The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus

The Artemision was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The sculptures kept in the British Museum are exceptional.

The Temple of Artemis, also know as Artemision in Ephesus, Turkey, was one of the Seven Wonders of the World and ruled the religious and social life of the city for centuries. It is located close to the Isaa Bey mosque and a fig trees field.  Pausanias used to say that this temple exceeded in beauty and splendour everything man had produced so far. The monument would have been constructed upon order of the Gods after Artemis' birth. Pliny the Elder also declared that during its history, the temple was pillaged and destroyed seven times, each time rebuilt at the same place and with even more magnificence. The last reconstructions were the most remarkable of all, according to a legend. 

When the Goths devastated the Temple of Artemis in 263, the circumstances only allowed to create a smaller one. It was in turn destroyed by the victorious Christians. The fragments were reused for other edifices and a few columns were brought to Constantinople for the erection of Agia Sophia mosque.  The rest was then hidden in the sand, pebbles and alluvium, to such extent that the temple localization was a difficult problem to solve for archaeologists and historians. Herodotus wrote that the temple was at a distance of 1300 m from the ramparts of Ephesus. There were two roads leading to the monument. One came from the port on the Cayster River, heading North-West and crossed the plain. The other one started from the Gate of Magnesia on the Maeander, a town upstream of Ephesus, to the North-East. 

In 1871, after many years of research, a British enginer, John Turtle Wood, discovered the ruins of the temple at a depth of 6 m. Later D.G. Hogarth made new researches completing the results obtained by Wood and gathered valuable information on the metamorphosis of the edifice. The precious sculptures found during the excavations presently are kept in the British Museum in London. Many famous sculptors worked here like Pheidias, Cresila and Phradmon. Artefacts in gold, ivory or studded with gems are displayed at the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. These were offered to Artemis. The cella of the temple included 127 Ionic columns, each 18 m (60 feet) high. If today's ruins only show a few columns, you can feel all the beauty of the site. 

Model of the Temple of Aremis, at Miniaturk, Istambul.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Miniaturk_009.jpg

 Hermes, column drumfrom the Temple of Artemis, kept in the British Museum. These magnificent sculptures were at the basis of the columns.

 

 Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Column_temple_Artemis_Ephesos_BM_Sc1206_n1.jpg

The only remaining columns of the temple of Artemis.

 

 Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Ac_artemisephesus.jpg

Tanathos, Death. Column of the temple kept in the British Museum.

 Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/Column_temple_Artemis_Ephesos_BM_Sc1206_n3.jpg

Tanathos, Persephone and Hermes. Funerary scene on a column drum. British Museum. 

 

 Image source : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Column_drum_Ephesus.JPG

Plan of the Temple of Artemis or Artemision in Ephesus.

 

 Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Artemistempleplan.jpg

Cult statue of Artemis of Ephesus.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/Artemis_Efes_Museum.JPG

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