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Temple of Artemis, Turkey

December 6th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

The Temple of Artemis (Greek: Artemision; Latin: Artemisium) was a Greek temple dedicated to Artemis completed around 550 BCE at Ephesus in present-day Turkey) under the Achaemenid dynasty of the Persian Empire. Nothing remains of the original temple, which was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The temple was a 120-year project started by Croesus of Lydia.

The Temple of Artemis was located in the ancient city of Ephesus, about 50 km south from the modern port city of Izmir, in Turkey. Like the other wonders, Antipater chose the temple for his list not because of its beauty or size, but rather because it rested near the border of the Greek world. This inspired a sense of mystery and awe for the Greeks, and emphasized Alexander the Great's vast empire.

The sacred site at Ephesus was far older than the Artemisium. Pausanias understood the shrine of Artemis there to be very ancient. He states with certainty that it antedated the Ionic immigration by many years, being older even than the oracular shrine of Apollo at Didymi. He said that the pre-Ionic inhabitants of the city were Leleges and Lydians.

The Temple was designed and constructed around 550 BC by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes. This early construction was built at the expense of Croesus, the wealthy king of Lydia. Marshy ground was selected for the building site as a precaution against future earthquakes, according to Pliny the Elder. The temple became a tourist attraction, visited by merchants, kings, and sightseers, many of whom paid homage to Artemis in the form of jewelry and various goods. Its splendor also attracted many worshippers, many of whom formed the cult of Artemis.

The temple was a widely respected place of refuge, a tradition that was linked in myth with the Amazons who took refuge there, both from Heracles and from Dionysus.

The temple of Artemis at Ephesus was destroyed on July 21, 356 BC in an act of arson committed by Herostratus. According to the story, his motivation was fame at any cost, thus the term herostratic fame.

"A man was found to plan the burning of the temple of Ephesian Diana so that through the destruction of this most beautiful building his name might be spread through the whole world."

Source: Valerius Maximus, VIII.14.ext.5

The Ephesians, outraged, announced that Herostratus' name never be recorded. Strabo later noted the name, which is how we know today.

That very same night, Alexander the Great was born. Plutarch remarked that Artemis was too preoccupied with Alexander's delivery to save her burning temple. Alexander later offered to pay for the Temple's rebuilding, but the Ephesians refused. Eventually, the temple was restored after Alexander's death, in 323 BC.

This reconstruction was itself destroyed during a raid by the Goths in 262, in the time of emperor Gallienus: "Respa, Veduc and Thuruar, leaders of the Goths, took ship and sailed across the strait of the Hellespont to Asia. There they laid waste many populous cities and set fire to the renowned temple of Diana at Ephesus", reported Jordanes in Getica (xx.107).

Over the next two centuries, the majority of Ephesians converted to Christianity, and the Temple of Artemis lost its religious appeal. Christians tore down the remenants of the temple, and the stones were used in construction of other buildings.

The main primary sources for the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus are in Pliny the Elder's Natural History XXXVI.xxi.95, Pomponius Mela i:17, and Plutarch's Life of Alexander III.5 (referencing the burning of the Artemisium).

The site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869 by an expedition sponsored by the British Museum, and while several artifacts and sculptures from the reconstructed temple can be seen there today, as for the original site, only a single column remains from the temple itself.

(Source: Wikipedia)

3 Responses to “Temple of Artemis, Turkey”

  1. The World According To Google - satellite pictures of the most interesting places on the World, satellite maps » Blog Archive » Temple of Artemis, Turkey Says:

    […] Temple of Artemis, Turkey December 6th, 2005 / Category: Interesting places, Ancient wonders of the World / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Virtual Earth No Votes Yet - Vote Now! […]

  2. Anonymous Says:

    you should use more primary resources!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    also it doesn’t help me in a class where you are supose to find primary soureces!

    -twinkles

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