster in 3996 BBY.
As the Jedi desperately tried to empty the Library and ship its contents offworld, Kun and his minions returned in a bid to steal the last bits of knowledge from the Jedi. Before long, the world was irradiated by the supernovas, eradicating the planet's major cities and entombing more than half of the Library's knowledge within its halls. The Library stood abandoned for the next three millennia, while the surviving Jedi known as the Ysanna kept constant vigil in the ruined world. The Jedi who had made it offworld transported the surviving artifacts to Coruscant where they would be kept in the new Archives that would serve as a smaller version of the lost Library for centuries. After the planet had gone long without visitors aside from occasional archaeological teams Jedi Luke Skywalker and Kam Solusar rediscovered the world and begun to study the ruins. After several decades more had passed, the Jedi Order returned to the now-habitable planet and established a new academy on the world, erecting a new Archives to replace the Great Library.
Jewel of the Jedi
Following the end of the Great Hyperspace War, Jedi Knight Odan-Urr, a noted Jedi Consular and Lore Keeper returned to the planet of his early training in the Jedi Order under Jedi Master Ooroo. Drawing inspiration from the expansive library found in the Praxeum in Knossa, Odan-Urr began to conceptualize a massive archive of wisdom on the quiet and meditative world of Ossus.
From the days of its foundation, the Library of Ossus contained the culmination of hundreds of generations of knowledge and wisdom. Odan-Urr scoured the galaxy for all attainable knowledge, eventually cataloging what was said to be data on all sentient works and history from the foundation of the Galactic Republic. Containing rare scrolls and hand-written books, many librarians and archivists recorded these text in more secure datacrons and holodiscs in order to ensure their preservation and integrity. Over time, the ever-growing collection was home to many artifacts imbued with the light side of the Force, including holocrons of wise Jedi Masters and ancient weapons. As a historian, Master Odan-Urr understood that it was vital to maintain a comprehensiveness collection of knowledge; to this end he created the Chamber of Antiquities to house objects and talismans tainted with the dark side of the Force. It was in this series of rooms that the Dark Holocron was kept, and like the other things kept in the chamber, accessible only to those with express permission from the Jedi High Council and the Keeper of Antiquities, Odan-Urr himself.
For over a millennium the Library of Ossus continued to grow, becoming a mecca of Jedi learning during the era. Many great Jedi Masters worked and studied within the Library's walls, tending the shelves and teaching future Knights the lessons that the past taught. Force-users from other Force-based religions also frequented the complex, studying alongside their Jedi cousins and other philosophers from around the Republic. Rivaled only by Obroa-skai's Celebratus Archive and the Halls of Knowledge on Phateem, the Great Library was the bright center of knowledge in the galaxy for nearly a thousand years.
Destruction in the Great Sith War
Approximately 4000 BBY the Great Sith War broke out and war came to the Republic. Republic troops were funneled through Ossus and were occasionally staged on the world's surface. During the war, the Library was visited by the Sith Lord Exar Kun, who seduced many young Jedi to the dark side. When he had gathered enough followers, he went to Master Odan-Urr in the Chamber of Antiquities and demanded that he turn over the Dark Holocron. When the ancient Jedi refused, Kun brutally slew him and took the Sith knowledge bank. Thus Odan-Urr died surrounded by the books he loved so much just as his own teacher, Master Ooroo, had predicted.
Soon after, Kun's forces used an ancient Sith weapon aboard the Sith battleship, the Corsair, to unleash a cataclysm that would wreck the surface of Ossus. Within a matter of hours, the Jedi were aware that the destruction of the Cron Cluster by the Sith would create a supernova that would wipe out all life on the world. As special teams of Jedi hastily recorded data and transferred artifacts aboard ships fleeing the system, other Jedi tried to save themselves and the other beings studying on the world. Scrolls, datachips, antique lightsabers, and journals were loaded aboard transports while ancient mosaics and arcades were delicately removed from the floors and walls and placed in precise patterns in the vessels that would ferry them to safety. Despite these heroic efforts, only a fraction of the ancient materials were saved, with the majority of them making it to Exis Station over Teedio where they would be stored in a temporary library before being transferred to the newly built Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
As the Jedi scrambled to evacuate the scrolls and artifacts, the Sith came one last time. Jedi Master Ood Bnar, utilizing an ability unique to his species, buried a collection of ancient lightsabers and rooted himself over them, becoming a tree-like being and binding his life force to the planet's, insuring the artifacts' safety. As the supernova's wave quickly approached, the last of the evacuation ships launched and the Sith retreated. While most Jedi evacuated, some did not. In addition to the hibernating Master Bnar, several Jedi were left inside the Library and surrounding areas, as well as the countless other species that had lived on the world. While many of those who survived the planet's irradiation died off in the ensuing years, the hardier of those species persevered and formed a group of tribal primitives known as the Ysanna. Embracing the Force-based traditions of their ancestors, the Ysanna stood sentinel over the ruins of the Library, keeping out intruders and safeguarding the secrets that remained intact within.
The Library sat largely undisturbed for the next centuries. The Jedi Order relocated to their new home in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant where they erected an expansive Archives facility to store what was saved from Ossus. Stone mosaics were inlaid in the Temple's floors, and a stained-glass arcade was installed after having been salvaged. As the Ysanna stood watch, the towers of the Library crumbled and the facade, most of which was already damaged, saw further deterioration. Eventually the Library blended in with the bleak landscape of the barren world, a mountain of crumbling rock amid the wrecks of ancient star cruisers and old battleships. The Ysanna tribes eventually forgot the exact nature of the Library after centuries of distant protection, and its exact location became the stuff of legends. Despite its importance in Jedi history, the Jedi seldom held recovery missions on the planet, occasionally dispatching members of the Academy of Jedi Archaeology to accompany the scientists and researchers of the Hanna Institute of Antiquities and the University of Agamar on digs.
Following the Eternal Empire's conquest of the galaxy, Jedi under Master Gnost-Dural—along with the Twi'lek Pilgrims and other war refugees—established the isolated Jedi Colony near the Great Jedi Library, exploring the ruins as they developed farms near the colony. During their stay, the Ysanna often lured nearby and stole some tools but avoiding direct contact, which caused the colonists to be suspicious of their presence.
Around 3628 BBY, the Sith Empire discovered the Jedi Colony and invaded Ossus in an attempt to destroy them but Republic forces reinforced the planet and fought the Imperial forces, allowing the colony to evacuate off-world.
As the worlds of the Republic spun into yet another war, one that would claim the Republic and snuff out the Jedi Order, a young Ysanna tribesman rediscovered the ruins while exploring a region governed by fallen Jedi Travgen. Despite his inclinations to the dark side, Travgen had been hiding out on the world for several years, protecting the ruins as he ruled over a Ysanna tribe. Careful to keep the knowledge a family secret out of fear of looters, the man's grandson, Okko would be the keeper of this knowledge when the Galactic Empire was in power.
Roughly a decade after the Battle of Yavin between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and apprentice Kam Solusar traveled to Ossus in search of the remains of the Great Library. Led to the world via clues in an ancient holocron, Skywalker and his student landed on the world and immediately noted the Jedi's influence in the dilapidated buildings. Not long after their arrival, the Jedi were confronted by the Ysanna people and were forced to engage them in order to protect themselves. The Ysanna quickly noted that the two intruders were drawing on the light side of the Force and ended the attack. Rejoicing for the return of the Jedi after thousands of years, the celebration was short lived as Imperial forces had tracked the Jedi to the planet and begun an assault.
Led by Imperial Executor Sedriss QL, the Empire's bravest stormtroopers were unleashed on the Ysanna tribe. Aided by the Jedi, the natives drove off their attackers until Sedriss remained. Driven near the ruins of the old Jedi fortress, Jedi Skywalker engaged the Executor in a worn courtyard. As Sedriss attempted to kill a young Ysanna girl, Skywalker telekinetically hurled Sedriss into a gnarled tree dominating the courtyard. As Sedriss struggled, the tree transformed into the ancient form of Neti Jedi Master Ood Bnar and entrapped the dark sider in his vines. Sensing Sedriss' power, Bnar used his remaining energies to destroy the man, costing him his own life.
Despite the loss of Master Bnar and his ancient wisdom, Skywalker and Solusar had reason to be celebrant. Beneath the spot Bnar had occupied survived the ancient lightsabers he had hidden millennia earlier. Collecting the weapons and finding them still in working order, the Jedi forged a good relationship with the Ysanna tribe and began to make plans to excavate the ruins. The two Jedi were escorted through the ruins of the Great Library, and found many of the ancient scrolls and books remained in good condition. With the help of the New Republic, Skywalker's reformed Jedi Order began to delve deep into the ancient structure, taking with them all retrievable data for study. Assisted by the Obroan Institute for Archaeology, the Hanna Institute of Antiquities, the New Republic Archaeological Corps, and the University of Agamar, the Jedi were able to recover a significant portion of the lost relics and preserve them for future study by the Jedi Order.
Research at the site was curtailed during the invasion of the galaxy by the Yuuzhan Vong. As the fledgling Jedi Order was once more brought to the brink of annihilation, the knowledge kept on Ossus was left hidden and survived the ruinous destruction of the libraries on Obroa-skai. Following the end of the war, the newly formed Galactic Alliance funded the construction of a new Jedi headquarters on Ossus. Erecting an inverted zigurrat-shaped academy, the Jedi Order founded a new Archives in which all relics and data housed in the Great Library ruins were moved to and stored.
Erected atop a lone hill above Ooroo Canyon, the Great Library was established several days walking distance from the ancient Jedi city Knossa. The exact appearance of the Great Library varied from source to source, mainly due to deceptive floor plans peddled by the con-artist Skavak. Many scholars struggled to distinguish between the facades of the Great Library, the Knossa Branch Library, and the Eye of Ashlanae. What was known was that the Great Library complex consisted of several different buildings which ranged in size and shape and sprawled down into the canyon and surrounding areas. Carved out of unadorned dense stone like most of the structures on Ossus, the Great Library appeared to be a natural feature of the hill.
The Great Library's purpose was simply to serve as the largest collection of known information in the galaxy. Its founder, Odan-Urr, believed that any and all forms of knowledge would be used as a potential benefit for the Jedi Order. With the exception of the highest level, the building blocked out all natural light; instead artificial light kept the building at a constantly even light so the passage of the suns' light did not increase the weariness of a devoted learner. While many items were indeed stored at the Library, a select few were housed in the submerged satellite structures at nearby Imhar Canyon; artifacts needing to be kept in water or in moist environments. Remote access to the library was granted to the branch library in the city of Knossa, where scholars used holobooks directly tied into the Great Library's central computer. Researchers there could also remotely control droids within the Great Library facility to interact with hard copy manuscripts and ancient scrolls contained within special environment control facilities.
Access to the Great Library was granted through many doorways and gates on the main level, atop dozens of stone stairs climbing from the base of the hill. Odan-Urr believed no door should be barred and that all should share in the Order' knowledge, and therefore there were no doors or locks that forbid entrance into the facility. The main public area of the Great Library's collections was known as the Hall of Knowledge, open to the public and encompassing chambers on multiple levels and functions. Containing astrogation maps and Jedi journals; philosophical and biological text; datacrons on starship design and cultural records, the Hall of Knowledge was sprawling and exhaustive. Jedi librarians prowled the Stacks here, ready to assist researchers in their search for knowledge. Among the chambers within the Hall were several archives, classrooms, study and reading rooms, information desks and kiosks, and office space for the many Lore Keepers on staff. Among the buildings attached to the library was a dormitory complex and a small hangar and landing platforms. Most pilgrims to the Great Library were forced to first land at the more accommodating Knossa Spaceport some distance away and join local traffic to the facility.
Despite Odan-Urr's beliefs that the Library should be accessible to all, he understood that some knowledge was too potent for free access. With this in mind, the Draethos Jedi ordered the construction of three sublevels, the second and third of which would house the Chamber of Antiquities. Not just a single room, the Chamber was divided and subdivided into a Byzantine labyrinth that was difficult to navigate, including rooms such as the Vault of Justice. Fashioned in such a manner intentionally, the Chamber held many secrets, including Sith holocrons and other dark side artifacts. Access to the Chamber was granted to the few who gained express permission from the Jedi High Council and the Keeper of Antiquities.
Behind the scenes
Real life parallels
The United States Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., was founded on a similar plan. Although founded in 1800 by President John Adams, President Thomas Jefferson was really the driving force behind the current form of the Library. He is quoted as saying: "I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer." This was to deflect any concerns about the suitability of the collections for the U.S. Congress' use.
It is also parallel to the Great Library at Alexandria which at the time was the greatest library of its time.
The Polish Star Wars Wiki is called Biblioteka Ossus which means the Ossus Library.
- Tales of the Jedi – The Fall of the Sith Empire 5 (Vision)
- Tales of the Jedi – The Freedon Nadd Uprising 1 (First appearance)
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 1 (Mentioned only) (as Jedi archives)
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 4
- Tales of the Jedi – Dark Lords of the Sith 6
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 1
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 4
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 5
- Tales of the Jedi – The Sith War 6
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Mentioned only)
- Timeline 10: The Exar Kun War (Appears in hologram)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught
- Star Wars: Dark Empire II
- Star Wars: Empire's End
- "Firestorm" – Star Wars Adventure Journal 15 (Mentioned only)
- Dark Empire Sourcebook (First mentioned)
- "Straight from the Horse's Mouth: A Guide to the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Universe, Part 1" – Star Wars Insider 26 (Indirect mention only)
- "Straight from the Horse's Mouth: A Guide to the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Universe, Part 2" – Star Wars Insider 27 (Indirect mention only)
- Tales of the Jedi Companion
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- "Use the Force: A Novel Trivia Quiz" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 5
- Power of the Jedi Sourcebook
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The Essential Chronology
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 107 (OSS3-4, Ossus)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 134 (Libraries)
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- The New Essential Chronology
- "Le facteur X"—Casus Belli 115
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Jedi Academy Training Manual
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 38
- The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
- Nexus of Power
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi — The Freedon Nadd Uprising
- Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi — The Sith War
- Nexus of Power
- Power of the Jedi Sourcebook
- Dark Empire II 3
- Tales of the Jedi – The Fall of the Sith Empire 5
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne—Mission: "Jedi Under Siege" on Ossus
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne—Codex: "Survivors of the Cron Supernova"
- According to 2017 can be placed in 3629 BBY and the events from Game Update 5.9 through 5.10.3 can be placed in 3628 BBY. Therefore, the events of Game Update 5.10: Jedi Under Siege can be placed in 3628 BBY. the events of Game Updates released in
- "From the Files of Corellia Antilles" – Star Wars Adventure Journal 14