Ruins Of Ephesus

From being one of the most famous cities in the Ancient World, its foundation in the realms of fable, Ephesus disappeared into darkness, it passed through ionic, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Aydınoğulian and Ottoman times and in the end was swallowed up with other dead cities. In the course of our visit to Ephesus we shall see ruins, most of which are works of the Roman period. These occupy a large area between Panayırdağ (Mt. Pion) and Bülbüldağ (Mt. Coressus). It Is very easy to recognise those of the Hellenistic periaa ny their delicate style, The Byzantine, Seljuk and Aydtnoğullan works are on the slopes of the Selçuk hill and in the modern district of Selçuk.

It is not possible to see all.the ruins in one day’s,visit. When time is not available unfortunately one must with difficulty content oneself with seeing only the most important places. The newly-estob-iished museum at Selçuk exhibits the most valuable works of art from the Ephesian excavotions. This museum should not be missed. The Gats of

Persecution (4): Turning right at the starting paint of the Selçuk – Kuşadası road, we come to the gate of the walls which surround the basilica built by Justinian. The two sides of the gate stand out from the line of the walls and hayş towers built on them. The upper part of the archway is decorated First there is a leaf pattern, and then on the upper left there are grape-gathering Erotes in relief. On the right there used to be three scenes representing Achilles’ life, but they are now kept at Woodham Abbey, in England. The Gate was called «the Gate of Persecution» by two Frenchmen, ChoisseuI Gouffier and Chandler, who mistook the representations for something connected with the history of Christianity Inside the archway and on both sides there are pictures of eight Saints. This gote is believed to have been built in the 6th or 7th century with material taken from older buildings, particularly from the Stadium.

The basilica of St, John (5): After the acceptance of Christianity in Ephesus many churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Saints rose obove or beside those erected by idol-worshippers. The most interesting of these is the Basilica of St. John built on the Selçuk hill by the Emperor Justinian The disciples of St.    John built    a chapel over the tomb of the Evangelist which became a center  of Christian   worship.  So many pilgrims visited the chapei that by the 6th century the Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora agreed to build a monument worthy of St. John in place of the previous construction which was of little artistic value, Justinian’s church, 130 metres fong, with three naves, was built in the    shape of    a cross. The    central  nave was covered with six large   doines;the   narthex was   covered  with five smaller ones. The main dome and central section of the church were supported by four square pillars. The tomb of the apostle was in a room under the part of the floor immediately beneath the large dome. According to tradition the dust from this room had healing powers, which brought many sick people to the tomb during the Middle Ages. The floor of the church was covered with mosaics. The monograms of Justinian and Theodora can be clearly distinguished on the capitals of some of the columns. On the 26th of September, the probable date’ of the Evangelist’s death, commemorative ceremonies were held. Illuminations and processions attracted large crowds from the surrounding districts. Second century coins found at the Saint’s tomb prove that diready In the earliest times it was a place of pilgrimage.

The Isa Bey Mosque (7):  To the west of the Basilica of St. John on the Selciik hill is the mosque of Isa Bey, a Turco-lslamic work. Many foreign travellers have praised this fine work of artA which was built by the Aydınoğuliorı (1300-1423). The architect was  Ail, son of Dimikfi. The front of the mosque is faced with marble. It overlooks a grassy plain to the west. The door and window frames are richly decorated. An asymmetric construction dominates the front. It is quite obvious that the ceiling is a masterpiece of workmanship. The «stalactites#, Inscriptions and colored stone relief ornaments are a concrete expression of this delicate art which appeals to the eye and the heart.

The mosque was built with two domes. These domes were supported by four black granite columns taken from the Harbor Baths at Ephesus and used to form slender arches. But materials from an earlier period were also used in the construction, especially from the ruins of the nearby Temple of Artemis. The architect showed great skill in creating this fine work of art from these ancient materials. The Teippl0 of Artemis (12) : The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, is situated to the right of the present-day rood to Kuşadası, 350 metres from the Isa Bey Mosque. The foundation of the temple dates from legendary times. According to Pausanius the temple from the point of view of sculpture and art was the most perfect made by man. Another ancient said,  1 have Been the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, the immense construction of the Pyramids and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus but when my eyes fighted upon the temple at Ephesus alt the other wonders .of the world lost their brilliance for me. The temple of Artemis was four times bigger than the Parthenon. Sn Asia size rather than harmony was considered to confer splendor. According to the early writer, Pliny, it was 425 feet long and 225 feet wide; it was surrounded by 127 Ionic columns sixty feet high, each one representing a king; at the lower pdrts of thirty six of these was a statue of Artemis, made either from cedar or ebony. Pliny writes that the temple was despoiled seven times but each time was more magnificently rebuilt. Until the night of the birth of Alexander the Great the temple remained undamaged. That night a madman, Erostratos, wanting his name to go down in history, set fire to the temple. The goddess Artemis, protectress of the temple, having gone to be present at the birth of Alexander, was unable to protect her temple from the fire. Later, when Alexander come to Ephesus and offered to rebuild the temple completely the suggestion was refused on the grounds that one god does not build a temple to another. To complete the new building the women of Ephesus contributed all their jewelry, A subsequent temple was destroyed on the orders of Nero and a later one was finally destroyed because of the triumph ef Christianity, Some of the columns from the temple of Artemis were used in the building of the Church of Santa Sophia in Istanbul.

The Gymnasium of Vedius (13) : Leaving    the Selçuk – Kuşadası road and going towards the ruins of Ephesus, facing us on the road the first ruin is a majestic Gymnasium. According to an inscription found in the course of the excavations, the Gymnasium was built about the middle of the second century by P, Vedius Antoninus, a very rich man, sometimes called the second founder of the city. It was dedicated to the goddess, Artemis, to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, her friend and protector, and to Ephesus, her beloved birthplace. Planned symmetrically, the Gymnasium Is entered by a monumental gate, (Propylaeum). One passes through a magnificent hall decorated with statues to the courtyard (Palaestra), the sides of which are colonnaded, In a good state of preservation on the western sida of tha courtyard are the public lavatories, with marble seats and a constant supply of running water. From here one passes to the hall of ceremonies.

On the west of the hall of ceremonies is a large dressing-room (Apodyteriurn), with cold-water fFrlgidarium), warm-water (Tepidarlum) and hot-water (Caldarium) rooms. The walls were covered with slabs of colored marble. In empty places in the lowest parts of the building were lockers to hold valuable goods. It was possible to keep the roams at the required temperature by means of hot air produced by furnaces which can still be seen.

Jhe Stadium (14): About 70 yards from the Gymnasium of Vedius is the Stadium which was built during the time of the Roman Emperor tlero (54-68 A.D.). The gate of the Stadium, however, belongs to the 3rd and 4th centuries. The Stadium of the Hellenistic period also stood here, but it was smaller. It was in the Stadium that athletic games, horse and chariot races and gladiator fights were staged. K is 765 feet long and 100 feet wide. As almost all the seats were removed to the hill of Aya-suluk in the Middle Ages, to be used in the construction ol the Byzantine wall, it is impossible for us to determine the exact arrangement of the spectators section. We only know that its seating capacity was 75,000. At an excavation to the west of the Stadium, 14 pillar bases, marble slabs with reliefs of prizes such os a palm branch, a vase, a rabbit and six pairs of columns have been found. These can be seen at the Stadium.

The Double Churches (19) : If we descend from the hill of the Acropolis and follow the path which turns to the right we shall In a few minutes reach the Double Churches, the most important building of the Christian era in Ephesus, At the beginning of the second century, when the city was still under Roman rule, an impressive building called the «Museion» was built in the middle of the city. This building, which was 98 feet wide and 883 feet long, was either used as an exchange or as a meeting place. The western part of this building was transformed into the first Christian basilica and dedicated ta the Virgin Mary. When the basilica, with Its high columns and mosaics, was too old to be used, the eastern part of the Museion was turned into a domed church. It is for this reason that these ruins are called the Double Churches, The baptismal section of the Double Churches was a fine building with many works of art. While complete immersion was the rule for the baptism of pagan converts, merely sprinkling water over Christian children was sufficient.

The Ecumenical Council of 431, attended by 200 bishops, met here and proclaimed the three dogmas of Catholicism:

1) Christ’s personality is one and divine.

2) The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.

3) During the execution of his religious duties the Roman Pontiff acts with a high and divine authority.

Jt is on account of this council that Ephesus will shine forever as a bright star in the history of Catholicism. The Arcadian Way (23): The Arcadian Way, the main street of the old city,-ran from the Great Theater to the harbor, a distance of 500 metres. The central part of the street is paved with large s* marble slabs to a width of 11 meters. Under this paving there is evidence of    a drainage    system running    the length of the    Street down to the    harbor, This    central part of    the street    was flanked on either side by a 5 meter-wide covered gallery which had a mosaic floor. At the    back of the    galleries there    were rows    of small    shops selling various goods. An    inscription tells    us that at    night the    Street was lit by lanterns and that the name of «Arcadia» comes from the fact that the street was restored in the time of the Emperor Arcadius (395-408 A.D.). There were monumental gates at both ends of the Arcadian Way built In the form of Victory Arches. The gate at the Great Theater end is too completely destroyed to make any reconstruction possible. Judging from the remains of the gate at the harbor end arid of parts leading out of the street, included In the gate’s structure were columns with ionic capitals, these gates were probably built In the first years of the imperial period. Three of four pillar bases are stiff to be seen fn the middle of the way. It 5s probable that there were statues of the four Evangelists on top of these large pillars. Some ornamentation leads us to think that this work belongs to the 6th century A.D,

The Great Theater (25): The Great Theater, magnificently set on the western slope of Panayirda£j, Is undoubtedly the most interesting of all the ruins in Ephesus. Building was begun in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) and completed in the reign of the Emperor Trajan [98-117 A.D,). The theater could seat £4,000 people but most of the seats have been removed ond used In the cons truction of later buildings. A wide .arcaded staircase led up to a colimined gallery around the top of the theater, thirty meters above the orchestra. In Hellenistic times the orchestra was used for plays but in the Roman period a stage (logeion). 2,7 metres higher, was used for the same purpose. The facade of the three-storied proscenium was richly decorated with columns, reliefs ond statues. The first two stories were built in the reign of Septimus Severus (193-211). There were ramps leading to the stage from the right and left and a staircase from the front. The columns which carried the marble floor of the stage are still to be seen. There were, at the front of the theater, five doors with statues above them, and three rows of columns. In early times the Great Theater was given over to the celebrations of the Festival of Artemis, protectress of the city, during the month of April. At this time 89 golden idols donoted to the temple were brought to the theater in procession with singing and dancing, and plays were performed before o huge crowd of visitors.

The Library of Celsus (27) : The famous Ephesus Library was situated to the south of the Agora. This elegant monument was built in A.D, 135 by Julius Aquila in memory of his father, Celeus Paiemaeanus of Sardis, Roman Senator and Proconsul of the province at Asia. After passing through a marble-paved courtyard twenty-one meters wide one reaches the main reading-room by nine wide marble steps. There are four bases for statues at the top of the staircase The floor of the main reading room is built on arched vaults and the inner and outer walls are separated by a corridor, thus protecting the library fram damp. The walls and floor of the room were completely faced with colored marble. Across the main reading room there was an exactly placed niche for offerings; to the right and left of the round niche and on the side walls were square niches containing cupboards to hold the rolled manuscripts. On the front of the library there was a two-storied gallery. A section sixteen meters high was very richly decorated with a raised column, door ornaments and sculptural architectural monuments, carving and decoration. These carvings are to be seen in the Vienna Museum, In a burial chamber In the lower part of the library can be seen a decorated white marble tomb in which Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus was buried. The life of Celsus Is related in Greek and Latin on the bases of the statues on each side of the library staircase.

The Agora (29) : Built in the form of a square, the Agora was surrounded by a double colonnade. In the center of the Agora rose a monumental «horologion» combining a sun-diai and a waterclock.  The eastern part of the Agora was attractive, because the shops 4 behind the eastern gallery were joined with a gallery on the west of the marble street. This gallery with Doric columns was built by the Emperor Nero. Many of the columns can still be seen in their original places. The statues and busts of famous citizens and statesmen were erected in the main square and galleries of the Agora.

The Temple of Serapis (30): To the West of the Agora there is a square, measuring seventy-three by one hundred and six meters. Columned galleries surrounded the square on three sides, the fourth (south) side being a prostyle tempie. This is the temple of Serapis which was found during the excavations of the square carriec’ out between 1913 and 1926. The front of the temple was twenty-nine meters wide, fifteen meters high and decorated with eight enormous monoliths, Corinthian columns, carved out of massive blocks of marble. Similar blocks seem also to have been used in the construction of the ornate roof and door supports. A huge door (the leaves of which were mounted on wheels to facilitate opening and closing) gave access to the Celia. Under the pavlng-stones and in various places in the Celia there were water conduits. No inscriptions have so far been found to indicate to whose worship this very costly building and the surrounding constructions were devoted. It is wrong to call it the temple of Claudius, since in style it belongs to the second half of the 2nd century A.D. Considering the popularity of Oriental gods at this time and the particularly close trade relations between Ephesus and Alexandria it seems likely that the temple was dedicated to an Egyptian god such as Isis or Serapis, An Egyptian temple is known to have existed at Ephesus, and the theory that the tempie was a Serapeum is supported by the presence of a piece of Egyptian granite and an Egyptian’s dedication to his Serapis-worshipping countrymen.

The Marble Street and Street of the Curetes (26-31): These are typical examples of the pillared streets characteristic of cities of Roman civilization. Lit at night by lanterns, mony of these streets were covered over at the top. In this way it was possible to walk about comfortably in times of heavy rain or excessive sunshine, One of the main streets of Ephesus, the Marble Street begins at the northeastern Koresos Gate, passes the Great Theater and the Agora, then from the front of the brothel turns away to the south east of the city and further on ends at the Magnesia Gate. It is lined with columns and contains a covered section from the Arch of Hadrian to the Magnesia Gate, this section was called the Street of the Curetes. The excavations have been completed-in recent years and there are now to be seen various public buildings and shops on either side of the Street of the Curetes. Extending on both sides of the street in front of the gallery were rows of statues of the town’s high – ranking public servants. These statues were made of bronze and marble. The bases of these statues may be seen still in place. On both sides of the street many capitals, incriptions, reliefs and parts of roofs stand in a line, witness to the elegance of the city. One notices the perfect drainage channels lining the street.

The Brothels (32): The city brothels stood right at the corner where these ruins dote from the 4th century A.D. They were unearthed in 1955. The main entrance to the building is on its western side. A narrow passage leads into diverse halls and rooms, all dedicated to Aphrodite Pandemos. At the extremity of the passage on the (eft. there is a sma!l basin where visitors had to wash the dust and dirt from their sandaled feet and address a prayer to a statuette of Aphrodite before entering into the brothels proper. Visitors were then admitted to the halls, it is here that they met the professional female inmates of the establishment. Then they retired to the lateral small rooms. These rooms have no windows, and are lit by candie light. In one of the rooms, the figures In mosaics of four ladies can be seen on the pavement, They represent the four seasons, signifying that ladies can be procured throughout the four seasons, or they may be the portraits of four of the principal inmates of the establishment. On the right of the mosaic-paved room stands a stone divan, the use of which needs no explanation. Wine was □ necessary aid to the conviviality of the establishment, and the wine press and wine vault are near the masalc-paved room. The baths on the eastern side were used for washing and resting. There is a sacred well (furnished nowadays with a hand pump/ at the spot leading to an exit to the street of the Curetes, on the western side of the brothels. It was supposed that sterile wormen who bore children after drinking from the sacred water demonstrated their gratitude by throwing an offering into the well. During excavations, a statue of Priapus, the god of the phallus, 120 pieces of ceramics, and a gold earring were found In the well. The statuette of Priapus has a sexual organ of very exaggerated size. A hole on the top of its head indicates that it was hung aloft to swing as the wind blew, Six candies with figures in relief were found also in this well.

The Temple of Hadrian (38) : Turning from the Marble Street Into the Street of the Curetes one is immediately struck by a very beautiful and decorative building on the [eft. This is the Temple of Hadrian built between 117 and 138 A,D, It measures 7.20 by 5 meters. The triangular pediment is supported by four Corinthian columns. The middle two columns support a rounded arch which has as its keystone a bust of Cybele. According to the Roman oracles, if it were possible to bring to Rome the sacred statue of Cybele from Pessinus in Asia Minor, Rome would conquer Carthage. The statue was taken to Rome and in this way, since Rome was victorious over Carthage, Cybele became the emblem of Rome and of Italy, Inside the temple on the wai! immediately opposite, there is a low relief of a Medusa keeping watch with her fearful eves. On either side of the Medusa there is a frieze depleting gods, goddesses and other mythological figures connected with the foundation of the city. ■There are still four pedestals for statues outside the front of the building. The temple was built in the 2nd century A.D. but was always in danger from earthquakes. It was repaired at a later date at which time the relief of gods and goddesses was added.

Baths of Scholasticlo (39): A staircase along the right of the Sanctuary of Hadrian leads up to the second floor of Scholasticia’s thermal baths. This bathhouse feli into ruins and was reconstructed by a woman named Schoiasticia during the 4 th century A.D. The bathhouse contains different sections, the Frigidarium, Tepidarium end Galdarium: The Tepidarium and Caldarium are for tepid and hot water respectively. It was the place where people perspired, The Frigidarium generally has a marble-lined swimming pool of cold running water. The bath house had enough room for a lot of bathers of both sexes. Coins found in the bathhouse in 1958 Indicate it was in use until the 8th century A.D. The huge hearths where water was heated were situated on the first floor. The third floor was a replica of the second floor.

The Palace (40): Opposite the temple to Hadrian a five-storied building was unearthed during recent excavations. There was a white marble atrium on the third floor with three porticoed sides. The side walls were covered with green and white veined marble. In the middle of the courtyard was a long pool with fountains at each end. There were statues above the walls of the pool. Beyond the courtyard was a spacious hall with a fountain on the right continuously pouring water, in the form of a semi-circie the fountain had three niches in front and two niches on either side which contained small statues. Now the fourth and fifth stories are completely ruined.

The Fountain of Trajan {42): On the left of the Street of the Curetes beyond the Temple of Hadrian there wae a two-storied building, a fountain bearing the name of the Roman Emperor Trajan, It was built between A.D. 98 and 117. The basin measures 12 by  neters. A vast statue of the Emperor Trajan, stood on the second storey^ the fountain. According to an existing inscription there was a statue of his father Nerva (Emperor from 96-98) in a niche on the left at the front and another of his mother on the right. The statue of Nerva is today in the Selcuk Museum.

The Triumphal Arch (44) : As we advance towards the Square ot Domitianus along the Street of the Cure tes, we encounter a Triumphal Arch decorated with reliefs of Heracles, it has been impossible to restore this arch, built about the end of the 4th Century A.D. and the beginning of the 5th and similar to- the Gate of Constantine in ‘Rome, as Its other architectural pieces have not been found. Traces of two roads, paved in marble, skirting the Triumphal Arch and leading to the slope of hill, were also discovered.

The Monument of Memiriius and the Hydreion (45) : A short distance away from the Triumphal Arch ore the remains of a large monument which embellished the Square of Domitianus. According to the inscription of the monument, which was found intact, it was built in the name of Memmius, a grandson of the Dictator Sulla, in the 1st Century A.D. during the reign of the Emperor Augustus. The base of the monument is decorated in the rustic style, while the higher parts are embeilished with various reliefs. In the 4th century, a large fountain (Hydreion). was added to the Northwest face of the monument.

The Temple of Emperor Domitianus (46): In front of the Hydreion and beyond the street of the Curetes Is a wide space which was once the courtyard of the temple of Domitianus. There were shops and stores of all kinds on either side of the temple. The massive walls rising on two sides of the courtyard served as terraces for the stupendous architecture of the sanctuary, which rose on the southern terrace. The stairs leading to the top are in a fairly good state of preservation. The emperor’s colossal statue stood on the top of this terrace. The statue is now in the Archaeological Museum at Izmir, The heaps of broken carved pieces lying all over the courtyard were found as they stand now, during the excavations. They belonged to buildings which stood in the other quarters of the city.

The Fountain of Polllo (47): On the Square of Domitianus, a ruined, large fountain decorated with a monumental arch attracts attention. The fountain, built in 93 A.D. by C. Atilius in the name of C. Sextlllus Pollio, poured its water Into a pool lined with marble slabs. The fountain, which was restored in recent years, was decorated with statues. The statues of the Ulysses and Polyphemos group, as well as the Reclining Warrior, which are now in the Ephesus Museum, were taken from here.

The Town Hall (Prytaneum) (49) : The town halls of ancient capital cities were seats -of prime importance, because they were H s the seats of the government of the city-states. The town hall of Ephesus is near the Hydreion. On its farther side it adjoins the Odeon. The vast complex building has a main portioned courtyard, which gave admission to an inner rectangular hall. This central portion of the edifice is flanked by different sections, halls, and rooms where the town councils met. The «holy of holies» af the city was the rectangular inner hall. On the foundation of a new colony or city, fire was taken from this altar and transported to the new settlement.’ The roof of this hail was supported by four triple columns of Corinthian styie. Three of these can actually be seen standing. In front of the altar in an.arched niche stood the idol of the goddess of the hearth, Hestia in Greek, and Vesta in Latin, in Christian times this sacred precinct was .transformed into a church, The place where the oltar stood is a black square on the white marble pavement. In the above-mentioned main courtyard, a large statue of Artemis was found during the excavations. This indicated that she also was worshipped as the mighty protectress of the city. The foundation walls of the earlier Hellenistic Prytaneum can be seen near the Odeon. The Roman Prytaneum had. toppled In the 4th century A.D., and its remains were used in the construction of the Baths af Sticolasiicia.

The Odeon (50) : Following the path towards the southeast one soon finds this beautiful little theater on the southern slope of Panayirdag. The Odeon was used for poetry-readi.ngs, smalt concerts and prize giving ceremonies. In Hellenistic times, theatres and adeons were as Important as temples In the life of the people. Enjoyment for the Romans meant food, games and spectacles. The cry of the decadent people for «Bread and Circuses» is witness to the countless mad spectacles that were provided.

Built into the slope of the hill, the amphitheater could seat 2,200 people. The upper closed part af the building was entered by two side doors. The twenty-three rows of seats were divided by a diazoma into two sections, thirteen below and ten above. The lower seats seem to have been wider than those above, The highest part of the theater was decorated with Corinthian columns made of red granite, The stage was not in fact very high but gave the impression of being richly ornamented with inscriptions and carving. The Odeon was built during the second century by Publius Vedius Antonius and fils wife Fiavia Pctpiana. Celebrations in the Odeon formed a large part of the festivals of Artemis.

The house of The Virgin Mary (61) : The Lord Jesus, bleeding On the Hill of Calvary, showed His Mother to St. John and said, «Here is your mother.» Pointing out St. John to His Mother He said, «Here is your son.» These words bound them together. In the   year   431  the Council of Ephesus,    meeting in the Church of Mary soid that this was the tradition: The very precious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with St. John, who took on the duty of looking after her in the place of Christ, set out for Asict Minor to spread Christianity, dwelt in Ephesus and died there The place of residence of the Virgin Mary in her last years long remained veiled in mystery. Following the revelations of Sister Catherine Emmerich, the scholar Young, with a commission from the government, uncovered the ruins of a building in the right place according to Sister Catherine’s descriptions.

The conclusion was reached that this ruin, which had been a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary In the fourth century, was,in the 1st century    A.D. the    house of the Virgin. Local tradition sup ported this. The Virgin Mary’s last dwelling place Is on a site with wonderful views, 9 km. from the smali town of Seicuk, on Aladag (Solmissos), 420 metres above sea-level, Pope John XXIII on the 18 th August 1961 proclaimed that the House of the Virgin Mary at Ephesus is a sacred place where religious ceremonies may be celebrated, The building is In the form of a «T» A door opens into a hall from which    the chapel    is entered, On each side    of the fireplace, where today there    is a  statue, one may enter the  chapei  The bed room was to the right of the chapel, the kitchen to the left.


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