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This so called, temple dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian is one of the best preserved and most beautiful structures on Curetes Street in Ephesus. The name “Temple of Hadrian” is a wrong usage considering the structure is more a monument than a temple. According to an inscription engraved on the archivolt of the entablature, the small temple-like structure was dedicated to Artemis Ephesia, Emperor Hadrian and to the demos of Ephesus, by the asiarch Poplius Vedius Antoninus Sabinus of Ephesus. It is thought to be constructed in the beginning of the 2nd century AD by P. Quintilius to celebrate Hadrian visiting the city from Athens.  Hadrian visited Ephesus at least two times during his journeys through the eastern states of the Empire. The jeurneys were in August 124 and five years later in 129. The outcome of his visits was several monuments and benefactions. Ephesus honored his wisits by building such a monument just as all the cities in Asia-Minor did. İn every city on his journey route a monument dedicated to hadrian can be found. Hadrian was considered one of the Five of legendary Emperors of Roman empire like Nerva, Trajan, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. These Emperors are famous with their success in winning the support of the senate, which previous emperors couldn't.


The facade of the temple/monument makes the well preserved structure one of the most elegant buildings in the ancient city. The facade has four Corinthian columns that support a curved arch which has a relief of Tyche, goddess of victory. It is believed that there were the copper statues of emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius I, and Galerius on the bases in front of the temple. The pillars for the statues still remain. The originals statues have never been found.

It was reconstructed in the 4th century AD. Inside the temple above the door there is a curved  Medusa shape ornomented with acanthus leaves. On the sides of the entrance there are friezes about the history of the city. One of them depicts Androklos while shooting a boar, another one depicts Dionysus in ceremonial procession, and a third one depicts the Amazons. A fourth frieze is about Apollo, Athena, Androkles, Herakles, and some other members of Theodosius’s family.


The main section of the temple is called as ''the Nao''. This is a small room with large entrance door. The beams of this door were decorated with figures. The Temple of Hadrian has recently been renovated. During the renovation the replicas were added the originals of which are on display in the Ephesus Museum.

Original frieze slabs from the Temple of Hadrian in Ephesus Museum

5 figures can be seen in the first slab; from left to right; a headless male which is thought to be representing Zeus, a Nymph, a warrior and Androclus on horseback attacking a wild boar & a fallen warrior. 


The second frieze shows a Roman Emperor making a sacrifice in front of an altar decorated with garlands. The Emperor is dressed  style and is crowned by a Nike. On the right of the altar there is the figure of Theseus, and next to Thesus Heracles with four Amazons. 

Original frieze slab from the Temple of Hadrian depicting a sacrifice in front of an altar

On the third frieze there are three Amazon figures fleeing from Dionysus. Dionysus is shown embracing a Satyr in the centre of the relief with Pan. Next to him, there is a figure sits on an elephant and a dancing Maenad.


The fourth frieze from left to right; Dea Roma, Selene (Moon), Helios (Sun), Apollo, Artemis, Heracles, Dionysus, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares and Athena. In the middle of the frieze there are are Androclus and his dog

temple of hadrian detail.jpg
temple of hafrian details.jpg

Click on the links below for other pages of Ephesus

Ephesus main page

Ephesus/Terrace Houses,      Ephesus/Celcus Library     Ephesus/Temple of Hadrianus    Ephesus/Temple of Artemis      The Church of St. Mary       

Ephesus/Other Historical Attractions      Ephesus / Fountain of Trajan

Ephesus & Christianity  

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