Some sources say that the city was founded by the Amazons in the 3rd millenium BC. The Amazons were a race of woman warriors who lived in Anatolia. We see the mention of Amazons in the epic of Iliad and Odyssey by Homer. According to Epic of Odyssey,Amazons fought with the Trojans against the Mycenaeans and Spartans in the Trojan War.
At that time, their queen was killed by the Achaean hero Achilles. According to the legend, Amazons were furious women fighters who did not like men but used men for fertility reasons. Sources say that “Ephesos” was derived from the name of a successful Amazon queen named as Apasas.
In 11th century BC, Dor invaders coming from North, Macedonia migrated to mainland Greece and drive off the inhabitants to migrate. Among the minorities Ionians, Aeolians and some of the Dors migrated to western Asia Minor. Ionians were in Ephesus and surrounding. They founded 12 major new cities such as Miletus, Priene, Colophon..etc.
Ephesus became an important port city in the 6th century BC. The city extended around where the Temple of Artemis stands today. Ephesus was under Lydian and Persian rule till 4th century BC. Afterwards the famous Commander Alexander the Great conquered the city from Persians. After his death, one of his generals and successors Lysimachos ruled the city. During his time, the alluvial deposits carried by Kaystros river silted the harbor and constantly rising sea level submerged the old settlement and made the harbor impassable. The unfavorable condition of the harbor affected trade. Ephesus was located on low ground, and was completely flooded by the sea. A new enriched settlement including Gymnasiums, stadiums, fountains… is ordered by Lysimachos. The reasons for the new conception of the city were, the rise in level of the ground water, and the necessity of a new harbor due to silting. Inhabitants were transferred to the new city where it stands today; between two hills Preon and Pion. The new city followed the grid plan set down by Hypodomos of Miletus: the streets crossing each other at right angles. The plots, buildings appears as a chess board when viewed from the air.
In 2nd century BC Ephesus sided with Antiochus, the king of Syria against the Romans. After the defeat at Magnesia (Manisa) which is 100 miles north of Ephesus. Ephesus went under the rule of the King of Pergamon, an ally of Rome. After the Kings death, it became a Roman city. During the reign of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, the city bore the title of “the first and greatest metropolis of Asia.“
The peak times of Ephesus were during Hellenistic and Roman times. Ephesus, the jewel of Ionia, the largest Metropolis of Asia Minor, consisted of 200.000 citizens and 25.000 slaves (2nd century AD). During the feast days honoring Artemis, the population tripled. The city became the capital of Province Asia during the Roman Emperor Augustus in 2nd century AD. During this time Ephesus became a center for Art & Culture and a meeting place for Philosophy. The most famous philosopher from Ephesus isHeraklitos who lived at 4th century BC. In 2nd century AD many marble buildings were build and the streets were decorated with marble statues.
Although sacked by the Goths in 263 AD, Ephesus remained the most important city of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinoplein the 5th and 6th centuries. However, other destructions by the Arabs in the year 8th century AD caused a quick decline: the city was largely abandoned when the harbor completely filled in with river silt despite repeated dredges during the city’s history. The silt removed its access to the Aegean Sea. When the Seljuk Turks conquered it in 11th century, it was a small village. The Byzantines resumed control in 1100 and kept control of the region until the end of the 13th century. During Byzantine period the major settlement was in its first place at Ayasoluk (Hagios Theologos) Hill. Emir of Aydin, a Turkish state conquered the city in 14th century. Starting from 16th century, the city lost its importance and ruled by the Ottoman Empire.
Ephesus was an important center for early Christianity. Ephesus is vividly alluded to in Acts 19-20 in connection with St. Paul’s extended ministry at Ephesus. Paul used it as a base. He became embroiled in a dispute with artisans, whose livelihood depended on the Temple of Artemis there, and wrote Corinthians1 from Ephesus. Apostle Paul probably spent two and a half years in Ephesus during his 3rd missionary journey, until a riot forced him to leave the city rapidly. Some authorities believe that St. Paul was imprisoned in the so-called Prison of St. Paul in Ephesus. Later Paul wrote to the Christian community at Ephesus.
The Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province…After Domitian’s death the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, and at Ephesus he died about 100 at a great age. Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in Revelation. Ephesus was the setting for the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which the question of the Virgin Mary being the Mother of God was debated. In this council it was decided that Christ had a double nature as God and man, and the Virgin Mary was “Theotokos”, god-bearer. Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
Ephesus was very cosmopolitan; most of its inhabitants were Ionians, Jews, Romans, Egyptians. Greek was the official language. There were religious buildings for different faiths such as Serapis Temple for the Egyptians, a synagogue for jews where St. Paul preached. So far the synagogue has not been excavated by the archeologists. Some evidences were found, synagogue is believed to be either close to Church of Mary or the Theater Gymnasium.
Social classes were separated by birth and wealth. The city laws were engraved on marble slabs and were displayed in the main squares. Fortune telling was very common in Ephesus. Apollon Temples had been the main attraction by the people who would like to know about their futures. Lead and iron bars were used for the stability of the buildings and columns (Base-Foundation-Capital). During the Byzantine time “Spolio” recycled material is commonly used on constructions. Slabs on curetes & marble streets were covered with Marble panels which were glued with melted lead. During Hellenistic period main construction material was stones, Roman period was marble, Byzantine period was brick with spolio.
First excavations were started by John Turtle Wood, a British engineer who came to Selcuk for railway construction. He was the one who discovered the ruins in 1870’s. Later on Austrians took over him. For over 110 years excavations are run by Austrians. So far %12 of the city is excavated. Today Ephesus is 3 miles away from sea due to silting.
The Hellenistic Walls: The city walls were constructed during Lysimachos time at 3rd c. BC. These walls were 9km in length, 6 meters high, 2 meters thick and there were watch towers every 100 meters. These walls were built against constant attacks. These walls probably had several gates but the most important ones were the Gate of Magnesia and the Gate of Coressos. To the west of Mount Coressos a two storeyed watch tower stands, built to observe ships. Some historians say that Saint Paul was prisoned here.
Magnesia Gate is located at the eastern gate of the city walls. Since the gates are facing to the way to the city of Magnesia, they named the gate as “Magnesia Gate”. It was a triumphal arch gate. The middle arch was the largest for the vehicles to pass through. Next stands the east Gymnasium. Gymnasiums were the Roman Schools. East Gymnasium of the city was for the young women. It consists of an auditorium for ceremonies and conferences, bathing rooms, boutiques, a stadium. Bathing rooms were classified as 4 sections. Apodyterium for changing rooms, Frigidarium for cold bathing, Calderium for hot bathing, Tepidaruim for warm room.
Gymnasiums were for children between 7-15. The teachers used to be called “Pedagogos”. The goal of education was to be an effective speaker. In early Roman days, a Roman boy’s education took place at home. If his father could read and write, he taught his son to do the same. The father instructed his sons in Roman law, history, customs, and physical training, to prepare for war.Reverence for the gods, respect for law, obedience to authority, and truthfulness were the most important lessons to be taught. Girls were taught by their mother. Girls learned to spin, weave, and sew. At age 12 or 13, the boys of the upper classes attended “grammar” school, where they studied Latin, Greek, grammar, and literature. At age 16, some boys went on to study public speaking at the rhetoric school, to prepare for a life as an orator. A boy became a citizen at age 16 or 17.Coming of age, becoming a citizen, was quite a celebration. On a boy’s sixteenth or seventeenth birthday, the boy dressed himself in a white tunic, which his father adjusted. The day ended with a dinner party, given by the father, in honor of the new Roman citizen.
The sacred way (1 mile) linked Temple of Artemis with the Magnesian Gate. The sacred way was covered to protect the pilgrims from the rain.
Behind the upper parking lo,t a burial is located known as the Grave of St. Luke, one of the writers of the Bible. There is no evidence if he was buried here. This building may have served as a Herroon. From the carved cross figures on the stones, archeologists think this a site of worship by the christians.
The Varius Baths: Private Baths built at end of the 2nd century AD by Varius. One of the largest rooms would probably have been constructed on the order of Sophist Damianus.
State Agora & Basilica: The State Agora was a vast public square laid out and remodeled during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). It was a public area where people gathered for political, commercial and social reasons. Before entering to the agora people had to wash their hands in holy water. Two huge basins were placed for this purpose on either side of Magnesia Gate. It was bordered by stoas on three sides and decorated with sculptures. . In these stoas some days philosophers were giving courses to their pupils. In the center there was a temple dedicated to Isis, built for the visit of Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra in 42BC. All major laws and decisions were put the vote in this chamber
On the sides of State Agora big water reserves are important. Water used to be carried to the city by Aqueducts & terra cotta pipes from Belevi, Kustur, Colophon. Plumbus is the greek word for pipe.
Before the Lysamachus settlement, the Necropolis of the city was located here. It was one of the reasons why people refused to move the new city. During the Roman period necropolis was moved to Arvalya district.
Basilica is made up of an impressive colonnade situated in front of the Odeon. Decorated with Bull heads which symbolizes power. Basilica was the place where the Praetor, Roman magistrate who handed out justice, judged the court cases and solved the disagreements between tradesmen. Pink granite columns seen here are the proves of good relations & trade with Alexandria and Egypt.
Odeion: Odean name is derived from the word “ODEUS” which means singing in Greek. The Odeon in Ephesus was built in the 2C AD and had a double function. First it was a theater for theatrical performances as well as being the Bouleterion. It was the Senate House which was used by the boule, the advisory council of the city. It has always been very difficult to identify bouleterion buildings as they did not have typical characteristics. It was a two-storied building covered with a wooden roof with a seating capacity of 1,400 people. It consisted of three main sections; cavea, skene and proskene. The Boule held all political, executive, religious and judical power. Its responsibilities were to manifold: the construction of temples, theaters, baths, the collection of taxes and control over the running of public buildings. Ephesus was administered by its own senate who were elected each year by the Advisory council.
There were many concerts in the Odeion, mainly on feast days. The tiered seats were divided into two sections by a circular ambulatory known as a “diazoma”. Seats in the lower section were for important people and were wider than the upper ones. Among the upper seats there are circle gaps for late comers. These are called “Vomiterium”. Vomit is the greek word for mouth. Vomiteriums are shaped like an open mouth.
Prythaneion: The Prytaneion was the official administrative building or the city hall which housed the senior city officials. Prytarion had to approve all laws and decisions made by the advisory council. What characterized a prytaneion building as different from a bouleterion was an eternal flame or the sacred hearth of Hestia (Vesta – goddess of hearth & fire) in the prytaneion which is kept burning eternally by the Curetes, the six (later nine) priestesses of Hestia (vestal virgins). The flames were taken from the Mount Olympos when a new city was founded. In Turkey there are 7 mountains having the name Olympus. The real one is close to Antalya where there is a natural flame coming through the rocks. From an architectural standpoint it was like a private house. It contained an assembly hall, administrative rooms, the state archives and a dining hall in which officials and foreign visitors were welcomed. In front of the assembly hall there was a Doric courtyard. Some of the stones of the prytaneion were used in the restoration of the Scholastica Baths. Three statues of Artemis, “big”, “beautiful” and “small” were found there. One life-size and the other double life-size Artemis statues are kept in the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk.
Between Prythaneion and Memnius monument on the ground, there are traces of where street torch was put. Street torch was used here, not only to lighten the streets but for sailors as well. Once the sailors see that torch is off than they understand something was not going right in the city. Olive oil and salt was used for torches. In the Ancient times only 4 cities had these kinds of torches: Rome, Antiochia, Alexandria and Ephesus which were the biggest cities of the Ancient world. Pompeii was a big city but had only 30.000 population. Ephesus population was over 200.000. Since some portions of the city was lit up, rich people were escorted by their slaves at dark. Slaves used to carry a fennel stick for lighting flame. In mythology, Prometheus the rival of Zeus used also a fennel to steal fire from Mt. Olympos. Zeus hid the fire from humans to avoid them to cook meat however Prometheus cheated Zeus and stole fire and distributed back to humans. When Zeus saw that fire is again used by humans He punished Prometheus. He chained him and sent him to Caucasian mountains where two eagles ate his liver.
Afterwards hermes figure with pharmacy & medical(snake) carvings are noticed on the half columns. Hermes is the god of communication. Asclepius id the god of Medicine. Hygiene word is derived from Hygenia who is the daughter of Asclepius. The carvings represent of a hospital. Dr. Alexandros, Gynecologist Rufus and the bible writer Dr. Lukka were among the doctors who served in this hospital.
Memmius Monument : In late 1st C. BC both the city of Ephesus as well as a part of Asia Minor were conquered by the King of Pontus. Roman dictator Sulla delivered Ephesus from enemy occupation and settled in Ephesus, reorganized province of Asia, rewarded the towns which were faithful to Rome. In the memory of his victory Ephesians erected this monument to his grand child Memnius, commemorating the liberation of Ephesus.
The Polio Fountain was built in 93AD during the reign of Augustus by a wealthy Ephesian called Polio. Water brought by aqueducts is distributed from this fountain by a branching system of baked clay pipes. Richly decorated sculpture from the Hellenistic period was excavated there.
Domitian Temple: During the Roman period, Ephesians erected many buildings and temples, and dedicated them to emperors in order to secure good relations and the support of Rome. The Domitian Temple is one of them and is a 1C AD building. In the substructure of the building, parts of a huge statue which is four times larger than life were excavated and interpreted to be Emperor Domitian’s. This is the reason that the building was named as the Domitian Temple. But according to more recent research the statue is of the Emperor Titus. Before this recent research it was believed to be the first temple erected in the name of a Roman emperor who referred to himself as “ruler and god”. At the end of the 1C AD, when he was assassinated, his statue was smashed to pieces on the ground by a mob as he was not well-liked. The name of the temple might change anytime but still, it is believed to be the first temple of the cult of emperors in Ephesus.
Nike carvings in Domitian Square is taking attention. Nike is the goddess of victors who is represented with wings and golden palm leaf. Golden palm leaf is also the logo of Nike shoes. She is also the only goddess saying “Just do it” (Joke: sisters of Nike). This construction element was used as a capital of Hercules Gate.
Herakles (Hercules) Gate: The Gate was built in the form of a triumphal arch towards the second half of 4th c. The gate is named after Hercules due to the reliefs representing Hercules wearing lion’s skin. The gate was made narrow to prevent wheeled vehicles which came from the Magnesian Gate going into the city. In mythology, Hercules was a god who represented force, bravery. He was the god of agriculture, the protector of soil and honest business.
The Curetes Street lies between the Hercules Gate and the Celsus Library. Some name lists of the Curetes were inscribed on marble columns found on the north side of the street. The modern name of the street derives from these inscriptions. Curetes were priests of Artemis who were believed to help Artemis with new births. They used to serve in the Prytherion. In literary sources the street was called Embolos. French word Curetage meaning abortion is derived from the Curete word. The street was decorated by statues, wealthy homes, memorials, temples, fountains, porticos.. Only statue remained is the statue of a doctor called Alexander.
Fountain of Trajan is a 2C AD building with two stories built by an Ephesian in memory of the Emperor Trajan. In front of the building there was a pool with water cascading from beneath the colossal statue of Trajan. One foot of his statue can still be seen. The sphere under the foot signifies the world. In the 17th century Galilieo period, Europe was not sure if the world had a sphere shape. Aristotales knew that the world had sphere shape in 225BC. During that time Erathostenes calculated the diameter of the World. Statues of other emperors, gods and heroes stood in niches. The facade of the building is highly ornate with Corinthian columns on the upper story and Composite columns on the lower.
Temple of Hadrian: The Hadrian Temple was built in the 2C AD and renovated in the 4C AD in the name of the Emperor Hadrian.Hadrian was the Roman Emperor who ordered the walls between Scotland & England. It was originally in Corinthian style consisting of a cella and a porch (pronaos). The keystone of the arch has a relief of Tyche (Romans called her Fortuna), the goddess of fortune & destiny. In the lunette over the entrance to the cella, there is another relief of a semi-nude girl, probably of Medusa, in acanthus leaves. Medusa is a protective architectural element for evil. Friezes were added there from different places in Ephesus during a restoration in the 4C AD. They are scenes relating to the legendary foundation of the city. From left to right: Androclus, the mythological founder of the city, killing a wild boar ad battle with Amazons. Hercules rescuing Theseus, a mythological hero and the first true King of Athens, who was chained to a bench as a punishment by Hades for trying to kidnap Persephone from the underworld; Amazons, Dionysus on an elephant and his entourage; Emperor Theodosius I, an enemy of paganism, and an assembly of gods including Athena and Artemis. On the facade meander motives with sevastika(german cross) is taking attention.
Scholastica Baths was built in the beginning of the 2C AD and restored with stones brought from the Prytaneion by a rich Christian lady named Scholastica in the beginning of the 5C AD. Her seated statue is on the left hand side of the entrance to Apodyterium. There were 3 entrances. The building consists of an L-shaped apodyterium, a frigidarium, a tepidarium and a caldarium. Apodyterium was the place for undressing. If the person was rich their valuables were looked after by slaves. Frigdarium was for cold bathing. Round pool, overlaid in white marble still exists today. Water was brought through a system of pipes. Roof of the room was in the shape of a vault (flattened cone) The baths were lit by vents. From the frigidarium, one went to the Tepidarium(warm room) where mild temperature prepared the body for the more heat of the hottest room, Calderium. Tepidarium was heated by drains under the paving stones. These rooms were not for bathing but for massage, rubs… Last room calderium was heated by very hot steam. A highly technical (hypocaust) system of drains and pipes allowed water and air to be introduced to the right temperature. First bathers, perspired in the heat, then they washed themselves in the hot water, olive oil and scrapped their skin with a strigil, a curved instrument made of ivory or metal. Slaves kept the furnaces burning in the bath houses. There were separate hours for men and women. The women’s time slot was apparently much shorter. A trip to the bath was a very important part of ancient Roman daily life.
The Latrines were part of the Scholastica Baths and built in the 1C AD. They were for public use. Poor people, who did not have toilets at home, would use the public latrines. There were 3 rows of toilets along 3 sides of a square room, each being a hole in a marble bench, total number of toilets were 48, each was separated from each other by sculptured partitions which functioned also as arm rests. This room was kept cool in the summer by a central pool and was heated by an underground heating system (warm water from Scholostica Baths were used for heating the room) . There was roof over and a fountain in the middle. On the sides there were sticks with a sponge on the edge which were used of cleaning. These sponges were kept in vinegar for hygiene. The person was taking the stick and washing it with fresh water, running in the drains in front of the toilets before using it. Since this place was for relaxing and enjoying, people did not leave immediately after the call of nature but remained here for chatting.
Terrace Houses belonged to the rich people of Ephesus. They date back to the 1c. AD and some of them were used up to the 7C AD. Many of them were three-storied and had peristyles (courtyards surrounded by columns) surrounded by rooms without windows but included frescoes and mosaics of mythological scenes. They were luxuriously furnished private houses with fountains, private baths and central heating. Between the street and houses was a portico with a mosaic floor, behind which were shops. Size of the houses vary between 100-1000m2. Their homes were single family homes. Homes were made, quite often, of brick with red tile roofs, with rooms arranged around a central courtyard. The windows and balconies faced the courtyard, not the street, to keep homes safe from burglars. There were painting on the walls and beautiful mosaics on the floor. There was very little furniture, and no carpeting. Wealthy Romans might have a house with a front door, bedrooms, an office, a kitchen, a dining room, a garden, a temple, an atrium, a toilet, and a private bath.
Octagon was a vaulted burial chamber placed on a square pedestal with the skeleton of a 20-year old woman in a marble sarcophagus. According to an interpretation Octagon was a monument to Ptolemy Arsinoe IV who was murdered in Ephesus in 41 BC. This murder is believed to be ordered by Cleopatra & Mark Anthony to avoid Arsinoe to be the the next queen of Egypt.The poison used called Arsenic which is derived from her name.
Heroon was a 2C BC U-shaped building with an open Ionic upper story. Water ran through a channel in front of the building. The gable and frieze had reliefs depicting Androclus killing a wild boar. The building is thought to have been a monument to Androclus.
Hadrian’s Gate/The Triumphal Arch is located at the junction of the Curetes Street and the Marble Road. Because of the limited original substance a complete reconstruction has not been possible. The gate house has three stories. On the first storey there are three entrances. The one in the center is wider and spanned by an arch and the other two side entrances are capped by architraves. The second story was formed of four pillars and the third story of six pillars. A gable marks the top of the building.
Library Square, in addition to being an important stopping point on the processional route in archaic times, was also part of a burial street until the 3C BC with buildings like the Octagon, Heroon, Celsus Library and the Sarcophagus of the sophist Claudius Flavianus Dionysius Rhetor under the ramp of the Marble Road. It was also used as an auditorium by poets, philosophers and orators who seated themselves and shared their ideas in front of the library.
Celcus Library: was built ca. 110 B.C.. by Gaius Julius Aquila in memory of his father, Celcus (former proconsul of the Province of Asia and friend of the Emperor Trajan -106BC died), and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. In the Roman period all but the bodies of heroes were buried outside the borders of cities. Aquila was granted permission for his father to be buried in a marble grave in a burial chamber in the library. Celsus’s sarcophagus lay inside the building, under the middle apse.
Scrolls were kept in the niches of the walls. Scrolls were made papyrus and parchment. Parchment in Greek Pergamene means skin of Pergamon, the city where parchment was invented. Parchment is the skin of a sheep or of a goat from which the hairs have been removed by means of lime. Kings of Egypt were jealous because of the rapid expansion of the library in Pergamon. They banned the export of Papyrus. Two scholars in Pergamum created the parchment. During this time, Celcus Library was the third largest library. The largest one was in Alexandria and the second was in Pergamum with 25,000 scrolls.
Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light. An underground tunnel, marked by the simple figures of a woman, a heart, and a price, leads from the library to a nearby building believed to have been a drinking establishment or brothel. The facade has two stories with three entrances in the lower storey and three window openings in the upper story. The columns at the sides of the facade are shorter than those at the center, giving the illusion of the building being greater in size. The three entrances are flanked by four niches with statues representing the virtues of Celsus, Sophia (Wisdom), Areté (Valor), Ennoia (Thought) and Epistémé (Knowledge). The semicircular niche on the main floor facing the central portal probably contained a statue of Athena.
Gate of Mazeus & Mithridates: Mazaeus-Mithridates Gate is the triple gateway next to the Celsus Library which opens into the commercial agora forming its southeast gate. According to the inscriptions in Latin, it was built by two freed slaves Mazaeus and Mithridates in honor of Augustus and his family. According to the inscriptions in Greek, Mazaeus and Mithridates dedicated the gate to their masters.
Right hand section of the gate there is an inscription saying “he who urinates this place will be pursued by the avenging spirit of the goddess Hecate”
Agora: The Commercial Agora was an open square with sides 110 m / 360 ft long and surrounded by stoas with two aisles behind which were shops. It was the center of the commercial world in Ephesus. In addition to the marketing of goods there was also a slave market of beautiful girls brought from different places by sea. It was the second largest slave market of the Ancient World. A water-clock and a sundial as parts of a horologium stood in the middle of the agora. Water clock which drained out every 20 minutes was used in court proceedings, to measure out the speaking time allotted to each person. An inscription found on the wall of agora says “The people of Ephesus express their gratitude to agoranome, (market supervisor) Eutuches, son of Menecrates, for having pre-empted a rise in the price of bread”
Temple of Serapis is located right behind the Celcus Library. Dating from 2nd c. AD. Serapis was the combined features of Isis and Osiris, was a supreme god, as was Zeus in Asia Minor. She was a goddess of family protection. She was represented in the form of a woman with the cows head. She was considered by the guardian of sailors and worshipped in many ports of the Greek world. The building was converted into a church during Byzantine rule.
Marble Road: The Marble Road is another main street between the library and the theater, but it was originally part of the sacred road stretching to the Artemis Temple. Traces of chariots can be seen here. On the west side in the middle of the marble road, on the pavement is a piece of marble with graffiti showing a woman with a crown, a heart and a left foot. This is accepted as being the earliest advertisement in the world probably of a lady in the so-called brothel for sailors. Among its various interpretations is that “if you want to make love with this particular lady (her name was written there) who was as beautiful as queens, keep going in this direction and she is on the left-hand side of the street”.
Brothel: An inscription over the entrance way informs us that this public building served as a brothel with with two floors, the upper floor being for ladies and the ground floor for visitors. In the main hall there are some remains of mosaics depicting scenes of the four seasons. The statue of Priapus which is exhibited in the Ephesus Museum was found there. Priapus was the son of Aphrodite and Dionysus. Portrayed as a grotesque little man with a huge phallus, he was associated particularly with fertility rites and also protected crops and gardens from animals, birds and thieves.
The Great Theatre was constructed in the Hellenistic period but remodeled many times in the Roman period. It took 60 years to complete. It is the largest theater in the Asia Minor with accommodation for 25.000 people; 24.000 seats and 1000 standing places. It was originally two-storeyed and was heightened by one storey at a later date. Served not only for dramatic performances, but also for demonstrations of a social, political, economic, religious nature and for gladiator games.
Theater name is derived from the Greek word “Theatron” which means” the place to observe”. The half circle shaped section was called “orchestra”.
Performances were held on the stage building called “Skene”. Skenes were 2 storeys in Hellenistic period and 3 storeys during Roman peroid. The reason having them 3 storey building is to let the spectators focus to the plays. Sitting section is called cavea. The round access sections are called ‘Diazoma”. All performances were during the day. Usually there was an admission for entrance. Tickets small coins showing where the spectators will seat. Mid. 1st century some gladiator games were performed in this theater.
This theater was the place where St. Paul preached. However, a goldsmith by the name of Demetrius provoked his fellow-craftsmen to a public out cry against Paul, with the cry “Great is Artemis of Ephesians”. He did it because he thought this new religion could ruin their businesses. They made their living by selling statues of Artemis to pilgrims visiting there from far and wide.
The Theater Gymnasium has both school and bathing complex. Because of its close proximity to the theatre. Archeologists named it as the theater gymnasium.
Harbor Street: Also known as Arcadiane, was a great colonnaded avenue which was renovated at the beginning of the 5C AD in honor of Emperor Arcadius. It was 1740 ft long and 36 ft wide leading from the harbor to the theater. It was paved in marble and had shops behind the colonnades. The two pedestrian walks in the colonnades were 16 ft wide and paved with mosaics. At night the Arcadiane was lit by torches, making Ephesus, along with Rome and Antioch, one of the three ancient cities known to have had street lighting. Somewhere in the middle of the avenue stood a monument of four Corinthian columns probably erected in the 6C AD which supported the statues of the four apostles. On either tip of the street, there was a three-bayed triumphal arch the largest among the 6 triumphal arches at Ephesus.
Harbor Gymnasium & Baths: One of the 4 gymnasiums of the city. Probably the largest ones since it is called “The Great Gymnasium” by the Ephesians. According to some historians, boat passengers and crew were first required to bath in these baths before proceeding to the Arcadian way to enter the city. These baths also functioned as a quarantine for disembarking boat passengers.
The Church of the Virgin Mary: The third ecumenical council in 431AD was held here. It is the first church named after Virgin Mary which was ordered by Emperor Constantin. The councils aim was to put an end to the controversies concerning the divinity of Christ and the sanctity of the Holy Virgin. Council ruled that God was one being, though two natures the Father and the Son, and that the Virgin Mary was truly the mother of Christ (Theotokos – god bearer). In the 7th century church fell into ruin. Byzantines raised a new church on very same site, For this reason the basilica has been named as “The Double Church”
Stadium & Vedius Gymnasium: Stadium is actually a measurement which is equal to 600 feet. Two huge vaulted doorways lead into the oval shaped stadium built in the Hellenistic Era and modified under Nero(54-68AD). As there was no amphitheater in Ephesus, this stadium functioned both as a Greek type of Stadium and as a Roman theatre. In stadiums sports such as running races, wrestling, boxing, pancreas and penthatlon were played.
The amphitheater is a Roman invention. Its purpose was particularly for chariot races, gladiatorial combats, athletic contests as well as other sporting activity.
The Composition of the Stadium was formed by 2 theaters, placed one opposite to each other. The chariots had to make 7 entire laps before beginning the games. The 2 (biga) or 4 (quadriga) horse chariots thrust away as as the starting signal was given. The victory of a charioteer was considered as national victory and a defeat as a public catastrophe.
Vedius Publies a wealthy Ephesian dedicated this gymnasium to Artemis and the Emperor Antonius Pius.