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Ephesus, Bouleuterion

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


The bouleuterion (council chamber, townhall) was the place where some 1400 people could attend the meetings of Ephesus' city council. Presented to the city in c.150 CE by a man named Publius Vedius Antoninus, it also served as odeum, where people could attend musical performances.

Two inscriptions from the Bouleuterion can now be seen in the British Museum, London. The first one is a copy of a letter written by the emperor Hadrian (r.117-138), in which he recommends a boat owner named Lucius Erastus, who had transported the emperor and governors, for honorary membership of the council. In the second one, the emperor Antoninus Pius (r.138-161) resolves a dispute between Ephesus, Pergamon, and Smyrna, who had not used the correct titles when they wrote letters to each other.