The Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus served as well as a market place and a cult place for the goddess Artemis which was the divinity of the fertility, the Earth, the moon and the animals. She was very worshipped.

It was located in Turkey, in the ancient city of Ephesus which is nowadays called Selcuk, and which is located 50 km in the South of Izmir. This temple was set up from the middle of the eighth century to the middle of the third century BC It has the peculiarity to have been demolished seven times in ten centuries.

The first temple was primitive (8 columns on 4), however king Croesus ordered to destroy it in order to raise a new much larger one. With a base of 155 m (508 feet) on 60 (197 feet), the new sanctuary possessed 127 columns with sculptured reliefs. But it was destroyed again to leave place to the new temple drawn by the Greek architect called Chersiphron, even more gigantic than the precedent: its Ionic columns, adorned with gold, raised at more than 18 m height and contained scenes with mythological symbols sculptured by the lost famous sculptors and the Greek architects such as Scopas, Praxiteles, Phidias and Polyclitus. This last sanctuary sheltered the statues of Artemis and Zeus where these gods were worshipped by the Greek population. Nowadays, we can find some reproductions of the statue of this goddess in the museums of Naples, the Vatican and the Louvre.

Finally, during the night of 21st of July in 356 BC, a person called Herostratus set on fire the temple so that its name is immortalized. It is done. Stones were doubtless reused to build churches.

Why is this a wonder of the ancient world ?

Ephesus was famous in the Antiquity for its cult for Artémis in a temple whose magnificence permit to made it classified among the seven wonders of the ancient world. This temple was besides, one of the most Panhellenic crowned sanctuaries.

Several illustrations :

The Temple of Artemis #1 The Temple of Artemis #2 The Temple of Artemis #3
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