The Temple of Artemis or the Artemision was a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. It was in the ancient city of Ephesus, which is now in modern-day Turkey. The temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and it was famous for its size and grandeur.
The Temple of Artemis was an important religious and cultural centre. It would attract visitors and pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean world. The temple was also a major source of wealth for the city of Ephesus, as pilgrims brought offerings and donations to the temple.
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When was the Temple of Artemis Built?
The construction of the Temple of Artemis began around 550 BCE and was completed around 440 BCE.
Who Designed the Temple of Artemis?
The architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes designed the Temple of Artemis. The temple was on the site of an earlier temple that had been destroyed by a flood. Over 100 columns, each of which was 60 feet (18 meters) tall, supported this temple. The temple had intricate carvings, numerous sculptures and works of art. Inside it, there was a large statue of Artemis made of gold and ivory.
The History of Artemis
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The Largest Structure of the Ancient Wonders
According to sources, the Amazons, the native people of Ephesus, lived where the Temple of Artemis was located. Their capital was on the nearby Ayasuluk Hill, and they named their city after an Amazon queen. That is why the name “Ephesus” may be the Hellenized version of this word. The Amazons accepted the belief in Artemis, and their temple was situated where the Temple of Artemis is today.
Many years later, the Greeks arrived in the region. They established a settlement at the foot of one of the two mountains surrounding the city, Mount Panayir. After conquering the region, King Kroisos of Lydia brought together the local Greek settlers and the indigenous Amazon people living around the temple. He initiated the construction of the great temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Later, the Persians defeated King Kroisos. Persians looted all the temples in the region, except for one. They, out of respect for Artemis, did not touch the Temple of Artemis. And of course, they did not harm her city, Ephesus.
The temple was a very large structure. In fact, it was the largest of the seven wonders. It was twice the size of a normal temple. Also, these graceful columns inspired another world wonder, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
Destruction of the Temple
In the 4th century BC, someone who wanted to immortalize their name burned down the Temple of Artemis. The people of Ephesus immediately began to rebuild a new temple. Alexander the Great came to Ephesus during that time and defeated the Persians. Alexander wanted to finance the entire temple construction but faced rejection. He could only provide financial support. The temple was reconstructed at the end of the same century.
Centuries passed. The temple experienced destruction in the 5th century, as Christians banned the Artemis religion. The broken pieces of the destroyed security wall were in the construction of the nearby Church of Mary and the Bishop’s Palace during the late antique period. Other parts of the temple were used to construct the Church of St. John and the Isa Bey Mosque. Thus, it is true to say that the Temple of Artemis actually found new life in different buildings.