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The Temple of Artemis



Temple of Artemis (Reconstruction)The Temple of Artemis

The temple is at the beginning of the Selçuk-Kusadasi road. This temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was first popular around 334 to 250 BC. It was destroyed and had to be rebuilt seven times because of earthquakes, looting and fire. Today there is nothing left of the Ionic structure surrounded by massive columns but its altar area. The temple was made with the world's best marble and was a truly gigantic structure. Some of the remains are in the British Museum in London.

The present temple site was from the Hellenistic period. It is thought that similar to monotheistic religions, the Ephesian Artemis combined the strength of many gods. The temple had 127 columns, on a field 105 by 55 meters and was 17.65 m high. The altar was approached by 13 steps. Lydian king Croesus donated the 36 columns on the front.

Plans of the Temple of ArtemisThere were a number of priests officiating at the temple, along with a high priest. It was considered an honor to be the high priest.


Single column of Temple of ArtemisThere was another class of priests serving the temple who were called "curates", who were named for demi-gods in mythology. Mythology said that when Dionysius was born from Zeus' leg the curates were instructed to make noise so Zeus' wife Hera would not notice. In the same way these curates made noise when Artemis was born from Leto.

Temple of Artemis (Reconstruction)One of the noteworthy features of the Temple to Artemis is that it functioned as a bank. The high priest was also a credit officer and was security for those who deposited valuables in the temple or who made sizeable contributions. The drawing at the side shows something off what the temple's former glory must have been. To see the drawing enlarged simply tic it.

Temple of Artemis (Reconstruction)Of those things that set this temple apart, the most important was its being a safe haven for those who took refuge inside. This, of course, led to quite a population of criminals living in the temple.

There are those who say that the cult and religious practices of Artemis, along with the temple were established along lines similar in structure to bee communities


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