Ephesus History

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THE VARIUS BATHS

When you enter to the city from the upper  gate -original name is ‘Magnesian Gate’-, the first building you will is the Various Baths .  It was a private bath constructed by Flavius Domianus in the 2nd century AD. This was a typical thing for Romans  to built  baths at the main gates of their cities. Like any other roman bath this one also has a caldarium section which is the hot section, ‘tepidarium’ the warm & frigidarium the cold section.  For sure this building has an underground heaitng system which is called hypocaust system. But the excavation of only one part of baths has been undertaken till today.

THE STATE AGORA

It is 160*56 meters measuring agora. It dates back to the 1st century BC. Unlike the commercial agoras, the state agoras were semisacred areas where religious,social and political meetings were held and decisions taken under the supervision of the state. In the middle of the state agora there was a rectangular temple dedicated to the goddess ‘ISIS’.  The group of statues called ‘Odysseus-Polyphemus’ formed the pediment of the temple anda re now exhibited in the Museum of Ephesus.

TIP:  You can view many terracotta pipes just at the entrance of the agora and understand the material  they used for water & heating system.

ODEON (BOULETERION)

ODEON (BOULETERION)

Odeon was built around 150 AD. It had the aspects of a small theatre . Its difference from a  theatre was that it was once covered with a wooden roof. This building as Odeon was used  for concerts and as Bouleterion it was used for boule meetings. The city was governed by a system which had two councils. The council called ‘Nation Council’ had all the Ephesus people as their members and they did their meetings at specific times of a year at the big theatre. The second council calles ‘Boule’ had less members than the other one (about 300 people) and it was a consultation council and they used this building as their meeting place. Its capacity was around 1400 people.

TIP: Between the Odeon and Prytaneion there is a beautiful Roman Arch. Before passing this arch, lean your shoulder to the wall on the right side, see the column at the back just in the middle of the arch and take a photo.  With this way you can see two different architectures in one photo because arch is Roman, column is Greek style.

PRYTANEION

PRYTANEION

The area where government agora, bazilika bouleterion and prytaneion presents is called ‘Government quarter of the town’. Prytaneion dates back to the 3rd century BC. It was also called the municipality building and executive council ruling Ephesus had their meetings here and recieved their official guests. There was a holy fire of ‘Hestia’ in the middle of the building. This ‘eternal flame’ of Ephesus burned day and night for centuries. Prytanship was the highest religious and administrative function in Ephesus. Prytans, belonging to a distinguished class of people in the city, were in charge of keeping the eternal flame in the temple burning. Two statue of Artemis were found here and are now on display in the Museum of Ephesus.

CURETES STREET

CURETES STREET

Curetes street starts from Prytaneion, passes the Domitian Square and goes till the Celsus Library. This street paved with marble. The inscriptions on the columns in Prytaneion is the name list of Priest class called Curetes. They were highly respected because they raised a lot of uproar and clamour while Leto was giving birth to ‘Artemis’ after impregnated by Zeus so Hera ‘the wife of Zeus’ could not hear the cries of the baby. Thus they saved the life of ‘Artemis’.

DOMITIAN SQUARE AND TEMPLE

This square was named  after Emperor Domitianus. He became emperor in the year 81 AD. He had a despotic character and he persecuted many christians. He proclaimed himself ‘Dominus et Deus’(Master & God). A temple was built in the name of him in the 1st century AD. It was constructed on a high and wide terrace. The temple of Domitian was the first temple built for an emperor in Ephesus. By building a temple in the name of an emperor, Ephesus got the title ‘neocoros’ (warden of specific major temples under their cotrol).  The claim to be neocoros was a source of prestige. After Emperor Domitian was killed by his servant in the year 96 AD , he was cursed by the people, the temple was destroyed and  the name Domitian was erased from the inscriptions. The temple was dedicated to Domitian’s father Vespesian later on.  The emperor statue, probably was next to the altar and was 7 m high with its base, found in pieces. The head of this statue is 1 m high, its one arm and the altar are exhibited in the museum today.

POLLIO FOUNTAIN

The Pollio Fountain with a wide and high arch is located on the side of the state agora and it is facing to the Domitian Temple. It was built by C.Sextillius Pollio in the year 97 AD. The fountain which has an apse was ornamented with many statues. It has semi-circular pool in the front. The water was flowing in the pool from the canal at the agora side.

MEMNIUS MONUMENT

 On the nothern border of the Domitian Square stands the ‘Memnius Monument’ erected in the 1.st century  AD. İn rustice style. The base was made of limestone and the upper part was marble. The monument was dedicated to Caius Memnius, one of the grandsons of Dictator Sulla lived in the late Hellenistic Period. At the time,the structure consisted of facades the semisercular niches of which were connected by arches. Above the niches there were reliefed blocks bearing figures on all sides. Most of the blocks with figures are missing today. The figures resembling soldiers wearing helmets belong to Memnius, his father Caius and garndfather Sulla,the dictator.

HERCULES GATE

HERCULES GATE

This gate divides the city into two parts. The upper part is state site of the city and the lower part is public site.It was constructed with two tiers of columns and was named after two reliefs which showed Hercules drapped in a lion skin. The relief of Nike found in Domitian square was on the top of the gate originallly.

TRAIAN FOUNTAIN

The structure was built between the years 102-114 AD. and dedicated to Emperor Traian. The fountain had ‘U’ shaped plan and two parted columns. It had two pools, which covered its middle and the front . In the central niche of the pool there used to be a large statue of Emperor Traian. Water ran into the pool from a wide channel under the statue of the Emperor. Extant today in their original place are pieces of the feet and the base of the statue together with a globe description.  Two staues of Dionysos found in the excavations are on display in the Museum of Ephesus.  

THE BATHS OF SCOLASTICA

The Scolastica Baths ,the largest building of its kind in Ephesus, is located on the Curetes Street next to the Fountain of Traian. It has two entrances, one is from the side of Traian temple, the other one is at the roadside. It was built between the 1st and 2nd century AD. and completely repaired and improved by Christian woman called Scolastica during the 400’s AD. It had two storeys but there are no remains from the second floor. At the first hall, there is statue of Skolastica on a quite high base. Hot air was coming from boiler room at the west end, would pass from the bricks and heat the bath. This bath was popular among people living at the Terrace Houses. One would normally change in Apoditerium and would have bath in Caldarium. Rich people were going to the baths with their servants so the servants would give massage to their masters and would rub their body with perfumed oils. After the bath they would pass to Tepidarium, rest and have chat. Many people would go into the cold pool of Frigidarium to robust and active before they leave the bath.

  

THE TEMPLE OF HADRIAN

THE TEMPLE OF HADRIAN

The most attractive edifice on Curetes Street built in the 2nd century AD is the temple of Hadrian.  Emperor Hadrian came  to Ephesus couple of times.  The temple was in korinth order and consists of a cella and a platfrom in the fronth. The cella door is high and wide.  Four columns at the facade carry the arched pediment at the top. There is the head of the goddess Tyke embroidred on the keystone of the pediment arch.  On the semicircular frontal over the door the semi-nude figure resembling Medusa is depicted among flowers and acanthus leaves. For many years it was thought to be Medusa  but after the last excavations in the temple, that idea  was changed and it shifted to Antinous who was the lover of Hadrian. At both sides of upper lintel of the door, there is the frieze of temple. There was Androklos and wild boar, gods and Amazons and Dyonisos regiment was embroiderd from left to right. This frieze is replica here, the original one is on display in the museum.

THE LATRINA

The latrina which falls into the same group of structures as the Scolastica Baths and dates back to the 1st century AD. used to be the public toilet of the city. It consisted of a square pool and a row of Stone commodes lined up around it, at the bottom of a wall. Beneath the stone commodes there was a deep partition for the wastes which was connected to a very developed sewage system. The roof was in the form of eaves covering only the toilet section and supported by four columns erecting from the corners of the pool in the middle.

TERRACE HOUSES

They are private houses built on the slopes across  the Temple of Hadrian, on the Curetes Street. They are also referred as ‘houses of the rich’ because of their central location. They were unearthened during excavations in recent years. The houses were firstly built in the 1st century AD., after many repairs and changes, they were used until the 7th century. Two houses were restored and can be visited.  Altough the houses were multi-storeyed, only their ground floors were allocated for daily use, while the upper floors consisted mostly of bedroom. As there were no windows in houses, air and light was provided from the iner courtyards which are called ‘atrium’. A channel system brought running water  into the houses. Some of them also had their own wells. The hot air in the bathrooms conducted through earthenware pipes and vents into the houses used for heating. The main characteristics of the Ephesus houses were having the walls covered with frescoes and having the floors covered with mosaic.

SO CALLED BROTHEL

This house was built in the 2nd century AD. and is two storeyed but only the ground floor is preserved. This floor was paved with mosaicsand marble and its  walls were covered with frescoes. The statue of Priapos, called the God Bess, on display in the Museum of Ephesus.

CELSUS LIBRARY

CELSUS LIBRARY

The Celsus Library is one of the foremost monumental edifices in Ephesus at the intersection of the Curetes Street and the Marble Road. It was the third biggest library of the ancient world(after Alexandria and Pergamon) with the number of book that it had around 12.000. The library was built in the 2nd century AD. by the son of Julius Celsus Polemanus, the proconsul of the Asian province(with  Ephesus as its capital) Julius Aquila as a heroon(monumental tomb) for his fafther who died at the age of 70. The construction was completed upon the will of Aquila who died before its completion by his heirs.The facade which is very rich in architectural ornomentation was given a monumental apperance in perspective. Plaster casts of statues (the originals are in the Ephesus Museum Vienna/Austria ) allegorically embodying the virtues of Celsus and typically expected of all high ranking Roman civil servants in the four niches of the lower storey.  From left to right: SOPHIA(wisdom), ARETE(character), ENNOIA(power of judgment), and EPISTIME(expertise).

. In contrast to the two stories of the facade, the interior building was laid out in three stories on a rectangular ground plan which was dominated by an apse on the middle axis of the room. There is a burial chamber with the sarcophagus of Celsus underneath. The actual contents of the library –the book scrolls-were housed in cupboard-like niches in the two upper stories of the room,which were accessible from the galleries.

In 262 AD. during the Goth attacks, the interior of the library was burnt down.The last destruction to the library with its facade was probably the result of an earthquake occured in the Middle Ages. The building was restored between the years 1970-78 under the direction of the archeologist V.M.STROCKA and the architect F.HUEBER.

THE GATE OF MAZEUS AND MITHRIDATES

This gate standing near the library provided entrance to the Commercial Agora and the form of an arch of triumph. Mazeus and Mitridates, who were slaves under the Emperor Agustus, were give their liberty, and in return they had built this gate in garatitude to the Emperor and his family. This gate was built in the 4th-3rd century BC.

COMMERCIAL  AGORA

COMMERCIAL  AGORA

This Agora was built under  the reign of Lsymachos in the 3rd century BC. The commercial agora was entered by the Gate of Mazeus and Mitridates. The agora had two other Gates besides this one. The sides of the agora were 111 meters long each. A row of shops covered by vaults stood on each side of the agora.

THE THEATRE

THE THEATRE

The theatre was built in the Hellenisitc period (3rd centuruy BC.) during the reign of Lsymachos on the slope of Mount Pion and was later enlarged. The theatre in which wild animal fghts and gladiators games were held in the 3rd and the 4th centuries, is the largest theatre in Turkey and has a capacity of 24.000 spectators. The stage building had three storeys including the ground floor. Only the ground floor reached out to the present and is well preserved. The section where the audince sat had a height of 38 meters and a diameter of 158 meters.

HARBOUR STREET

This street, 500 meters long and 11 meters width, running between the theatre and the harbour, was called Harbour Street or Arcadiana. The street was built in the 1st century BC and was repaired by Emperor Arcadius(395-408 AD.) and widened and was named therefore after this emperor. The street had rows of shops  on its left and right.

 

THE CHURH OF VIRGIN MARY

The This church is famed for being the first church built fort he Vİrgin Mary in Asia. It is also called the concil Church. The third Ecumenical Council was held in the church in 431 AD. During the reign  of Justinian the church was altered and on the exact site asamller but domed church was built.