The first sanctuary for the goddess Artemis is said to have been built around 800 BC. on a marshy area near the river in Ephesus. The Artemis of Ephesus was not the same as the one worshipped in Greece. The Greek Artemis, which the immigrants brought this cult from Greece, was the goddess of hunting. The Ephesus Artemis of was the goddess of fertility. She was often depicted as a female figure draped with eggs, multiple breast, which were the symbols of fertility, from her waist to the shoulders, a thrown o her head, bulls, ders, queen bees downwards.
Misfortune of the Temple of Artemis
A sacred stone “fallen from Jupiter” is believed to have been kept in the temple of Artemis. It had probably been a meteroite fallen from the sky. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt for several times through history of Ephesus. In 600 BC. another temple, longer than the first one, was built with high stone columns in the same strip. Because the area of the Temple of Artemis was swampy, the architect had the columns laid and rolled in order to prevent them getting mired in. According to one story, when Lydians conquered the city of Ephesus in 550 BC. they destroyed the temple during the fight. It is also said by archeologists who scouted the site that the temple might have been hit by a flood at the same time.
The next and the gigantic one dwarfed the others that had built before. The architect, probably named Theodorus, erected the temple with an ornamented facade, a spacious courtyard in front. The temple of Artemis was the first sanctuary to be erected of marble. There were 127 columns in total that were carved and circular, 20 m (60 feet) in lenght with Ionic capitals. There were four bronze statues of Amazons, adorned with golden pillars, paintings and silver statuettes. The structure was rectangular in shape. There were marble steps surrounding the temple. The first descriptions which were explained in a detailed way, helped the archeologists reconstruct the building. Yet, its true beauty is hidden in the architectural and the artistic details, which will forever keep its obscurity.
This temple was the pride of Ephesus city. It became an important port city visited by people from vast distances, with the fame of this temple. When the Goths invaded the city, the temple was burnt down in 260s, it was not rebuilt again. The Roman Emperor Constantine accepted the Christianity and people had lost their interest in this religion of Artemis. Today it is stil accepted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Through many boks, including the Bible, it can be read though it has been much long. You can stil see the ruins in the original site in Ephesus and the remains of some sculptured fragments excavated and found in the marshy area of the Temple of Artemis stand on the exhibition in the British Museum.