Altar Of Artemis Found At Ephesus -- By: Anonymous
BSP 4:1 (Winter 1975) p. 15
Altar Of Artemis Found At Ephesus
The one attraction that made Ephesus famous among the cities of antiquity was her Temple of Artemis (Roman Diana), one of the seven wonders of the world. It measured 180 by 360 feet and had columns on the order of 70 feet high. It was this temple that Demetrius the Ephesian silversmiths referred to when he stirred up his colleagues: “And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may count for nothing” (Acts 19:27, RSV). Paul and his friends had brought the gospel to town and the image makers were in trouble: “Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable company of people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods” (Acts 19:26, RSV).
The Ephesian goddess was actually a form of the Asian mother goddess and had little but the name in common with Greek Artemis and nothing in common with Roman Diana. She was a goddess of fertility and was believed to be the source of fecundity in man and beast and vegetation. As such, her worship was sensuous and orgiastic.
Early Work at the Site
The history of the temple is a very complex matter. Excavations at Ephesus began in 1869 under the direction of an Englishman, John Turtle Wood, who conducted his fieldwork there until 1874. Wood succeeded in locating the temple, which was completely buried, and more than twenty years later in 1895, the Austrian Archaeological Institute took up where he left off. Archaeologists from the Austrian Institute have worked at the site intermittently from then until the present time. They have uncovered vast portions of the Hellenistic and Roman city and have made some important discoveries in the Sanctuary of Artemis, otherwise known as the Artemision.
The bulk of the Austrian work at the temple site followed that of an Englishman named G.D. Hogarth, who explored the temple during 1904 and 1905. Hogarth had to labor under extremely difficult
BSP 4:1 (Winter 1975) p. 16
conditions: the building was below the level of the water table, and he was forced to use pumps constantly. Despite such circumstances, he successfully unraveled several of the temple’s construction periods. Under the pavement of the Archaic temple he found some enigmatic remains from the seventh century B.C. It was he, in fact, who identified the Archaic or so-called “Croesus” temple, an impressive monumental construction which, according to historians, was left unfinished when the Lydian King Croesus conquered E...
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