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Ephesus, Temple of Artemis


Temple of Artemis in Ephesus: one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The remains of the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world

The temple of Artemis in Ephesus was a very ancient sanctuary for a mother goddess who protected pregnant women; it may have antedated the arrival of the Greeks in Asia Minor. According to Pliny the Elder, it was built in a marshy area to protect it against earthquakes.note Lydian kings like Croesus (c.560-c.547) contributed to the building of this temple, and later, the Persians patronized the cult; the high priest was called the Megabyxus, a Persian name that means "the one set free for the cult of the divinity".

The sanctuary burned down in the summer of 356 BCE, an event that was remembered because it coincided with the birth of Alexander the Great. Many architectural pieces can now be seen in the British Museum; in Ephesus itself, of the 127 columns that once supported the roof of cedar woodnote of this wonderful building, only one column remains.

Several copies of the cult statue are known. In Ephesus' Prytaneum, the meeting place of the city's prytaneis (executive magistrates), no less than three of them were found.

Archaic finds