The Temple of Artemis or Artemision also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. It was located in Ephesus (near the current town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey). One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was totally reconstructed three times before its final destruction in 401 AD. Sculptural fragments of the latest of the temples in the site and only bases stay.
Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, imputed it. In the 7th century BC, a flood ruined the old temple. Its reconstruction began around 550 BC, in the expense of Croesus of Lydia, below the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes: the job took to perform. The temple was destroyed in 356 BC by an action of arson and was again rebuilt, this time as the Wonder.
Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the record of the Seven Wonders, describes the temple that is finished:
I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, along with the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and also the hanging gardens of Babylon, and also the colossus of the Rhodes, and also the huge labour of the high pyramids of Giza, and the vast tomb of Mausoleum; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and that I said, “Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand”
Table of Contents
- 1 Location and History of Temple of Artemis
- 2 Modern Assumptions about Temple of Artemision
- 3 Destruction of Temple of Artemis (Diana)
Location and History of Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis was located near the primeval city of Ephesus, about 75 kilometers south from the modern port city of İzmir, in Turkey. Now the site lies on the edge of the current town of Selçuk.
Image Source: Britannica
The sacred site (temenos) at Ephesus was far older than the Artemision itself. Pausanias was specific that it antedated the Ionic immigration by a long time, being older compared to the oracular shrine of Apollo at Didyma. He said that the pre-Ionic inhabitants of the city were Lydians and Leleges. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis imputed the first temenos at Ephesus to the Amazons, whose worship he visualized already centered upon an image (bretas) of Artemis, their matron goddess. Pausanias says that Pindar considered the temple’s foundation Amazons to have already been involved with all the siege at Athens. Tacitus also believed in the Amazon foundation, however Pausanias believed the Amazons were predated by the temple.
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Modern Assumptions about Temple of Artemision
Modern archaeology cannot affirm the Amazons of Callimachus, but Pausanias’s report of the website ‘s antiquity appears well founded. Before World War I, site excavations by David George Hogarth identified three successive temple buildings. Re-excavations in 1987–88 verified that the site was inhabited as early as the Bronze Age, using a sequence of pottery finds that go forward to Middle Geometric times, when a peripteral temple with a floor of hard-packed clay was assembled in the 2nd half the 8th century BC. The peripteral temple at Ephesus offers the earliest instance of probably the earliest Greek temple surrounded by colonnades everywhere, and a peripteral kind on the coast of Asia Minor.
In the 7th century BC, a flood destroyed the temple, depositing over the initial clay floor over half a meter of sand and flotsam. One of the flood debris were the remains of the Tree of Life, seemingly North Syrian and also a carved ivory plaque of a griffin, and some drilled tear-shaped amber drops of elliptical cross-section. Bammer notes that though the site was prone to flooding, and lifted by silt deposits about two meters between the 8th and 6th centuries, along with a further 2.4 m between the sixth and the fourth, its continued use “suggests that preserving the identity of the actual place played an important role in the holy organization”.
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Destruction of Temple of Artemis (Diana)
In 356 BC, the temple was destroyed in a vainglorious action of arson with a guy, Herostratus, who set fire to the wooden roof -beams, seeking fame at any cost; thus the term herostratic celebrity. For this particular outrage, the perpetrator was sentenced by the Ephesians to death and forbade anyone from mentioning his name; but Theopompus afterwards noted it. Plutarch remarked that Artemis was too preoccupied with the delivery to save her temple that was burning of Alexander.
Alexander offered to pay for the temple’s rebuilding; the Ephesians tactfully reconstructed it after his passing, at their very own expense, and eventually refused. Work started in 323 BC and continued for many years. The third temple was bigger in relation to the second; 137 m (450 ft) long by 69 m (225 feet) wide and 18 m (60 ft) high, with more than 127 columns. Athenagoras of Athens names Endoeus, a student of Daedalus, as sculptor of Artemis’ chief cult image.
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After six years of hunting, an expedition sponsored by the British Museum and headed by John Turtle Wood rediscovered in 1869 the site of the temple. These excavations continued until 1874. A few additional fragments of sculpture were uncovered during the 1904–1906 excavations. The recovered sculptured fragments of the 4th century rebuilding as well as a few from the sooner temple, which was found in the debris fill for the rebuilding, were assembled and shown in the “Ephesus Room” of the British Museum. Additionally, the museum has part of possibly the oldest pot-hoard of coins on the planet (600 BC) that were buried in the foundations of the Archaic temple.
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Today the site of the temple, which lies just outside Selçuk, is marked by one column assembled of dissociated fragments detected on the site. This temple of Artemis in Turkey is one of the biggest block of history that is why it is included in one of the ancient 7 wonders of the world. Travel this historical site once in your lifetime. Also have a look at these natural wonders in the world.