Free Sample of our Bible Dictionary


Bible Dictionary A-Z

With close to 10,000 dictionary terms the 5 Volume Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible is the most comprehensive biblical dictionary covering every topic referenced in Scripture. The full dictionary is included in our basic Sermon Prep package; there is no need to buy anything extra. Just signup for our $69.95 annual subscription and you will have full access to this dictionary as well as all our sermons, illustrations, humor, eulogies, and Bible commentaries.

The sample article to the left on the city of Ephesus is a great example of the scholarship inherent in everything we do.

EPHESUS

Recent excavation, conservation, and restoration at Ephesus have added tremendously to the appearance of the ancient city. The atmosphere of the city and the various aspects of ancient life which can be observed here now make Ephesus the rival of ATHENS, Pompeii, ROME, and Ostia.

1. The altar and temple of Artemis. One of the most important results of the recent excavations has been the discovery of the great altar of the Artemision. The rectangular altar precinct stood before the West (W) facade of the Archaic temple, on axis and parallel to it. In the excavator's reconstruction the altar comprised a large sacrificial stone table approached by a rampway. During the late Archaic period a low wall was thrown around three sides of the table, including the side facing the temple, leaving open only the fourth side toward the sea on the W. The courtyard so formed was approximately fifty feet deep and one hundred feet broad, broader then than the similar but later Altar of Zeus at PERGAMUM. In late Classical times the enclosure on the same foundations consisted of a base sculptured with reliefs above which stood a series of Ionic columns.

In hopes of solving the long-standing controversy over the ground plans and reconstructions of the early and later temples, the Artemision itself has received more attention. Suggestions have been made for restoring the original Archaic Artemision with double rows of columns on the four sides of a structure divided into forehall, large central area, and reserved rear chamber. The later Classical temple remained essentially the same except for some enlargement and modification, including the addition of a third row of eight columns on the W which served to advance the façade of the temple; by this means an epiphany of the goddess through doors in the pediment of the temple's roof could be seen more easily over the walls of the altar's court. The central unroofed area was entered down a flight of stairs from the front porch of the temple. In this central area stood a small shrine for the cult image of ARTEMIS Ephesia, a stiff, pillar-like figure wearing a corselet of eggs and a long, fitted skirt worked with various animal figures. The suggested reconstruction makes the Artemision very similar to the temple of Apollo at Didyma near MILETUS, which did in fact have the same architect, Paionios of Ephesus (Vitruvius, On Architecture VII, Preface [16]).

After being destroyed by the Goths in A.D. 263 the temple of Artemis may have been partially repaired, but with the advance of Christianity the temple gradually became no more than a quarry for materials reused in Late Antique, Medieval, and Turkish constructions in Selçuk (Church of St. John) and Istanbul (Hagia Sophia).

2. Civic agora. The ceremonial center of the city established by ALEXANDER'S general Lysimachus was the shrine of Hera Boulaia on the saddle between Mounts Pion and Koressos. In this shrine a sacred hearth representing the well-being of the city was kept constantly burning. Here also was the assembly hall for the city councilors (bouleuterion), offices for the duty officials (prytaneion), and a large three-aisled hall (basilica) for transaction of business and legal proceedings as well as for the display of the laws and public announcements. Numerous portrait heads from commemorative statues set up here have been found; several, including one of AUGUSTUS, had been mutilated by zealous Christians who hacked crosses into the foreheads of the portraits (Fig. El). Within the great square below the basilica stood a small temple built in the late first century B.C. and demolished in the time of Theodosius. A black stone head of AMMON and the rattle from a sistrum indicate that the temple may have been dedicated to the Egyptian gods, while a large portrait head of Antony discovered in the area suggests that Antony and Cleopatra commissioned its construction.

3. Baths of Scholastikia. During the rule of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century, material was robbed from the sanctuary of Hera Boulaia and surrounding buildings by a Christian woman named Scholastikia, in order to renovate a large bath at tire intersection of the "Street of the Kouretes" and the "Marble Road" in central Ephesus. Two statues of Ephesian Artemis (one carved from translucent Parian marble and bearing traces of gilding) were found carefully buried beside the robbed buildings. It would seem that certain persons objected to burning the images into lime for mortar, because they at least did not believe Paul's dictum that "gods made with hands are not gods" (Acts 19:26). The Baths of Scholastikia included almost every facility for bodily comfort: eating places, dressing rooms, hot and cold baths, massage and anointing chambers, a lavatory, and even a large paidiskeion (brothel) decorated with mosaics and frescoes.

4. Residences. On the S side of the so-called Street of the Kouretes running between the civic agora and the lower, commercial agora, a number of well-preserved houses crowded together on a series of ascending terraces have been excavated. These upper-middle-class residences had a multistoried appearance not unlike certain apartment buildings in Rome and Ostia. The apartment block is fronted by a colonnade sheltering stores and taverns. Passageways between the shops lead from the street up to the entrances of individual living quarters. Each section usually centers around a small open colonnaded courtyard from which subsidiary rooms are entered. The standard of living varied from section to section, but generally the apartments seem to have been fairly comfortable. At least two had heated bathrooms; several boasted colored marble wall revetments and floor mosaics, as well as glass, ivory, bronze, and marble adornments; such amenities as running water and wall frescoes were common. The construction and refurbishing of these apartments continued from the first into the seventh century A.D.

5. Churches and mosques. The major Christian shrines at Ephesus symbolically link the ancient world with late medieval and modern times. The Church of St. John, the study of which is now being continued with excavation and restoration, stands close by the Sultan ?sa Bey Camii (Mosque of Sultan Jesus I of the Aydino?lu dynasty) erected in A.D. 1375. In 1955 a cave-like chapel on Mount Koressos above the city to the S was discovered, and graffiti here attest for the first time in Ephesus the invocation of PAUL as a saint. The controversial last home of the Virgin (Meryem Ana or Panaya Kapulu, S of Ephesus) was visited by Pope Paul in 1967. The Church of Mary in Ephesus proper was built inside a Roman structure which has been recognized as the stock exchange for the bankers of ancient Ephesus. The Third Ecumenical Council held in this church in A.D. 431 established a secure cult position for the Virgin as the divine Mother of God; she thereby completely usurped the status of Artemis, "Mother of the Gods."

Bibliography. New final reports in Forschungen in Ephesus VI-VII, Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut in Wien (1971 ff.); annual preliminary reports in Anzeiger der phil.-hist. Klasse der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Wien, and articles on various aspects of the city in Jahreshefte des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts in Wien, Hauptblatt and Beiblatt; D. Knibbe, W. Alzinger, and S. Karwiese, "Ephesos," PW, Supplementband XII (1970), cols. 248-364; J. Keil, Ephesos, Ein Führer durch die Ruinenstätte und ihre Geschichte (5th ed., 1964); A. Bammer, "Der Altar des jüngeren Artemisions von Ephesos," Archäologischer Anzeiger of the Jahrbuch des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, LXXXIII (1968), 400-423; LXXXVII (1972), 714-28, Die Architektur des jüngeren Artemision von Ephesos (1972), "Die Entwicklung des Opferkultes am Altar des Artemis von Ephesos," Istanbuler Mitteilungen 23/24 (1973/1974), 53-63; R. Fleischer, Artemis von Ephesos und verwandte Kultstatuen aus Anatolien und Syrien (1973); O. F. A. Meinardus, St. Paul in Ephesus and the Cities of Galatia and Cyprus (1973).




Join Now

sermons.com presents Leonard Sweet