Architecture

Facts about Temple of Artemis

26 facts about Temple of Artemis

Artemesium

Artemis was one of the most prominent gods of ancient Greece. She was the daughter of Zeus and Letho and a twin sister of Apollo. Ephesians devoted to her one of the most magnificent buildings of antiquity, and despite subsequent destructions, they rebuilt it repeatedly, improving previous artists' achievements. The monument's fate was sealed by Constantinopole, which is believed to demolish the temple by its Archbishop order.
1
It was located in ancient city of Ephesus.
Present-day, the ancient city lays on the edge of the town of Selçuk in western Turkey.
2
The building is also named the Artemesium or the Temple of Diana.
3
Ephesus was a city devoted to the Artemis.
Artemis was a goddess of fertility, virginity, hunting, wilderness and the Moon. In the 4th century BC, Artemis was identified with the Roman goddess Diana.
4
The legendary founders of the first temple were Amazons.
The sacred site appeared in Ephesus much earlier than the temple itself. First inhabitants of the city were aboriginal people called Leleges and Lydians.
5
First temple emerged around the 7th century BC.
It has been destroyed by a flood which covered its floor with a half-meter layer of mud and sand.
6
It has been destroyed three times.
First time it was by a flood, second by arson and third after northern germanic tribes raided Ephesus.
7
The second temple was built on the order of Croesus of Lydia.
Leading architects of this temple were Chersiphron of Knossos and Metagenes from Knossos. Theodorus of Samos is also believed to participate in the temple's design process.
8
The second temple was made with Ionic order and had 117 columns.
Columns, frieze and tympanum were ornately sculpted. Famous ancient sculptors such as Phidias, Polykleitos and Kresilas worked on constructing and completing the temple.
9
Template's columns were 18 m (59 ft) high and had a 2,5 m (8,2 ft) diameter at the base.
10
The second temple was much more significant, built with greater splendor, and it's supposed to be the first marble-made Greek temple.
It was 115 m (377 ft) long and 46 m (151 ft) wide.
11
It has been completed in ten years.
Construction work finished around 560 BC. It was made with marble and Lebanon cedar. Temple's walls and columns were ornamented with bas-reliefs and precious metals like gold and silver.
12
The original Artemis statue has been made of gold, silver, ebony and black stone.
She was depicted as a woman with many breasts, in a high and pointed headgear, dressed in a garment covering her hips and legs. Garment was covered with reliefs of wild animals and bees.
13
An arsonist Herostratus destroyed it in 356 BC.
Herostratus was a local shoemaker who wished to immortalize his name by burning down the Temple of Artemis. As a result of arson, Herostratus was sentenced to death and forbode mentioning his name to anybody. Memory of him survived thanks to Theopompus, an ancient Greek historian.
14
It is believed that on the day of temple burndown, Alexander the Great was born.
Ancient historian Plutarch mentioned that Artemis was too occupied by Alexander's birth, so she couldn't manage to save her own temple that day.
15
Alexander the Great offered financial help in temple's restoration.
Ephesians gracefully declined an offer with the words "it would be improper for one god to build a temple to another." They managed to raise enough money to rebuild it on their own a few years later.
16
It was a place of magnificent ancient Greek religious festival. The celebration lasted for a few days.
It was adapted from Hellenic to Roman tradition. The famous festival was elongated from a few days to a whole month by the Roman edict from 162 AD.
17
In 268 AD, an East Germanic tribe called Goths raided the city of Ephesus and severely damaged the third temple.
It is unknown how big the destruction of the temple after the Goths' invasion was. It unquestionably has been repaired after the 268 damage but never restored to its breathtaking original form.
18
Temple was finally closed by Christians sometime in the 5th century AD.
Archbishop of Constantinopole John Chrysostom might be a person that destroyed the Temple of Artemis. It is not assured as not much evidence exists to support that claim. One of his successors, Archbishop Proculus, mentioned John Chrysostom who "In Ephesus, [he] despoiled the art of Midas."
19
Christians considered Artemis a demon.
That is why they ruined such a priceless architectural masterpiece. Early Christians uncivilized approach to other gods and religions resulted in a tremendous loss for all humanity.
20
Part of the temple's masonry has been used to assemble other buildings.
21
A medieval myth arose around Artemis Temple's columns.
According to a legend, columns removed from the legitimate location were used at the construction site of Hagia Sophia. There is no evidence to support this claim.
22
The temple has been rediscovered in 1869 thanks to John Turtle Wood.
It took archeologists over six years to discover the exact place temple was located. Excavations in the area lasted till 1874 and were sponsored by British Museum, which enthusiastically accepted unearthed remaining elements among its exhibits.
23
The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was described as one of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by the Antipater of Sidon.

Antipater was a Greek poet. He lived in the second half of 2nd century BC. Cicero mentioned that he was a "brilliant epigrammist, sometimes too fond of imitation."

The temple's description comes out in Antipater's poem from around 140 BC.

24
Many elements excavated by John Turtle Wood can be found in British Museum.
Among the exhibits, many fragments of sculptured columns can be found as well as pieces of earlier templates.
25
Facade of the Temple of Artemis was depicted on ancient Roman coins.
26
Temple of Artemis has also be mentioned in the Bible.