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Efes Museum - The Large Courtyard
Efes Museum - The Large Courtyard

6 – The Large Courtyard: Different pieces from different periods

The fourth gallery space in the Ephesus Museum is the spacious inner courtyard that is the gateway from the Hall of New Finds and Coins to the Hall of Grave Artefacts. Here you will find on exhibit architectural pieces, plastic works, and sarcophagi. At the entrance, to the right, there are three statues and architectural finds on the opposite. Extending on the left of the entrance, in the covered gallery, there are banister plaques, door lintels and a baptism altar. Also in this section is an ambon, or a sermon platform and on the side banister of the stairs, the banister plaque depicting the scene where Abraham is sacrificing his son Ishmael. The plaque possibly be-longed to a synagogue, which is dated back to 6th century A.D. In the center of the courtyard is a sundial from Emperor Caracalla’s Period (212-217 A.D.), found in Ephesus Commerce Agora. Here as in its original place, the Eros statue on two dolphins used to be a fountain adjacent to a pool decorating the courtyard of one of the Terrace Houses. Behind the sundial located in the center are the sarcophagus brought from the Belevi Mauso-leum, the column and the capital, and the griffoon, griffon head and vase that are part of the sculpted decora-tions of the roof.

As you enter further into the courtyard and look up, you will see the reconstruction of the Polyphemous group exhibited with the Pollio Fountain, placed such that visitors would see their first location on the pediment of the temple in the State Agora. In this reconstructed version, the statues in the fountain group are completed to their originals; therefore the mythological scene (see Hall of the Fountain Houses for details) was fully enacted. Be-low the pediment are Ionian, Dorian and Corinthian column capitals found in Ephesus and Seljuk from the Ar-chaic Period (6th and 7th centuries B.C.) to the Byzantian Period.

In the other section reached from the courtyard through a bridge is an unfinished Archaic statue of a naked man found in Pamucak, a kouros. Adjacent is the customs law epitaph of the Asia Province, the capital of which was Ephesus. On this epitaph erected at the Ephesus port in 62 A.D. written are all the customs rules of the prov-ince. However, the epitaph was removed by the Byzantines and taken to the ambon at the center of the Basilica of St. John, Ayasuluk Hill. Below the bridge is a mosaic from a Roman villa, which is visible from both sides. Around the mosaic, reliefs from a heroon on Curetes Street and friezes with weapon ornaments from a victory monument that belongs to the Early Empire Period.

On the wall across the courtyard are ostoteks, i.e., small sarcophagi where ashes of the dead were kept and two sarcophagi and their grave steles. Next to the Grave Hall’s door is the seated sculpture of Ephesus citizen Vedia Phaedrina, who commissioned the East Gymnasion.

Ambon banister panel
6th century A.D., marble, 145×113 cm
This fine-grained marble piece was found in the Karaova farm located between Kusadasi and Soke, and it used to decorate the side of the stairs leading to an ambon. On the triangular panel bordered with plant patterns, Ab-raham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac. Depicted on the left is God’s hand, extended to prevent him.

Statue of Eros on dolphin
Marble, 58x23x78 cm
This statue of white veined, medium-grained marble depicts Eros on a dolphin. The eyes and teeth of the dol-phin were sculpted in detail.

Statue of Eros on dolphin
Marble, 55x24x66 cm
Another identically themed Eros statue is made of white veined medium grained marble. Eros attempts to get support from the dolphin with his left hand while he embraces it with his right. Since the opening on the dol-phin’s mouth allows for the flow of water, the statue is thought to have decorated a fountain. The dolphin’s tail and Eros’s are missing.

Archaistic Ionian capital
4th century B.C., marble, height 33 cm, radius 68 cm
This Ionian and archaistic column capital was excavated from the historic site of Ephesus, on Arcadiane Street. One side is processed less, while the other side has deep lines. The square abacus is decorated with Ionian pat-terns.

Archaic Ionian capital
4th century B.C., marble, height 46.7 cm, diameter 92.5 cm
This column capital, found in the Byzantine aqueduct excavations, was renovated during its second usage in order to render it better suitable for its new place. The series of eggs on the echinus were completely destroyed.

Ionian capital with bull protome
Early 1st century A.D., marble, height 43.5 cm, diameter 56 cm
Bull protomes are placed in between the volutes on either sides of this medium-grained marble capital, found in the North Basilica of the State Agora.

Byzantine capital
6th century A.D., marble, height 45 cm
The basket-shaped blonde marble body of the capital was decorated with bas-relief acanthus leaves. The cor-ners of the abacus have concave surfaces and are decorated with four stylized volutes.

Asian Province customs epitaph
1st century A.D., reused in 6th century, 295×144 cm
This epitaph was found in 1979, during the restoration of the Basilica of St. John, by the narthex. Despite its later use as the base of an ambon, it was probably originally located at the Ephesus port. On the epitaph, de-tailed laws regulating the customs duties of the Asia Province during the Roman Period are written. In effect in 175 through 35 B.C., these laws were expanded and renewed by Emperor Neron in 62 A.D. The epitaph con-taining the regulations for all the cities in the province is titled Asia Province Customs Regulations.

Incomplete Kouros statue
Around 520 B.C., marble, 150x50x40 cm
Many parts are missing of this statue found in Pamucak, by the marble quarries in Belevi. The kouros, i.e., the depiction of a young man, the statue is larger than life. It is known that statues such as this were left untreated in marble quarries and then taken to the cities to be completed by sculptors.

3rd century A.D., marble, 103×92 cm
An epitaph is placed on the front side of this semi-circular sundial placed on a square pedestal. The concave inner part is divided into 12 equal parts. The sundial was found in the Ephesus Commerce Agora and the shadow of the metal pointer indicates the time. The front part of the sundial that faces south was rotated accord-ing to the position of the sun changing by the seasons. On the epitaph, it is stated that the sundial is dedicated to Emperor Caracalla (212-217 A.D.) and his mother Julia Domna.

Muses sarcophagus
3rd century A.D., marble, sarcophagus: 108x252x109 cm; lid: 40x252x119 cm
The sarcophagus found on the west of the Vedius Gymnasion has a roof-like lid. Eros figures are placed on the acroterium of the roof. Muses, guardians of the arts and sciences are depicted on the sarcophagus, in the front and on the sides, in columns and arches. On the left is Euterpe with her double flute, next to her is Clio, the muse of history. The female figure in the middle probably depicts the deceased person. The one on her right, it is Muse Calliope with her kitara, and the one with the lyre is Erato. On one side of the sarcophagus are masked theater muses Melpomene and Thalia. On the other side is Urania, the muse of astronomy, holding a globe, and adjacent is Terpischore the muse of dance or another muse who is thought to be Polymnia, the muse of panto-mime. The epitaphs and crucifix figures on the sarcophagus lid indicate that it was also used in Byzantine times.

Belevi sarcophagus
Mid-3rd century B.C., marble, sarcophagus: 120×268 cm, lid: 92×258 cm
This sarcophagus was found in the tomb chamber in the famous Belevi Mausoleum. Even though the owner of the mausoleum, which is one of the biggest Hellenistic examples in Anatolia and one of the first pieces where Corintian columns were used, there is a belief that it may have belonged to Antiochos II, the Seleukos king who died in 246 B.C. in the vicinity of Ephesus. Some believe that it belongs to Lysimachos. On the lid of the sar-cophagus, a frontal scene depicting the deceased lying on a kline is portrayed. On the front face of the piece are depicted the legs of the kline and the table in front of it. The frieze decorating the kline is composed of 11 si-rens grouped into three. In mythology, sirens would accompany a dead person into the world of death, and they are frequently used in depictions on tombs. The marble vase and griffon pieces exhibited next to the sarcopha-gus are composed of the decorations on the pyramidal roof of the mausoleum.

Corinthian column
Mid-3rd century B.C., marble, height 112 cm, diameter 78 cm
This highly well preserved column was brought from the Belevi Monument. One of the first examples of the Corinthian style in Anatolia, the profiled abacus has concave surfaces.

Griffon Statue
Mid-3rd century B.C., marble
The griffon statue is thought to have been at the top of the Belevi Mausoleum.

Gladiator Relief
Late Roman, marble, 60x167x14 cm
The relief depicting two fighting gladiators and an older man is thought to belong to the tomb of a gladiator. The armored and helmeted gladiator in the middle holds a dagger on his right hand and an undistinguishable weapon on his left hand. His name is read as Samnit or Secutorr. The gladiator on the right who is not wearing a helmet holds a three-legged pitchfork. The shorthaired, bearded old man on the far left wears a long tunic. This figure probably characterizes a gladiator’s trainer and his name is written as “doctor.”

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