Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis Selcuk Reviews
Where 1 of the 7 Wonders of the World Once Stood Jul 21, 2005
TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS
Some question how a temple could take its place among other magnificent structures such as the Great Pyramid, the Hanging Gardens and the Colossus of Rhodes? From all indications of those who visited it, the answer was simple; it was the most beautiful building on earth.
Antipater of Sidon, a Greek poet who helped compile the list of the Seven Wonders of the World, wrote: “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 labor 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, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught (anything) so grand.’”
The original temple was probably built around 800 B.C. It is thought to be the first building completely constructed with marble. The Ephesus goddess Artemis, sometimes called Diana, was not the figure worshiped in Greece. Artemis was the Greek goddess of the hunt; the Ephesian Artemis was the goddess of fertility.
The shrine was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Notably, on July 21, 356 B.C., a young man named Herostratus burned it to ground in an attempt to immortalize his name. Oddly enough, Alexander the Great was born the same night. The historian Plutarch later wrote that the goddess was “too busy taking care of the birth of Alexander to send help to her threatened temple.”
The temple of Artemis is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 19:1-20:1). The Apostle Paul came to Ephesus and preached Christ. During his two years there, Christianity spread and a number of believers destroyed their idols.
A silversmith named Demetrius called his fellow craftsmen together. He told them Paul was saying that man-made gods are no gods at all. Demetrius warned them there was danger that their trade would lose its good name and that the temple of Artemis would be discredited and the goddess would be robbed of her divine majesty. When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon, the city was in an uproar. They seized two of Paul’s companions and rushed the theater. The assembly shouted in unison for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
The city clerk quieted the crowd and began, “Men of Ephesus, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash…”
After he spoke, he dismissed the assembly, the uproar ended, his men were released and Paul soon left for Macedonia.
The temple was destroyed for the last time by the Goths in 262 A.D. Today, the site of the temple is a marshy field. Unfortunately, only a lone column stretching to the sky reminds visitors where one of the wonders of the world once stood.
Part of the Ephesus, Turkey (Kusadasi) - July 2005 travel blog
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