temple of Artemis is known as one
of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
It has been built in the areas of Ephesus
on a flat area which has over the centuries
turned into a swamp. If you visit Ephesus today, you can only
see the ruins of the foundations of this
marvelous construction of the Hellenistic
Age, entirely made of marble and full
of sculptured columns' capitals and shafts.
The most beautiful remaining of this temple
are today exhibited in the London British
The oldest remaining found date back till
the 6th century BC. It was surrounded
by 36 huge columns, later enlarged upon
the orders of the Lydia King, Kreisos,
during the 6th century BC. Most of the
exhibits in the London British Museum
belong to this period.
The new Artemis has been rebuilt
in the 2nd century BC. Located on top
of the previous one, it had tremendous
dimensions: 127 columns of each 17,5 meters
high. Unfortunately this one has also
been destroyed by fire, reconstructed
and again demolished by earthquakes, rebuilt
and at last looted by Goths one year later.
The statue of many-breasted Artemis was
the symbol of the temple but also of abundance,
hunting and wild life. The genuine statue
of Artemis, removed during the fire, is
today exhibited in the Selcuk Museum.
Many copies of this statue found during
the latest excavations date back from
the Roman period.
was also called Cynthia, from her
birth place, Mount Cynthus in Delos. She
was Apollo's twin sister, daughter of
Zeus and Leto. She was one of the three
maiden goddesses of Olympus: the pure
maiden Vesta, gray-eyed Athena who
cares but for war and the arts of the
craftsmen, and Artemis, lover of woods
and the wild chase over the mountain.
She was the Lady of Wild Things, Huntsman-in-chief
to the gods, an odd office for a woman.
As a huntress her favorite animal was
the stag, because its swiftness gave the
best opportunity for her method of capture,
which was by her silver bow and arrows
and speed of foot.
As Phoebus was the Sun, she was the Moon
called Phoebe and Selene (Luna) representing
the evening and night, carrying a torch,
and clad in long heavy robes, with a veil
covering the back of her head. Neither
name originally belonged to her.
was a Titan, one of the older gods. So
too was Selene, a moon-goddess, indeed,
but not connected with Apollo. She was
the sister of Helios, the sun-god with
whom Apollo was confused.
She was worshipped in Athens, Corinth,
and Thebes as goddess of strict upbringing,
of good fame, of upright mind, and of
sensibility in the affairs of ordinary
life. She chased and fired her arrows
at all wild and unchecked creatures and
In the later poets, Artemis is identified
with Hecate. She is "the goddess
with three forms", Selene in the
sky, Artemis on earth, Hecate in the lower
world and in the world above when it is
wrapped in darkness. Hecate was the Goddess
of the dark of the Moon, the black nights
when the moon is hidden. She was associated
with deeds of darkness, the Goddess of
the Crossways, which were held to be ghostly
places of evil magic.
At Ephesus, where her great temple was
one of the seven wonders of the world,
Artemis was represented with a mural crown,
with a disc behind the crown; on her breast,
a garland of flowers, as a sign of her
influence in spring time. Lions cling
to her arms; as mother of wild beasts,
she has many breasts; her legs are closely
bandaged and ornamented with figures of
bulls, stags, lions, and griffins; at
the sides are flowers and bees. This figures
may have resembled the original image
of the goddess which had fallen from heaven.
(Luna) is represented as riding on a mule
or a horse; on the pediment of the Parthenon
it is a horse.
Explore Ephesus and Artemis with OTTI's Ephesus Tours.