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My Favourite Planet > English > Middle East > Turkey > Ephesus > photo gallery
Ephesus, Turkey Ephesus photo gallery 1 65 of 66
The monumental entrance to the Ephesus Stadium, near the Koressos Gate, Ephesus, Turkey at My Favourite Planet

The remains of the monumental entrance to the Ephesus Stadium, north of the archaeological site.
Ephesus Stadium and Vedius Gymnasium

If you arrive or leave the Ephesus archaeological site by the lower entrance, you will pass this massive ruin on the road to Selcuk. [1] This is just a fragment of what was the soth end of the Stadium's monumental entrance, and practically all that remains of the city's enormous sports arena.

The ruins of the stadium and the gymnasium are not open to the public, but various architectural fragments can be seen through the high, chain-link fence around the site. Even the information board for the stadium is a metre or two beyond the fence, making it almost impossible to read for mere mortals.

A stadium was built here in the Hellenistic Period, just inside the city walls near the Koressos Gate, one of the two main gateways to the city (the other was the Magnesian Gate, outside the upper entrance to Ephesus). During the reign of Emperor Nero (54-58 AD) it was expanded on a grand scale, financed by public subscription. The original seating on the south side, built on the slope at the foot of Mount Pion (Panayır Daği), was extended up the hill, and tiers of seating were also added to the north side, supported by a retaining wall and a vaulted substructure.

The expanded stadium had the traditional elongated U-form, though quite irregular in shape (see the plan below). A walled-off section, around 50 x 40 metres, at the eastern (rounded) end of the Stadium was used as an arena, probably for gladiatorial contests.

It dwarfed even the Great Theatre, with a length of 230 metres and a width 40 metres, it is said to have had a seating capacity of 13,000.

After the official adoption of Christianity in the Roman Empire from the mid 4th century, such stadia fell into disuse. A church was built in the western end during the 5th century, and the stadium was gradually dismantled as its stone was quarried for building material, particularly for the Basilica of Saint John in Selçuk.

The Vedius Gymnasium (see photo below) stood just to the north of the stadium, directly at the city walls. The bath-gymnasium complex measured 135 x 85 metres and covered a total area of around 13,000 square metres. It was financed by M. Claudius P. Vedius Antoninus Phaedrus Sabinianus and his wife Flavia Papiani who dedicated it to Artemis and Emperor Antoninus Pius, and opened 147-149 AD. It was renovated around 400 AD and remained in use until the end of the 5th century. It was destroyed by fire in the 6th century.

The ancient artifacts discovered at the gymnasium include:

Two colossal statues of river gods, found during excavations in 1928. One is now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the other in the Izmir Museum of History and Art (see photos below).

The first "Alkamenes herm of the Ephesus type" discovered (also 1928), now in the Izmir Archaeological Museum (see Pegamon gallery 2, page 15).

An "Ikarios relief" of Dionysus (see the Dionysus page of the People section).

A marble statue of Antinous portrayed as Androklos, the mythological founder of Ephesus. 138-161 AD. Discovered in 1927. Izmir Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 45 (see gallery page 22).

A marble statue identified as a portrait of a Sophist philosopher, dated to the reign of Septimius Severus (193-211 AD). Now in the Izmir Museum of History and Art (see photo below).

On the opposite side of the road, around the 34 metre high hill directly in front of the stadium, are the remains of a number of ancient buildings (see next page).
photos and articles:
© David John
See also:

Selçuk

the nearby town

Selçuk
galleries index
 
Selcuk photo gallery 1 - town of Selcuk, Turkey

Selçuk gallery 1
around town
 
Selcuk photo gallery 2 - Ephesus Archaeological Museum, Turkey

Selçuk gallery 2
Ephesus Museum
 
Selcuk photo gallery 3 - Serbian folk dancers in Selcuk, Turkey

Selçuk gallery 3
Serbian dancers
visit Selçuk
 
The ruins of the Vedius Gymnasium, Ephesus at My Favourite Planet

The ruins of part of the Vedius Gymnasium, beyond the 2 metre high fence.
Plan of the Stadium in Ephesus at My Favourite Planet

The irregular plan of the Ephesus Stadium.

See a photo of the more regular-looking Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece.
The Stadium at Ephesus, Turkey at My Favourite Planet

The entrance arch of th Ephesus Stadium viewed from the Tracheia Hill (see next page).
A pile of architectural members outsdie the Ephesus Stadium at My Favourite Planet

A pile of architectural members outsdie the Ephesus Stadium, as seen through the fence.

In the background, right, is the northwest slope of Mount Pion (όρος Πίων; Turkish, Panayır Daği).
Relief of a gladiator in Ephesus at My Favourite Planet

A marble relief of a gladiator and a palm branch from
a stele or statue base in Ephesus. 2nd - 3rd century AD.
It can be seen on the Marble Street, near the Great Theatre.

See a photo of another gladiator relief from Ephesus below.
Relief of gladiatorial combat from Ephesus, Turkey at My Favourite Planet

Marble relief of a gladiatorial duel from Ephesus, 3rd century AD. Part of a parapet.
According to the inscription, Asteropios the hoplomachus (ὁπλομάχος, literally,
shield fighter) defeated Drakon the thraex ("Thracian").

Neues Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. SK 964.

In the museum display the relief is partly obscured by another, smaller relief
of a provocator. 1st - 4th century AD, provenance unknown. Inv. No. SK 966.

See: Eckart Köhne, Cornelia Ewigleben, Gladiators and Caesars: The Power of
Spectacle in Ancient Rome
. University of California Press, 2000. At googlebooks.
A marble statue of a river god from Ephesus at My Favourite Planet

A colossal marble statue of a reclining river god with a cornucopia,
identified as a personification of the local river Kaystros (Κάυστρος).

Found in 1928 in situ, on a base in the natatio (swimming pool)
of the frigidarium in the Vedius Gymnasium, Ephesus.
Roman period, 2nd century AD. Height 115 cm, width 205 cm.

Izmir Museum of History and Art. Inv. No. 78.

Both the river god statues found in the Vedius Gymnasium, this one now in Izmir and the other in Istanbul (see photo below), have been dated stylistically to the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD), and are thought to be based on a Hellenistic model. They have been tentatively identified as representations of Kaystros, although the Istanbul statue is labelled Okeanos. [2]

Several similar extant statues from around the Roman Empire can not be definitely identified as depicting a specific deity because of the lack of inscriptions or distinguishing attributes.
 
A marble statue of a river god from Ephesus, Istanbul Archaeological Museum at My Favourite Planet

A colossal marble statue of a reclining river god, identified as either
Kaystros or the supreme river god Okeanos (museum labelling).

Found in 1928 in situ, on a base in the natatio (swimming pool)
of the frigidarium in the Vedius Gymnasium, Ephesus.
Roman period, 2nd century AD. Height 128 cm, width 218 cm.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 4281 T.
A marble statue of a Sophist from Ephesus at My Favourite Planet   Detail of a marble statue of a Sophist from Ephesus at My Favourite Planet
A marble statue of a Sophist from Ephesus.

Found in the "Emperor's Hall" of the Vedius Gymnasium.
Roman period, 193-211 AD. Height 160 cm.

Izmir Museum of History and Art. Inv. No. 570.
 
Ephesus
Stadium
and
Vedius
Gymnasium
Notes, references and links

1. The Stadium entrance arch

The keystone of the arch appears to have a bas-relief of a figure, although it is difficult to see from the road.

2. River god statues from Ephesus

The University of Köln Arachne website cautiously describes both statues merely as river gods.

Description of the Izmir statue: arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/objekt/8012

Description of the Istanbul statue: arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/objekt/7679

The 1935 guidebook to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum describes the statue there as:

"Statue d'un dieu barbu couché. Trouvé dans les Thermes d'Antoninus Vedius à Ephèse. Cette statue représente problemènt le fleuve Caystrè. IIe s. ap. J. - C."

"Statue of a reclining bearded god. Found in the Thermae of Antoninus Vedius at Ephesus. This statue probably represents the river Cayster. 2nd century AD."

Musées d'Istanbul: Guide illustré des sculptures grecques, romaines et byzantines, I 4281, page 79. Devlet Matbaasi, Istanbul, 1935.
 
Map, photos and articles: © David John

Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

Images and materials by other authors
have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
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Higher resolution versions are available on request.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Ephesus
originally appeared in 2004 on davidjohnberlin.de.
 
See also
The Cheshire Cat Blog
photo essays about Turkey:

Istanbul Essentials part 1

Istanbul Essentials part 2

Istanbul Essentials part 3
with video

Ionian Spring part 1

Ionian Spring part 2

Ionian Spring part 3
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