Asia Minor - Turkey
20.06.2009 31 °C
Ephesus lies beside Selcuk and Kusadasi in Asia Minor (Anatolia), Turkey.
It was an ancient Greek city in the region known as Ionia during the Classical period.
Photo: An ancient Greek inscription and the Library of Celsus.
The Library of Celsus dominates to the south of the Tetragonos Agora in Ephesus. It was built in the 2nd century AD to serve as a burial monument dedicated to Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the Roman senator and proconsul of Asia. The construction was financed by his son, Tiberius (or Gaius) Julius Aquila. Its luxurious facade forms an impressive architectural complex. The style of the library, with its ornate, balanced, well-planned facade, reflects the Greek influence on Roman architecture. The building materials, brick, concrete, and mortared rubble, signify the new materials that came into use in the Roman Empire at this time. The interior of the niches was adorned with four statues representing female abstract concepts: Sofia (Wisdom), Arete (Virtue), Ennoia (Insight) and Episteme (Knowledge). They are personifications of the virtues of Celsus but also of the virtues the life of high Roman officials should have had. This type of facade with inset frames and niches for statues is similar to that found in ancient Greek theaters (the stage building behind the orchestra, or skene) and is thus characterized as "scenographic". The inside of the building, not fully restored, was a single rectangular room with a central apse framed by a large arch at the far wall. A statue of Celsus or of Athena (Greek goddess of wisdom) stood in the apse, and Celsus’ tomb lay directly below in a vaulted chamber. Along the other three sides were rectangular recesses that held cupboards and shelves for the 12,000 scrolls.
History of Ephesus:
Traces of habitation in the area of Ephesus date from the Neolithic period and Copper Age. According to myth, Ephesus was founded by Androklos, the son of the Athenian King Kadros (Codrus), and a mixed population from Athens, Samos and Aetolia. When they went there they found a pre-existent settlement built by Lelegians and Carians or Lydians. The Greek colonists drove the natives out of the upper city but did not harm those living around the sanctuary. They identified the goddess of the natives with Artemis and founded the first fortified position. Around 550 BC, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis (Greek: Artemision) was built. Androklos was able to join the twelve cities of Ionia together into the Ionian League (Dodecapolis). Later, Greek historians such as Herodotus however reassigned the city's mythological foundation to Ephos, queen of the Amazons. The Ephesians participated in the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule in the Battle of Ephesus (498 BC), an event which instigated the Greco - Persian wars. In 479 BC, the Ionians, together with Athens and Sparta, were able to oust the Persians from Anatolia. In 478 BC, the Ionian cities entered with Athens and Sparta the Delian League against the Persians. During the Peloponnesian War, Ephesus was first allied to Athens but sided in a later phase, called the Decelean War, or the Ionian War with Sparta. As a result, the rule over the kingdoms of Anatolia was ceded again to Persia. In 336 BC, when Parmenion campaigned to Asia Minor, Ephesus was convulsed by a pro - Macedonian democratic revolt that overthrew the pro - Persian oligarchy. When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC, the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated. Alexander was greeted warmly in Ephesus when he entered it in triumph. After Alexander died Ephesus came under his general Perdiccas and other successors such as Antigonus, Demetrius, and Ptolemy XII (Hellenistic period). Later, Ephesus became subject of the Roman Republic. Ephesus played an important role in the events in the province during Mithradatic War I (90-86 BC). The invasion of the king of Pontus Mithradates VI to the province of Asia fired unprecedented enthusiasm accompanied by the hatred against the Romans. The Ephesians played the leading part in anti-Roman demonstrations. Ephesus came back under Roman rule in 84 BC and was asked to pay high war indemnities. In 48 BC, Julius Caesar landed there and tried to reorganise the province. In 41 BC Marcus Antonius entered the city as a New Dionysus during a Bacchic ritual. He gathered the Greeks in the city and demanded that they pay him taxes for 2 years. Antonius returned with Cleopatra in 33 BC. When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, he made Ephesus the capital of the Roman province of Asia. Ephesus was an important center for early Christianity. Apostle Paul stayed there for some time. According to the occult Christian literature, the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist stayed in Ephesus for a long time. Ephesus remained the most important city of the Byzantine Empire in Asia after Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries. The emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected a new public bath. In 406 John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, ordered the destruction of the Temple of Artemis. The Seljuk Turks conquered the region in 1071-1100 and it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1390. Efes is the Turkish name for Ephesus.
©2009 Jordan Kevrekidis