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Ephesus Terrace Houses
Ephesus Terrace Houses

2 – The Hall of the Terrace Houses: Life at “Home” in Ephesus

The first exhibit section on the left at the entrance of the museum, exhibited in the Hall of the Terrace Houses, are the artifacts used by the upper class people in the Roman Ephesus in their day-to-day lives and the art ob-jects they displayed in their homes. The competency and variety of these objects and the fine workmanship make us privy to the glory and advancement of the era as well as the artistic style of the time.

Initially brought together in 1994, this hall has on exhibit small finds (statues, furniture, frescoes, jew-elry and small pieces) that provide ideas about the day-to-day life in the Antique Period excavated from Terrace House 1 and Terrace House 2 of the Ephesus Terrace Houses dug up and restored in the past 40 years, and also contributions to the Museum from Ephesus and the surrounding area, such as medical tools.

The Terrace Houses, residences of wealthy people, are the most beautiful examples of peristyle houses as inspired by the houses in Miletos, Priene, Delos and Rhodes. A court in the center, a reception hall and rooms constituted these houses, where the courts were adorned with statues, the grounds with mosaics, and walls with frescoes.

At the entrance of the hall are a floor plan of Terrace House 2, photographs from excavations and panels narrating the history. The statues of Asclepius, god of medicine, and Hygeia stand adjacent. In the following left-side wall, there are two big exhibit cases. In the first case are medical tools, jewelry, spindle whorls, vases; and in the second are displayed daily objects used in the houses.

In the entrance of the hall, in the center, there is an imitation marble table and a Zeus altar. In the group of smaller exhibit cases adjacent to it is a marble statue of Artemis the Huntress in Archaizing style. The case also exhibits a bronze portrait from the 3rd century A.C., and a bronze table and stool adorned with statuettes of boxer protomes. Next to the group of exhibit cases in the middle is a marble tub found in the Terrace Houses. In the center of the hall stands Trajan’s frieze of ivory, one of the most important pieces of the Museum. This frieze is thought to belong to a piece of furniture or a door lintel and on it depicted are three scenes from Em-peror Trajan’s (reign 98-117 A.C.) Orient expedition.

To the right of the hall entrance, the first piece on the wall is the honorary pedestal for an athlete with victory garlands. Then comes the armored bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (reign 161-180). This piece has a special importance as one of the few intact portrait busts present in the museums around the world. Next comes the Priapos statue symbolizing fertility and abundance with its exaggerated phallus. The statuette of God Bes in the adjacent case portrays the Egyptian guardian god that is the symbol of male fertility. In the center of the wall on the right, there is a portrait bust of the poet Menandros (342-291 B.C.) and next to it are portraits of a priest and a priestess from the 3rd century B.C. Then, the armored bust of Emperor Tiberius (reign 14-37) and the portrait of his mother Livia are exhibited with the bronze snake in between them, just as they were found in their original place.

Straight across from the entrance, in the back corner, a room from the Ephesus Terrace Houses was or-ganized in a similar fashion to the original and its architecture was conveyed with the visual aid of the large photograph in the background. In the Socrates Room, named after the Socrates fresco in the corner, the owner of the house is depicted, holding a wine cup. There is a statuette of Artemis the Huntress in the wall niche, a Socrates fresco, and on the left is a fresco portraying a Muse, the fairy of inspiration in Greek mythology.

To the left of the exit of the hall, encased is a 6th century bronze statuette portraying one of the priests of Egyptian God Amon. This piece, most probably brought by an Ephesian tradesman from Egypt, is important in that it reveals the presence of commercial relationships between Egypt and the city of Ephesus.

Next: Hall of Fountain Finds: Monumental statues

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