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Temple of Artemis at Ephesus


Ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus


7 Wonders of the Ancient World > Temple of Artemis

The temple of Artemis at Ephesus* is known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It has not survived the ages.

It is thought that the temple was designed by Chersiphron of Crete, funded by the Lydian King Croesus, and built starting c. 550 B.C. The renowned Athenian marble and bronze sculptor Pheidias (Phidias), a friend of Pericles' who built another one of the seven wonders -- the statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the bronze sculptor Polycleitus (Polyclitus) of Sicyon, who worked and taught at Argos, were among the great artists whose bronze sculptures adorned the marble temple of Artemis at Epheus. Its overall dimensions were (possibly) 400' x 200.' There were approximately 127 columns with graceful Ionic capitals with spirals that are known as "volutes".

On July 21, 356 B.C., the day Alexander the Great was born, a man named Herostratus is thought to have burned down the temple. Alexander helped pay for a new temple of Artemis, designed by Dinocrates and copying much of its predecessor, built in its place. Both it and its predecessor had a novelty, relief carvings on the lower parts of 36 columns, according to Great Architecture of the world, by John Julius Norwich.

*For the location of Ephesus, see Ic on Map of Greek and Phoenician Settlements in 550 B.C.


A Companion to Greek Studies, edited by Leonard Whibley (1905), says that excavations at Ephesus have revealed three layers of temples of Artemis. The third (about 342' x 163') was the one built by Alexander the Great to replace the one burned at his birth. The first was built probably in the late 8th century. It is the second one, dedicated or otherwise associated with Croesus in the mid 6th century B.C.

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