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The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus
The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus

5 – The Temple Of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus which was one of the 7 wonders of the Antiquity is located at the start of the highway Kuşadası in the district Selçuk. It was found as a result of the efforts, which lasted 7 years, of J.T. Wood, an English railway engineer in 1869- Following Wood, Hogarth resumed the excavations in 1904-5 again in the name of the British Museum. The excavations which were re-launched by the Austrian Archaeological Institute in 1965 are still under way. As a result of these excavations the foundations of the temple were unearthed which was first built with the assistance of Kroisos during the 6th century B.C., the Mycenaean era, the earliest phase of the temple, and set on fire and burnt down in the night when Alexander was born* which, then, was re-built in mid-4th century. During the excavations gifts made of prescious materials such as gold, ivory, amber as brought to the temple from distant lands were recovered.

The excavations revealed that the earliest temple was a peripteros with 4×8 columns and measuring 13×6,5 dating from the mid-8th century B.C. However, it was determined that this was not the earliest structure here and also that the finds dated back to the Mycenaean era. The structure built late 7th century B.C. and called as Temple C was 34.40 ms. This temple was called Hecatompedos (hundred feet). 34.40 ms equaled a length of 100 Ionic feet. The construction materials of the superstructure of Hecatompedos were used in the temple built during the Kroisos era.

In around 560 B.C. the construction of the temple known as Kroisos temple was started. For this structure it was used as large blocks cut from the marble quarries around Belevi as it could get.The architects of this temple were the Samian Theodoros, Metagenes and Khersiphron. As during the constriction the temple area was swampy, wood charcoal were filled in the foundations. The ashes and bones from the remains of victims were also spread in order to avoid the rising of the water. Plinius Historian Naturals also wrote that there were 106 columns in this temple. The columns of the temple covered with figures in relief (Columna Caelata) were very well known. These and a great number of frieze blocks were taken to British Museum during the English excavations. Early the 5th century B.C. an altar of “U” plan was added on the axis of the temple. This temple was set on fire by somebody named Herostratos who wished to make his name immortal in 356 B.C. and thus ruined. The story goes that Alexander the Great was born in the night when this event happened. According to the legend, Artemis could not protect the temple as he was away to help with the birth of Alexander.

The architects of the new building are Paionios, Demetrios and Kheirokrates. In this new temple the reliefed columns of the archaic temple were also used. During this era, because of the elevated sea level it became obligatory to build the temple upon a high” platform to avoid any floods. While there were 8 columns on the western façacle, the number of the columns were 21 on the long sides. The height of the columns, on the other hand, was 18.40 ms. The total number of the columns is assumed to have been 127. Artemision was despoiled by Goths in 263. However, once the Artemisian cult was terminated the real destruction followed after 400. A great part of the materials was used in the construction of the St. John’s Church.

Not many ruins exist as visible today on the site of the temple. The column as visible is 14 ms, being 4 ms shorter than its original was. This column was erected upon the platform of its temple of the 4th century in 1973.

Next : 6 – The Large Courtyard: Different pieces from different periods

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