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Ancient Greece - Room 22

Sculptured column base from temple of Artemis in Ephesus

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The huge temple of Artemis in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, measuring 150 x 80 metres.

There were three rows of eight marble columns on the main front, facing west, two rows of 21 columns down each side. and two rows of nine columns at back, making a total of 127 columns. Each column was 20 metres high. 36 of them were overlaid with gold and jewels. The base of 36 columns were decorated with sculpture, like the one here.

Between 1869 and 1874, JT Wood of the British Museum excavated Ephesus, but found no trace of the temple of Artemis. He found an inscription describing the route of a procession in honour of Artemis, leaving the temple by one gate, and returning by another. He found the gates and then, from these, located the ruins of the temple in a swamp, where he found this column base.

This temple was standing when Paul brought the Gospel to Ephesus (Acts 19), so Paul actually saw this exhibit. Silversmiths made silver statues of Artemis (Diana) and were upset at their loss of trade as a result of Paul preaching the Gospel. This led to the riot in the theatre. There are more remains from Ephesus downstairs, as well as large photographs of the ruins.


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