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Ephesus - Photos


Parthian Monument. Ephesos Museum, Vienna (Austria). Photo Jona Lendering.

Ephesus (Selçuk): ancient Greek town in western Turkey, one of the largest and best excavated cities of the ancient world.

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The Library of Celsus was destroyed by an earthquake in 262, and the façade became part of a fountain that was built from re-used reliefs that once had been a monument dedicated to the Roman victory over the Parthian Empire, achieved by the emperor Lucius Verus in 162-165. The originals are now in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna.

This shows the emperor in battle dress, posing like the war god Mars. Behind him, you can see the she wolf of Rome, with Romulus and Remus. The head below may be a river god, e.g. the Euphrates (which was important during Lucius Verus' campaign) or Tiber (which is connected to Romulus and Remus).

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Parthian Monument. Ephesos Museum, Vienna (Austria). Photo Jona Lendering. The emperor moving to the battlefield, shown in a chariot. Romans did not use war chariots, but this is a mythological representation. The half-naked lady to the right is the goddess Roma, the winged figure is Victoria. The combination of emperor + chariot + Roma + Victory is also known from the Arch of Titus in Rome.
Parthian Monument. Ephesos Museum, Vienna (Austria). Photo Jona Lendering. A battle scene. Right of the center, a Roman general gives an order. Left of the center, a Roman soldier kills a Parthian. The commander is probably not the emperor, who was in the chariot; he may be Avidius Cassius, who sacked the Parthian capital Ctesiphon in 165, later fell into disgrace, and may have lost his head (on this relief) when an angry Ephesian attacked the monument. To the far left, a river god.
Scene of an adoption: Hadrian and Antoninus Pius adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Parthian monument, Ephesus. Ephesos Museum, Wien (Austria). Photo Jona Lendering. This may have been the central scene: an adoption. The emperor Hadrian (117-138) had no son to succeed him and adopted Antoninus Pius who had no sons either, and was ordered to adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. This is represented on this relief. From left to right: Marcus, Hadrian, Lucius, Pius, and a sacrifice.
A represtentation of Harran on Lucius Verus' victory monument from Ephesus. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien (Austria). Photo Jona Lendering. The monument also contained representations of the cities of Mesopotamia that had been conquered. This is Harran, which was famous for its temple of Sin, the moon god, represented on the banner. No Roman can have seen this without feeling some delight, because Harran was the scene of the infamous defeat of the Roman commander Crassus, the triumvir. After the victories of Lucius Verus, the death of Crassus had finally been avenged.
The gate of Mazaeus and Mithradates. Photo Marco Prins. Gate of Mazaeus and Mithradates, built in 4 or 3 BCE and dedicated to the emperor Augustus. This was the monumental entrance to the commercial agora
Inscription on this gate, mentioning Livia. Photo Jona Lendering. Inscription on this gate, mentioning the emperor Augustus and his wife Livia.
Inscription on this gate, mentioning Julia. Photo Jona Lendering. Inscription on this gate, mentioning Augustus' daughter Julia and her husband Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
Graffito of Hecate. Photo Jona Lendering. Graffito of the goddess Hecate inside the Gate of Mazaeus and Mithradates.
Street of the curetes, looking to the library of Celsus. Photo Marco Prins. Street of the Curetes, looking to the library of Celsus. (The curetes were the priests of Artemis.)

A satellite photo of the Street of the Curetes can be seen here.


Mosaic in a house or portico near the Street of the curetes. Photo Marco Prins. Fifth-century mosaic in a colonnade along the Street of the curetes.
Statues of Heracles in the Street of the curetes. Photo Marco Prins. Statues of Heracles in the Street of the Curetes.

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© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 23 July 2012
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