TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS / EPHESUS
The Temple of Artemis was a temple located in the ancient city of Ephesus, about 50 km south of the modern port city of Izmir, in Turkey, in the Valley at the foot of Ayasoluk. it is considered to have been one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, as described by Antipater of Sidon, who produced the famous list of seven wonders. Antipater of Sidon was an ancient Greek poet in the second half of the 2nd century BC. His poems preserved in the Greek Anthology include evocations of art and literature and some epitaphs.
I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, 'Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.'
Antipater, Greek Anthology IX.58
The temple was dedicated to the goddess Artemis, who Romans call as Diana. King Croesus of Lydia started the construction process of the temple and it lasted about 120 years. It was completely rebuilt three times, and in its final form was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. By 401 AD it had been ruined or destroyed. Today, only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.
Pausanias who was a Greek traweller and geographer and callimachus who was a poet of ancient times were thinking about the relation of Amazons and the cult of Artemis. Pausanias says that the founders of the temple Amazons have been involved with the siege at Athens.
Modern archaeology cannot confirm Pousanias's and Callimachus's Amazons.
Hogarth, the excavator of the site identified three successive temple buildings. Excavations confirm that the sites history goes as early as the Bronze Age. The temple at Ephesus offers the earliest example of a peripteral type on the coast of Asia Minor, and perhaps the earliest Greek temple surrounded by colonnades anywhere.
It is known that a flood destroyed the temple In the 7th century BC, and left half a meter of sand over the original clay floor.
The new temple was financed by Croesus, the emperor of Lydia, and overlord of Ephesus. it was designed and constructed by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son. It was supposedly the first Greek temple built of marble. Its peripteral columns stood some 13 m high, in double rows that formed a wide ceremonial passage around the cella that housed the goddess's cult image. Thirty-six of these columns were believed to be decorated by carvings in relief. A new ebony or blackened grapewood cult statue was sculpted by Endoios,
İn the temple thousands of remains were found from this era including the Electrum coins which can be described as the first silver-gold alloy coins.
The Artemis Myth: Artemis, in Greek mythology is the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and vegetation, and of chastity and childbirth; she was identified by the Romans with Diana. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. Among the rural populace, Artemis was the favourite goddess. Her character and function varied greatly from place to place, but, apparently, behind all forms lay the goddess of wild nature, who danced, usually accompanied by nymphs, in mountains, forests, and marshes. She was always carrying a quiver and a gold bow, and was accompanied by a pack of hounds that covered her bare legs. She used to carry a half moon on the forehead and go dressed in Huntress. She is generally represented with hair collected and a bare chest.
The Temple became an attraction point which is visited by merchants, Kings, and travelers who paid tribute to Artemis in the form of jewelry and other goods. Its splendor also attracted worshippers who formed the cult of ARTEMIS.
From the Greek point of view, the Ephesian Artemis is a distinctive form of their goddess Artemis. In Greek cult and myth. Artemis is the twin of Apollo, a virgin huntress who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon. At Ephesus, a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was venerated in an archaic, pre-Hellenic cult image. that was carved of wood and kept decorated with jewelry. The features of Ephesus artemis, or with another word the Artemis of Asia Minor civilisations are most similar to Near-Eastern and Egyptian deities. On the coins minted at Ephesus, the goddess wears a mural crown, an attribute of Cybele as a protector of cities. İa the culture of the civilisations of asia minor she is more connected to the Anatolian goddess Kybele. İt is also mentioned in iliad that Artemis fight against greeks on the side of trojans.
The oval objects covering the upper part of the Ephesian Artemis which represent multiple breasts, symbolyses her fertility which is the same feature of Kybele. Robert Fleischer suggested that instead of breasts, the oval objects were decorations that would have been hung ceremonially on the original wood statue, and which were incorporated as carved features on later copies. The "breasts" of the Lady of Ephesus, it now appears, were likely based on amber gourd-shaped drops, elliptical in cross-section and drilled for hanging, that were rediscovered in the archaeological excavations of 1987–1988.
It is unknown how long the building stood after the the Christians. it is known that some of the stones from the temple were used in construction of other buildings. Some of the columns in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople originally belonged to the temple of Artemis, and several statues and other decorative elements from the temple were re-used in Constantinople.
In the modern times, the site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869 by an expedition led by John Turtle Wood and sponsored by the British Museum. These excavations continued until 187. A few further fragments of sculpture were found during the 1904–1906 excavations directed by David George Hogarth. The recovered sculptured fragments of the 4th-century rebuilding and a few from the earlier temple, which had been used in the rubble fill for the rebuilding, were assembled and displayed in the "Ephesus Room" of the British Museum. In addition, the museum has part of possibly the oldest pot-hoard of coins in the world that had been buried in the foundations of the Archaic temple.
Today the site of the temple, which lies just outside Selçuk, is marked by a single column constructed of dissociated fragments discovered on the site.
Multibreasted Artemis statue from Artemis temple in Ephesus Turkey
Colums base from the great temple of Artemis in Britih Museum
İt is also believed that The Temple of Artemis was equipped with one of the important inventions of Heron, and had huge Automatic doors. This process used to start when the fire is set over the altar in front of the temple. This system were giving the Temple a Mystic and sacret appearance. İn fact, it wasn't anything sacret but only an invention of Heron, the great Greek inventor.
To open the doors a fire is set in order to generate heat. The air in the chamber is heated by the fire and this causes the atmospheric pressure in a brass vessel. The atmospheric pressure at the upper hemisphere of the container then pumps the water into large holding containers through the pipes. The holding containers function as weights to open the door. And the more they are filled with water the heavier they become, so the connected rope system opens the doors. This scene were wery effective and mysticially influensive for those who would see a door opening slowly on its own before them
One of the statues of Artemis recovered from the Temple of Artemis, at the Ephesus. (Above).
The Statue was unearthed in the excavations in 1956. (Below.)
Tint priest figure found in Artemis temple in Ephosus give us the idea of the way they dress. There is a noticable similarity with the priest dresses on our time.
Click on the links below for other pages of Ephesus
Ephesus & Christianity