Temple of Artemis

 

 

 

Antipater of Sidon wrote:

 

I have seen Babylon,

Chariots riding upon

Its wall,

High gardens overfall.

The Colossus of the Sun,

And Zeus Olympian.

Marvelling at all,

How high Mausolus is hid

I know each pyramid.

 

But when I’d seen

Where Artemis’s

Temple kisses

The clouds, these lost their sheen,

This side of Heaven, I swear,

Sun gains no sight so fair.

 

 

TOUR

 

 

 

Coin depicting the Temple at Ephesus,

and the statue of Artemis

(note the name Diana)

 

Unfortunately by the time the search started in earnest for the temple in 1863, its site was completely unknown and it was a further eleven years before it was excavated. Desecration and the pillaging of building materials from the site had by this time reduced this “wonder of the ancient world” to a mere cluster of stones. and only a few standing columns remained.

The temple to Artemis, located outside Ephesus, was the most important in the world, and many worshippers from across the world made a pilgrimage to it. A building of mammoth proportions, it contained a life size statue of the Goddess. Artemis was the principal Greek Goddess of Ephesus. She and her twin brother Apollo were the children of Zeus and Leto. Artemis is often described as a virgin huntress, but came to love her brother Apollo, and bore a child to him. Therefore at Ephesus, she was worshipped as a Mother Goddess, a provider of fertility, and overseer of childbirth. The temple was destroyed by Goths in AD 262 and the statue was stolen.

Figurines of Artemis, by that time known to the Romans as Diana, were made in Ephesus. Acts 19 refers to a group of Ephesian silversmiths, who made small silver shrines for the Goddess and sold them to visiting worshipers.

 

Paul said: the temple of the great Goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when the Ephesians heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Acts 19