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My Favourite Planet > English > Middle East > Turkey > Selçuk > photo gallery 1
Selçuk gallery 1 Selçuk town 4 of 30
The ruins of the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, Selcuk, Turkey at My Favourite Planet

Ruins of the Temple of Artemis (3rd century BC) under water.
Temple of Artemis

Part 2

Continued from the previous page.

The Ephesians started work on a new, even more magnificent Ionic temple soon after, completing it in the early 3rd century BC. This is the structure whose remains we see today.

Alexander the Great sacrificed at the building site of the temple when he passed through Ephesus in 334 BC and offered to pay for its completion himself, but the Ephesians politely refused his offer.

This enormous building was around 105 metres long, 55 metres wide and 20 metres tall, with a roof supported by 127 columns.

At the end of 2nd century AD the wealthy sophist Titus Flavius Damianus (Damianus of Ephesus) [1] financed the building of a marble portico of from the Magnesian Gate of the city to the temple and a lavishly decorated dining hall of Phrygian marble in the sanctuary. The portico is thought to have been completed around 210 AD.

The temple was plundered by Nero, and then destroyed by the Goths when they sacked Ephesus in 262-263 AD. It was later apparently partly rebuilt, but allegedly destroyed again in 401 AD on the order of Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople and great opponent of the pagan religions. [2]

What little remained was finally abandoned and left to rot after the cult of Artemis was supplanted by Christianity. Over the centuries its remains were used as building material by the Byzantines, who took many of the temple's columns for the construction of Aghia Sophia in Constantinople. Some of the stones from the temple can also be seen in the walls surrounding Saint John's Basilica and the the steps to the entrance of the Isa Bey Camii.

Much later still, during the 19th century, some the temple's reliefs and decorated columns, one of which is thought to have been designed by Scopas, were taken to the British Museum (see photo below).

Because of the extensive excavations here by British archaeologists, begun in 1869 by John Turtle Wood (1821-1890), locals named the site of the temple "the British hollow".
Statue of a wounded Amazon at My Favourite Planet

Wounded Amazon.
Marble Roman copy of a statue
made for the Temple of Artemis,
Ephesus around 440-430 BC,
perhaps by Polykleitos of Argos.
Found in Rome.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin.
Inv. No. Sk 7.

A relief of a wounded Amazon
in this pose, part of a marble
frieze (350 BC) from the altar
of Artemis, is in the Ephesus Museum, Selçuk.
Inv. No. I 811. Height 65 cm.
photos and articles:
© David John

photo galleries

Selcuk photo gallery 1 - town of Selcuk, Turkey

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

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

gallery 3
Serbian dancers
The My Favourite Planet travel guide to Ephesus, Turkey


the nearby archaeological site
A coin showing the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, Selcuk, Turkey at My Favourite Planet

A coin from the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD) showing the statue of Artemis in the Artemision.

John Turtle Wood, Discoveries at Ephesus, page 266. Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1877.
A column drum of the Ephesus Temple of Artemis in the British Museum

A marble column drum of the later Temple of Artemis at Ephesus,
circa 325-300 BC. Found by the British archaeologist John Turtle Wood
at the southwest corner of the later temple, during excavations in 1871.

According to Pliny the Elder, thirty six of the temple's columns were decorated with sculpture. Around this column drum, the best preserved, is a sculpted relief of seven figures, two of which have been destroyed.

The three figures in the photo above seem to be the focus of the group. A woman is flanked by two male figures. To her left, the naked, winged youth with a sheathed sword at his side is thought to be Thanatos (Death). The figure to her right is clearly Hermes as Psychopompos (guide of souls to the underworld, see the Hermes page in the MFP People section). The theme of the scene appears to be the death of the woman, whose identity is unknown, but is thought to be one of the tragic heroines of Greek myth, perhaps Eurydike, Alkestis or Iphigenia.

British Museum, London. Inv. No. GR 1872.8-3.9 (Cat. Sculpture 1206).
Height 1.84 metres, diameter 1.97 metres.

Image source: Ludwig Curtius (1874-1954), Die antike Kunst Band II, Tafel XXXI.
Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Athenaion M.B.H., Wildpark-Potsdam, 1926.

See also: Reliefs of Hermes on the Sacred Way, Ephesus, on Ephesus gallery page 12.

Relief of Hermes Psychopompos on a column drum from the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus at My Favourite Planet

Another view of the column drum showing Hermes Psychopompos.

Hermes stands naked with a cloak wrapped around his left arm.
He holds his caduceus in his right hand. He appears to be stepping
forward and looking up - at what can only be guessed.
Excavation work at the Artemision, Ephesus in 1895 at My Favourite Planet

Local workers excavating the Artemision during the 1895 campaign
of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, directed by Otto Benndorf.
Notes, references and links

1. Damianus of Ephesus

Lucius Flavius Philostratus (Φλάβιος Φιλόστρατος, circa 170/172 – 247/250 AD) wrote a short biography of Damianus of Ephesus, who was one of his teachers, in The lives of the Sophists (Βίοι σοφιστῶν, co-authored around 231-237 AD with Eunapius).

Titus Flavius Damianus (Φλάουιος Δαμιανός) was a member of one of the most distinguished families in Ephesus and inherited his great wealth. The dates of his birth and death are unknown; Philostratus wrote that he died in Ephesus at the age of 70 (perhaps around 210 AD).

He made generous donations to the poor and financed a number of buildings in the city, including improvements to the harbour and the marble portico between the Magnesian Gate and the temple, which he dedicated to his wife. He played host to Emperor Lucius Verus (reigned 161-169 AD) on his return from his military campaign against the Parthian Empire in 166-167 AD. Lucius Verus' victories over the Parthians were commemorated by the Parthian Monument in Ephesus, constructed around 171 AD (see Ephesus gallery page 42).

Damianus was also a Sophist at a time when Ephesus was of the three main centres of Sophistic philosophy, along with Smyrna and Athens (see also Herodus Atticus). He taught philosophy, and three discussions he hosted before his death provided Philostratus with the material for the biographies of Damianus' teachers, the Sophists Aelius Aristides (Aristeides of Mysia, teaching in Smyrna) and Hadrianus of Tyre (teaching in Ephesus).

"Damianus, then, was descended from the most distinguished ancestors who were highly esteemed at Ephesus, and his offspring likewise were held in high repute, for they are all honoured with seats in the Senate, and are admired both for their distinguished renown and because they do not set too much store by their money. Damianus was himself magnificently endowed with wealth of various sorts, and not only maintained the poor of Ephesus, but also gave most generous aid to the State by contributing large sums of money and by restoring any public buildings that were in need of repair.

Moreover, he connected the temple with Ephesus by making an approach to it along the road that runs through the Magnesian gate. This work is a portico a stade in length, all of marble, and the idea of this structure is that the worshippers need not stay away from the temple in case of rain. When this work was completed at great expense, he inscribed it with a dedication to his wife, but the banqueting hall in the temple he dedicated in his own name, and in size he built it to surpass all that exist elsewhere put together. He decorated it with an elegance beyond words, for it is adorned with Phrygian marble such as had never before been quarried."

Philostratus and Eunapius; The lives of the Sophists, Philostratus, Book II, pages 264-269. In ancient Greek and English, translated by William Cave Wright. Heinemann, London and Putnam, New York, 1922. At

Although Philostratus refers to Damianus' use of Phrygian marble "such as had never before been quarried", the expensive purple-veined marble had been used for the columns of the Library of Celsus, completed around 50-70 years earlier (see Ephesus gallery page 31).

The statue from Ephesus thought to be a portrait of Titus Flavius Damianus wears a "bust crown" (see photo, right), a headdress decorated with a row of busts of deities and emperors, in this case 15 all around.

A similar statue, also thought to be a portrait of Damianus is in the Louvre, Inv. No. MA 4705.

According to another theory the statues are portraits of member of the Aphrodisian family of the Vedii Antonini. The theory that bust crowns were insignia of priests of the Roman imperial cult has also been questioned.


Lee Ann Riccardi, The bust-crown, the Panhellenion, and Eleusis, A new portrait from the Athenian Agora. Hesperia 76 (2007), Pages 365-390. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Barbara Burrell, False fronts: separating the aedicular facade from the Imperial cult in Roman Asia Minor. American Journal of Archaeology 110 (2006), pages 437-469.

2. Saint John Chrysostom's part in the destruction of the Temple of Artemis

Many internet sources slavishly copy each other in citing John Freely as writing that the Temple of Artemis was destroyed "by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom" (John Freely, The western shores of Turkey: discovering the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, 2004). John Freely is an acknowleged expert on Turkish history, and can be usually depended on for accurate, interesting and well-written information. However, we have so far found no other reference to Chrysostom's direct action in the destruction. In his splendid book The companion guide to Turkey (1979), Freely makes no mention of this incident.

John Chrysostomos (Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος, circa 349-407 AD) was given the surname "golden-mouthed" because of his eloquence. Born at Antioch, he was Patriarch (Archbishop) of Constantinople circa 397-403 AD.

Chrysostomos visited Ephesus in early 401 at the invitation of several bishops in order to settle church disputes. After deposing six bishops, passing judgement on another and appointing a new archbishop, he returned to Constantinople.

See James Hannam's discussion of reports by early church authors in The destruction of the Temple of Artemis. bedejournal, June 2010.

He points out, among other things, that the report of Chrysostomos' visit to Ephesus in Palladius’ Life of Chrysostom, Book 14, does not mention the Temple of Artemis, and that accounts by other authors of involvement by Chrysostomos or other early Christians in the destruction of the temple (for example a legend in the apocryphal Acts of John) are vague or questionable at best.
Marble statue of a priest of the Roman imperial cult from Ephesus at My Favourite Planet

Detail of a statue thought to be
a portrait of the Ephesian Sophist
Titus Flavius Damianus as a
priest of the Roman imperial cult.

Found in the East Gymnasium,
Ephesus, 1930. Circa 193-211 AD.

Izmir Archaeological Museum.
Inv. No. 648. Height 232 cm.
Map, photos and articles: © David John

Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis

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Higher resolution versions are available on request.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Selçuk
originally appeared in 2004 on
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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