ancient ephesus

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The seven wonders of the ancient world by Te Hu
Hanging gardens of Babylon (Iraq)

Great pyramid of Giza (Egypt)
The lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt)

Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)
Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece)

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Turkey)
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey)

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From the source:

The bee on the front, and the palm tree and the stag on the back of this four-drachma coin, a tetradrachm, are emblems of Ephesus, a Greek city on the west coast of Turkey. This city was an important center of worship of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the images on Ephesian coinage represent her. Originally the bee was the symbol of an early Anatolian goddess who the Greeks later identified with Artemis. So close was the connection between Artemis and bees that the priestesses of the goddess were called “honey bees.” The two Greek letters, epsilon and phi, on either side of the bee are an abbreviation for Ephesus.

On the back, the palm tree alludes to Artemis’ birthplace, the island of Delos, where, under a palm tree, the goddess Leto gave birth to Artemis and her twin brother, Apollo. The forepart of a stag symbolizes Artemis’ affinity with animals, and may also refer to the stag figures that flanked her cult statue in the temple at Ephesus. The inscription names a man, Karno, who was probably one of the magistrates supervising the mint.

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Bee Coin From Ephesos, Ionia, C. 390-325 BC

A silver tetradrachm. Obverse: Magistrate Antialkidas. E-Φ , bee with straight wings. Reverse: ANTIAΛKIΔAΣ, forepart of a stag to right, its head turned back to face left, a palm-tree on left.

Ephesos (Ephesus) used the bee on its coins since it was a producer of honey, so the bee advertised their most famous product. The bee was also mythologically connected to Ephesus because, according to Philostratos, the colonizing Athenians were led to Ephesus and Ionia by the Muses who took the form of bees.

The city was also the location of the famous Temple of Artemis. Her priestesses were called ‘melissai" or “honey bees” of the goddess. The stag, like the one used on this coin is also an attribute of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. This animal was regarded as sacred to her and stag figures were said to have flanked the cult statue of Artemis in her  temple at Ephesus. The palm tree on the obverse alludes to Artemis’ birthplace, the island of Delos, where the goddess Leto gave birth to Artemis and her twin brother Apollo underneath a palm tree. This coin represents its city of origin well.

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in Izmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists.

flickr

Mosaic and Fresco of Flower of Life from Hillhouses of Anciennt Ephesus by Ken & Nyetta

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July 21st 356 BCE: Temple of Artemis destroyed

On this day in 356 BCE, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Turkey - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - was destroyed in an act of arson. The great temple was commissioned around 550 BCE by Croesus, king of Lydia, and designed by Cretan architect Cherisiphron, to worship the Greek goddess Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto, who was believed to have been born at Ephesus. The statue of Artemis that resided the temple, however, borrowed from depictions of Eastern goddess Cybele, demonstrating the religious syncretism common at Ephesus. The temple was famous for its marble construction, exquisite art, and sheer scale, measuring around 110 by 55 metres and including 127 sixty-foot columns. These physical features were described by Pliny, and, coupled with its importance as a pilgrimage site, led contemporary writers to declare the Temple of Artemis a wonder of the ancient world. The temple was set on fire by a madman named Herostratus, who sought personal fame; it certainly worked, though at the time Ephesians forbade anyone from mentioning his name. The date for this act of arson is largely based on the tradition that it coincided with the birth of Alexander the Great, with the story going that Artemis was too preoccupied delivering Alexander to save the temple. A reconstruction of the temple was destroyed by invading Goths in 262 CE, and another reconstruction was destroyed in 401, but as most Ephesians had by then converted to Christianity the pagan temple was not rebuilt. Now all that remains of the Temple of Artemis are fragments and individual items, many of which reside in the British Museum. 

“I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy
- Antipater of Sidon on the ancient wonders

Hellenistic Era

The Hellenistic Age marks the transformation of Greek society from the localized and introverted city-states to an open, cosmopolitan, and at times exuberant culture that permeated the entire eastern Mediterranean, and Southwest Asia. While the Hellenistic world incorporated a number of different people, Greek thinking, mores, and way of life dominated the public affairs of the time. All aspects of culture took a Greek hue, with the Greek language being established as the official language of the Hellenistic world. The art and literature of the era were transformed accordingly. Instead of the previous preoccupation with the Ideal, Hellenistic art focused on the Real. Depictions of man in both art and literature revolved around exuberant, and often amusing themes that for the most part explored the daily life and the emotional world of humans, gods, and heroes alike.

The autonomy of individual cities of the Classical era gave way to the will of the large kingdoms that were led by one ruler. As Alexander left no apparent heir, his generals controlled the empire. They fought common enemies and against each other as they attempted to establish their power, and eventually, three major kingdoms emerged through the strife that followed the death of Alexander in 323 BCE and persisted for the most part over the next three hundred years.

Several Greek cities became dominant in the Hellenistic era. City-states of the classical Greece like Athens, Corinth, Thebes, Miletus, and Syracuse continued to flourish, while others emerged as major centers throughout the kingdoms. Pergamum, Ephesus, Antioch, Damascus, and Trapezus are few of the cities whose reputations have survived to our day.  None were more influential than Alexandria of Egypt however. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great himself in 331 BCE and very quickly became the center of commerce and culture of the Hellenistic world under the Ptolemies. Alexandria hosted the tomb of Alexander the Great, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the faros (lighthouse) of Alexandria, and the famed Library of Alexandria that aspired to host the entire knowledge of the known world.

Σοφία Κέλσου, Library of Celsus, Ephesus.
Personal photography © 2010

Ephesus (Greek: Ἔφεσος) was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia. It was built in the 10th century BC by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The library of Celsus is an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Anatolia. It was built in honour of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus (completed in 135 AD). Celsus had been consul in 92 AD, governor of Asia in 115 AD, and a wealthy and popular local citizen. He was a native of nearby Sardis and amongst the earliest men of purely Greek origin to become a consul in the Roman Empire and is honoured both as a Greek and a Roman on the library itself. Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. Celsus is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the library, in the main entrance which is both a crypt containing his sarcophagus and a sepulchral monument to him. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits, so this was a special honour for Celsus.

Ancient Coin Showing The Earliest  Greek Map and The First Relief Map Known, C. 350-333 BC

It has been interpreted that this remarkable reverse design on this coin is a relief map of the hinterland of Ephesus, which would make it the earliest Greek map and first physical relief map known. On the right (north) are the  Tmolos and Messogis mountains between the river valleys of the Caÿster and Maeander, to the left of which are three mountain ridges (Madranbaba Dagi, Karincali Dagi, and Akaba Tepesi, Turkey).

This is the seventh and finest known example of this issue. It’s a Greco-Persian silver tetradrachm attributed to an uncertain Satrap from Ionia during the Achaemenid period circa 350-333 BC,  just before the invasion of Alexander the Great.  This coin and others like it were probably struck at Ephesos under the Persian general Memnon of Rhodes, circa 336-334 BC, in order to pay his army after he had captured the city, but before his defeat by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC.

(Obverse: Persian king Darius III, wearing kidaris and kandys, in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear in right hand, bow in left; [Π]YΘAΓ-O-P-H[Σ] around.  Reverse: Incuse rectangle, containing pattern possibly depicting relief map of the hinterland of Ephesos.)

Another similar coin…