Ephesus

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Ephesus

(ĕf`əsəs), ancient Greek city of Asia Minor, near the mouth of the Caÿster River (modern Küçük Menderes), in what is today W Turkey, S of Smyrna (now Izmir). One of the greatest of the Ionian cities, it became the leading seaport of the region. Its wealth was proverbial. The Greek city was near an old center of worship of a native nature goddess, who was equated with the Greek ArtemisArtemis
, in Greek religion and mythology, Olympian goddess, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis' early worship, especially at Ephesus, identified her as an earth goddess, similar to Astarte.
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, and c.550 B.C. a large temple was built. To this Croesus, who captured the city, contributed. From Lydian control Ephesus passed to the Persian Empire. The temple was burned down in the 4th cent. B.C., but rebuilding was begun before Alexander the Great took Ephesus in 334. The city continued to thrive during the wars of his successors, and after it passed (133) to the Romans it kept its hegemony and was the leading city of the province of Asia. The great temple of Artemis, or Artemision, called by the Romans the temple of Diana, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the WorldSeven Wonders of the World,
in ancient classifications, were the Great Pyramid of Khufu (see pyramid) or all the pyramids with or without the sphinx; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with or without the walls; the mausoleum at Halicarnassus; the Artemision at Ephesus; the
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. From c.100 B.C. to c.A.D. 100 Ephesus was the world capital of the slave trade. The city was sacked by the Goths in A.D. 262, and the temple was destroyed. The seat of a church council in 431, Ephesus was abandoned after the harbor silted up. Excavations (1869–74) of the ruins of the temple brought to light many artifacts. Later excavations uncovered important Roman and Byzantine remains.

Ephesus

 

an ancient city in Caria, on the western coast of Asia Minor. Ephesus was founded in the 12th century B.C. by Greeks on the site of a Carian settlement. The city’s advantageous location promoted its rapid growth as a commercial and religious center; its Temple of Artemis was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

In 560 B.C., Ephesus was conquered by Lydia, and in 546 B.C., by Persia. After the Greco-Persian Wars (500–449 B.C.), when it was freed from Persian rule, the city joined the Delian League, and during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.) it sided with Sparta. After 386 B.C., Ephesus was again conquered by Persia, and in 334 B.C., by Alexander the Great. In the third century B.C. it was under the rule of the Seleucids. It came under the power of Pergamum in 190 B.C. and of Rome in 133 B.C. In the late first century B.C., Ephesus became the capital of the Roman province of Asia. In A.D. 263 it was sacked by the Goths, who destroyed the Temple of Artemis, which had been rebuilt after it was burned down by Herostratus in 356 B.C. In A.D. 358 and 365, Ephesus was damaged by earthquakes, but it was rebuilt both times. In the Middle Ages the city gradually lost its importance because of the shallowing of its harbor.

Thorough excavations have been conducted since the late 19th century by the Austrian Archaeological Institute. Structures that have survived from ancient Ephesus include ruins of various Roman buildings, the agora, the theater, the Library of Celsus, the temples of Serapion and Hadrian, and the odeum (first-second centuries). Also of interest are the early Christian burial-ground complex known as the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus and the Byzantine Hagia Maria Basilica (second-third centuries). Northeast of Ephesus, in Selçuk, are remains of the Temple of Artemis (eighth, seventh, mid-sixth centuries B.C.), and in Belevi there is a mausoleum of the third century B.C. The Museum of Ephesus is located in Selçuk.

REFERENCES

Forschungen in Ephesos, vols. 1–5. Vienna, 1906–53.
Miltner, F. Ephesos. Vienna, 1958.
Alzinger, W. Die Stadt dessiebenten Weltwunders. Vienna, 1962.

Ephesus

(in ancient Greece) a major trading city on the W coast of Asia Minor: famous for its temple of Artemis (Diana); sacked by the Goths (262 ad)