About Ephesus

About Ephesus

Ancient Ephesus and History

It is not a simple event to summarize the settlements of Ephesus with a history of approximately 10 thousand years and the history of Ephesus in the shortest possible way. Because the city of Ephesus and Ephesians is one of the ancient cities that left their mark on the world.

It is especially home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the world. In addition, the Apostle Paulos, one of the most important characters of Christianity, stayed in Ephesus for 3 years and gave a preacher. In addition, the city of Ephesus is one of the 4 cities with the largest population in the ancient world. The 3rd Consul, who directed Christianity, gathered in Ephesus.

Ephesus is located in the Aegean region of Turkey. It is within the borders of Selçuk town of İzmir. It is 3 km from Selcuk. Ephesus was located within the borders of Ionia in ancient times, at the mouth of the Kaystros (Kuçuk Menderes) river.

Ephesus History

The first settlement in Ephesus

The first signs of life around Ephesus BC. It coincides with the Neolithic period of 8000 BC in the Cukurici mound. During the excavations in Cukurici Mound, sherds of pottery, hunting materials, and various ornaments were found.

Ephesus in prehistoric times
Early life around Ephesus

Ayasuluk Hill is the first place where Ephesus was founded after the transition from hunter-gatherer to the agricultural period in the real sense. Currently, Selçuk Castle is located on Ayasuluk Hill. Selcuk town is located at the foot of this hill.

If we look at the history of Ephesus; The oldest ruins in Ephesus were found in the east direction, about 500 meters from the Magnesia gate of Ephesus. The tools and ceramics made of obsidian stone here are dated to the late Chalcolithic period. The ceramics found on the Ayasuluk hill are dated to the second half of 3000 BC. Thus, it was determined that there was a bronze age settlement in the place where the city was first established. BC in the Aegean region. In the second half of the 2000s, some Mycenaean settlements appear.

Hellenes of Mycenaean origin took these settlements as their base. A Mycenaean tomb and Mycenaean ceramics on the Ayasuluk hill are proof of the existence of a Mycenaean settlement in Ephesus. The word Ephesus is probably the Hellenized form of the Hittite word Apasa. Apasa is mentioned as the capital of the Arzawa region in Hittite sources.

B.C. The migration movement, which started from Central Europe in 1200 BC, forces the Dorians sitting on the Adriatic coasts to descend south. Aeols from the Hellenes who fled in front of them settled in the north of the Gediz Stream, and the Ions in the south of the Gediz Stream. The Dorians first settled in the Peloponnesos Peninsula, then settled in the southwest of the Anatolian Peninsula, in the Caria region.

Settlement in Ephesus

According to the geographer Strabo, the indigenous peoples of the Caria and Lelegs lived here before the colonists. In this period, there was a cult center belonging to the goddess Artemis in the southwest of Ayasuluk Hill. The newcomers destroyed the Karlar settlement here and established a new settlement 7 stadia away (approximately 1300 meters) from Artemis.

Research shows that this new settlement at the foot of Panayır Mountain, to the west of the stadium, is Ionic Ephesus. Its founder is Androklos, the son of Kodros, the mythological king of Athens.

The legend about the foundation of Ephesus is as follows; The colonists go to Delphi’s oracle Pythia and ask for a prophecy about where they can establish their city. Pythia tells them that they can establish their city where they see fish and wild boar together.

The colonists, who came to the Pamucak coast today with their boats, started a fire to fry the fish they caught, a wild boar, frightened by the splashes of fire, began to flee, the leader of the colonists Androklos, mounted his horse and caught and shot the wild boar. He founded the city of Ephesus, thinking that the prophecy was fulfilled when he shot the wild boar.

Androklos rules Ephesus as the founder of the city of Ephesus. His rule is followed by oligarchy, tyranny, and democracy, respectively. The city of Ephesus was a member of Panionion in 700 BC. So, the answer to the question of what is Panionion is; Panionion (or Panionium with its Latin name) is a historical festival site located in the Guzelcamli neighborhood of Kusadasi district of Aydın province.

The ancient city, located one kilometer from Dilek Peninsula Buyuk Menderes Delta National Park, is located on the northern slope of Samson Mountain (or Dilek Mountain, Mykale in ancient times) overlooking the Aegean Sea. Androklos rules Ephesus as the founder of the city of Ephesus. His rule is followed by oligarchy, tyranny, and democracy, respectively.

King Androklos Ephesus

The city of Ephesus was a member of Panionion in 700 BC. So, the answer to the question of what is Panionion is; Panionion (or Panionium with its Latin name) is a historical festival site located in the Guzelcamli neighborhood of Kusadasi district of Aydın province.

The ancient city, located one kilometer from Dilek Peninsula-Büyük Menderes Delta National Park, is located on the northern slope of Samson Mountain (or Dilek Mountain, Mykale in ancient times) overlooking the Aegean Sea.

The name of this union began to be organized in Panionion and became synonymous with a regular festival and games (Panionia Festival or Panegyris), whose ongoing reflection is the Olympic Games today. The beginning of this festival probably coincides with the establishment of the first temple here. (8th century BC).

Because it is an area that was not subject to urban settlement, including in antiquity, it is mentioned together with the closest historical settlement, Melia, in many sources (Melia-Panionion).

There is an Ionian temple dedicated to Poseidon in the festival area, known to have been used since the 8th century BC. Meetings and discussions during the festivals held regularly in the temple formed the political framework of the Panyonia Union. This union, which was formed with the participation of Smyrna to the twelve Ionian city-states, was composed of the following cities according to Herodotus: Miletos, Myus, Priene, Ephesus, Kolophon, Lebedos, Teos, Klazomenai, Phokaia, Samos, Chios, Erythrai.

This union continued to exist only religiously. In addition to the festival and the games, another element of historical importance that it gained, later on, is because the Persian Empire destroyed the Lydian Kingdom in the 6th century BC and it was a gathering place for resistance to the occupation between the 12 Ionian cities after the occupation of Anatolia as a whole (Ionian Uprising).

Alexander the Great
Alexander the great admired the temple of Artemis

The temple is 5 km from the inland slopes of Mount Samson, one of the Ionian cities. It was under the control of the city of Priene, located at a distance. The administration and supervision of religious rites, festivals, and games, and the presidency when meetings were held here, were provided by representatives of the city of Priene.

It is known that religious activities in Panionion were interrupted under the administration of the Persian Empire. Thucydides, writing at the end of the 5th century BC, states that the Ionians started to organize their festivals in Ephesus at that time, and Diodorus confirms the information that the Panionia festival was moved to Ephesus due to the constant conflict environment in the peninsula. In the age of Alexander the Great, games and festivals returned to Panionion, and although their importance gradually decreased over time, they continued to exist until the Roman Empire.

The city-state of Ephesus fights with its neighbor Magnesia to expand its sphere of influence. B.C. In 645, the city of Ephesus defended itself against the attacks of the Cimmerians led by Lygdamis. The poet Kallinos, who lived in this period, tells lyrically about the heroic defense of the city of Ephesus. B.C. In 545, another attack comes from the Lydian king Croesus. King Croesus besieges the city of Ephesus and asks them to recognize his sovereignty.

First, the army under the command of Harpagos destroys the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, but then Croesus treats the Ephesians well.

He gives financial aid to the temple of Artemis, whose construction has begun. He establishes the Ionian satrapy, which includes Caria, Lycia, Pamphylia, and Ionia. He wants the difference between those who are Hellenic and those who are not Hellenic in Ephesus to disappear, and for this, he forces the Hellenes to leave their place of residence and settle around the temple of Artemis.

Aristarchus of Hellenic origin directs this relocation, the political organization of the new Ephesus, for five years.

Lydian domination does not last long in Ephesus. After the Lydian King Kroisos lost his war against the great Persian King Cyrus on the edge of the Halys Stream (Kizilirmak), Kyros treats the Ephesians well and does not disturb the unity and order of the Ephesians. The city of Ephesus has a bright period, although it pays taxes to the Persians.

It becomes the cultural and commercial center of the region. B.C. Towards the end of the 6th century, we see that the famous philosopher Heraclitus lived in Ephesus. Cambyses and Darius, who came to power after the death of Cyrus, the great king of the Persians, increased the annual taxes.

The cities of Ionia, which did not want to pay these high taxes, rebelled against the Persians under the leadership of the Tiran Aristagoras of Miletus and BC. They started the Ionian Revolution in 500 BC.

The Ephesians are grateful to Alexander the Great who saved them from the Persians.

Ephesus remains neutral in this revolt. While Miletus was punished by the Persians as the initiator of this rebellion, Ephesus did not suffer any damage.

Hellenic BC. After the victory against the Persians in 480, he entered into good relations with the Ephesians and the Hellenes, and BC. Attica-Delos naval union, which was established under the leadership of Athens in 477 BC. It is included in 466. It pays an annual contribution of 7.5 talents to the union treasury. (1 talent= 26,193 kg of silver) This amount is an indicator of how rich the city of Ephesus is. Because the amount of contribution paid to the Delos Union was determined according to the economic structure of the cities.

B.C. In the Peloponnesian War (Athens and Sparta) in 431-404, the Ephesians sided with Sparta. Ephesus served as a port and an arms depot for Spartan ships during this period. After the Antalkidas peace treaty made in 387/386 BC, the Ephesians came under Persian rule again.

Ephesus, BC. After Alexander the Great, who wanted to avenge the Hellenes from the Persian Kingdom, defeated the Persians in Granikos in 334, Persian domination was liberated and democracy was re-established.

Heracleitos Ephesus
Heracletios and Ephesus

They diplomatically reject Alexander the Great’s offer to help rebuild the Temple of Artemis, saying, “It would not be elegant for a god to give a gift to another god.”

Alexander the Great’s After he died in 323, the tyrant named Hegeias, who ruled the city for a very short time in Ephesus, was killed by 3 Ephesians. The generals, the true heirs of Alexander the Great, divide the empire among themselves. This period after Alexander the Great is called the period of the Diadochs.

Ephesus was truly peaceful during this period when Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, came to power. (300 BC) Lysimachos relocates Ephesus and remembers it with his wife (Arsione) (287 BC) and has it rebuilt in the valley between Panayir Mountain and Bulbul Mountain, this time with the Hippodamus plan.

Lysimachos period in Ephesus

Lysimachos and Ephesus
Lysimachos was one of Alexander the Great’s generals

Although the Ephesians did not want to settle in the new city, the water channels were blocked by the order of Lysimachos and the rising water flooded the old city located at the foot of the Koressos Mountain. As a result, the Ephesians were forced to move to the new city. The city of Ephesus is surrounded by fortifications.

These Hellenistic city walls still stand intact. One of the reasons why the Ephesians did not want to move to the new city was that there was a necropolis in the place where the new city was located.

Some of the people of Teos, Lebedos, and Kolophon, which were neighbors of Ephesus, were forced to migrate to Ephesus under its new name (Arsinoe) by the force of Lysimachos. The dominance of Lysimachos in the city continues until 281 BC. In this year, the Seleucids and Ptolemies cooperated and defeated Lysimachos in Kourupedion (Manisa) and killed him. They share the cities under the rule of Lysimachos, with most of them remaining in the Seleucids. Ephesus falls under the rule of the Seleucids. B.C. In 246, the Seleucid king II. Antiochus Theos dies in Ephesus, and after a short while, Ephesus falls under the rule of the Ptolemies.

Seleukos king III in 197 BC. This domination continues until Antiochos defeated the Ptolemies and took the whole of Anatolia under his sovereignty. However, III. Antiochos’ domination did not last long. B.C. In 190 III. Antiochos loses the Magnesia war against the Romans and BC. With the peace treaty of Apameia (Dinar) made in 188, he left all the lands he owned in Anatolia up to the Taurus mountain range to the Romans.

Roman period in Ephesus

Rome managed the lands obtained by this peace agreement with the king of Pergamon (Bergama) II. to Eumenes.

The domination of the Kingdom of Pergamon BC. It continues until 133. On this date, King of Pergamon III. Just before Attalos’ death, he left the lands under his rule to Rome with a will. Both Ephesus and Pergamon BC. It is connected to the Province of Asia founded by Rome in 129 BC. After the establishment of the province of Asia, Roman merchants began to be seen in Ephesus.

The biggest change is seen in the tax system in this period. Rome taxes are not collected directly from the city, from the people of the city, but from the tenants (publican). The lands, public structures, construction sites, mines, saltpans, and fishing grounds, are leased to tenants, and publicans for five years, they make a down payment to Rome, then these publicans use them to remove the rent they give to the state treasury (aerarium Populi Romani) from the public.

They were exploiting irresponsibly. The people of Ephesus were so disturbed by these publicans that they sent a delegation to Rome under the presidency of the famous geographer Artemidoros and demanded that this system be changed. In the Roman period, the sanctuaries, the goods of the gods, and the temples were inviolable in Ephesus.

The Temple of Artemis in the city of Ephesus was among them. The Romans did not interfere in the administration of the cities, as long as the taxes were paid regularly, as long as the interests of Rome were not disturbed.

However, the high taxes that Rome received from the publicans (scriptura = land rent, metalla = mining operation certificate, decuma = product tax from the lands, tributum capitis = title tax, portorium asiae = customs tax) also afflicts the living. For this reason, the revolt of the Pontus King Mithridates Eupator V against Rome (89 BC) finds supporters.

Mithridates is acclaimed as a savior. VI. Mithridates comes to Ephesus and orders all Italics living in the province of Asia to be killed. Thousands of Italics are killed. (approximately 80,000 people) Roman statues are broken. Rome VI. He sends a commander named L. Cornelius Sulla to Mithridates, defeats Mithridates, and punishes Ephesus and the Ephesians. He re-establishes the dominance of Rome in Ephesus.

B.C. In 74, M. Tullius Cicero visited Ephesus for the first time. B.C. In 73, L. Licinius Lucullus was appointed governor of Ephesus. In the last years of the Roman Republic Period, Ephesus turns into a stage where Roman leaders put on a show. B.C. Gaius Julius Caesar, who won the victory against Pompeius Magnus in the war in 48, comes to Ephesus, appoints T. Amplius Balbus as the new governor, and generously makes some tax cuts.

Triumvir Marcus Antonius, who came after him, was born in BC. He came to Ephesus in 41 BC and, as Gaius Julius Caesar canceled the tax cuts, Ephesus imposes new taxes and conditions that the people cannot pay. Marcus Antonius, who married Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, BC. He returns to Ephesus in 33 BC. In 32, Octavian tries to form a new senate with the 300 senators that Augustus expelled from Rome and to increase the number of ships in his fleet from 200 to 800.

What is BC? He loses the war at Actium in 31 BC, and Rome’s civil war ends. The Roman Republic failed and Octavian Augustus died in BC. Declared his empire in Rome in 27 BC. The new state administration is created and the Imperial period begins.

B.C. In 29 BC, Ephesus was declared the capital of the Province of Asia by Octavian Augustus. With this, the administrative center of the province of Asia was given to Ephesus from Pergamon. From this date on, the province of Asia is the place where the official office of the Roman governor is located.

The city of Ephesus is declared a “free city” (Civitas Libera). This title meant that the city had an autonomous administration, that it would make and enforce its laws, that the city would no longer pay taxes to any government, that it had the right to impose customs duties, and that there could be no Roman garrison in the city. Meanwhile, during the Roman civil war VI. The limits of the right of immunity (asyl) to important places, which were enlarged twice by Mithridates and Mark Antony, are reduced to normal, 1 stadion measure.

Goddess Artemis and Ephesus
Temple of Artemis is in Ephesus

The new peace system was introduced by Ephesus Octaviaus Augustus, with the Pax Romana in the centuries after Christ, especially in AD. In the 1st and 2nd centuries, it enters a period of development and prosperity. The monumental structures built during these centuries give us information about this bright period.

It becomes the 4th largest city in the world after Alexandria, Antiocheia, and Athens. In the city, civil servants did not receive money from the state coffers for their services. Fulfilling certain duties on behalf of the city is an honor.

Among them, being elected Prytaneiona prytany, being elected as agoronomoi for the control of the agora, or being elected gramateus working as the secretary of state are some of these honorable duties. The honor inscriptions erected on the city squares and streets for these people who served the city can be seen today.

Factors affecting the development of the city of Ephesus, the use of the port of Ephesus as a freight exchange place, the transportation of goods from the east to Athens, Rome, or vice versa, the sale of what they produced as a rich province, Artemis being one of the 7 wonders of the world in the ancient world.

The fact that there were tourist trips and Artemis was the first credit bank of Asia, that it was the first and largest metropolis of Asia during the reign of Hadrian (117-138) after the neokoros (temple guard) during the reign of Domitianus (81-96 AD).

In addition, the bright and versatile life is seen in these centuries. It is known that grammar, geometry, mathematics, and music were taught in their schools and that there was a library built by Tiberius, Julius, and Celsus Polemaeanus.

Inscriptions document the existence of a college (museon) and a medical school in the city of Ephesus at the same time. We know that the rich people of the city of Ephesus organize competitions (agones). As an example, we can give the richest family in the city, such as the Vedius, organizing gladiatorial competitions.

Rich families had buildings repaired in the city of Ephesus and had roads built. It is also known that sports and music competitions were organized by these wealthy families. In the 2nd century A.D., 350,000 people, including Italics, Jews, and Egyptians, were living in the city of Ephesus, which was permanent for commercial purposes. This number does not include Roman soldiers, administrators, tourists who come to see Artemis, and traders residing in the city.

Ephesus during the Christian period

Between the I-III centuries, when Christianity began and gradually settled in Anatolia and finally settled, the Apostle Paulus’ A.S. came to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla in 52 B.C. to preach here for three years to spread Christianity, the jeweler Demetrius protested in the Ephesus theater while the Apostle Paulus was preaching “Ephesus Artemis is the greatest”.

St. Paul in Ephesus
St. Paul preached in Ephesus

The tomb of the theologian Johannes, who wrote the book, was placed in the Church of St. John in Ephesus, which was built in his name, Priest Timotheus was martyred for the sake of religion during the Dionysus Catagogien festival during the Roman emperor Nerva (54-68 AD), the Roman emperor Decius (249 AD). -251) Except for the follow-up of the Christians, there was no significant event in the city of Ephesus.

The city of Ephesus was visited by many Roman emperors. M.S. Emperor Trajan in 114 AD. It was visited by Emperor Hadrianus in 130 and was given the title of 2nd Neokoros.

Romans M.S. They used Ephesus as a military base in their war with the Parthians between 162-166, and when the Roman soldiers returned to Ephesus, they brought the plague from Mesopotamia to the city.

This contagious and bad disease affected the city of Ephesus and the people of Ephesus very badly and continued its effect for nearly 20 years.

The city of Ephesus received the title of 3rd Neokoros during the reign of Emperor Caracalla and the title of 4th Neokoros during the reign of Emperor Elagabalus.

The turning point of the bright life of the city of Ephesus, M.S. It was during the reign of the Soldier emperors in the III century (235-284 AD). The city walls, which lost their importance with Pax Romana, were neglected. In 262, it was attacked by the Goths. In this attack, the temple of Artemis was destroyed, and the treasure of Artemis, which had been accumulated for centuries in Ephesus, was robbed.

After a strong earthquake in the same year, the city of Ephesus was severely destroyed and the minting of coins in the city of Ephesus ceased from this date on.

The Roman emperor Decius A.D. attributed the tension of the Roman empire to the spread of Christianity. In 250 he begins the pursuit of Christians. For this, a commission was established and this commission would go to the cities and make inspections.

The legend of the seven sleepers in Ephesus emerges here. Seven people who escaped from the Roman emperor Decius entered the cave to the east of Panayır mountain and hid, and the emperor II. They sleep untouched until the time of Theodosius (450 AD).

In the pursuit of this Christianity in Ephesus, those who were martyred for the sake of religion (who rose to the rank of Martyrer) were certain. M.S. Two churches created in the 5th and 6th centuries must be traces of this. During the decline of the Roman empire, the emperor Diocletian’s A.D. stopped when he comes to power.

With the arrival of Emperor Diocletian, the system of domination begins. Christians are again widely followed. The taxes of those living within the borders of the Roman Empire are increased, while the provincial lands and their workers are subject to the new system, compulsory tax. Everyone is compelled to fight inflation and rely on the Roman monetary system. Ephesus gets its share of this.

Christianity M.S. After his release with the Milan edict in 311 and during the reign of Theodosius I, A.D. After the acceptance of the state as the official religion of the state in 391, the 3rd Christian council A.D. It gathers in Ephesus in 431, in the church built in the name of the Virgin Mary, the mother of the Prophet Jesus. (Council Church) In this council, the thesis of the Blessed Virgin Mary “Is God the mother of Jesus or the mother of human Jesus” is discussed.

The clergy who attended this meeting; were Nestorius from Constantinople, Kyrillos from Alexandria, Johannes from Antioch, and 200 priests representing different churches.

The Basilica of St. John
The Basilica of St. John

The winner in the debate was Kyrillos of Alexandria, who defended the thesis that “Mary is the mother of God Jesus”.

The peace period of the city of Ephesus M.S. It ends in the 7th century. It is the capital of the military region (Thrakesion), which was replaced by the province, which was abolished in the Byzantine period until this century.

M.S. Towards the end of the 7th century, Ephesus was exposed to the first Arab invasion. M.S. It was sacked by the Caliph Muawiya in 688. M.S. In 716 – 717, another Arab commander, Maslama, tried to capture the city of Ephesus, but he could not be successful.

After the first Arab raid, the Ephesians retreated to the Ayasuluk hill, where they founded the first Ephesus in history, and tried to strengthen this place with the stones of Artemis, which was destroyed. Later, this hill was named Ayasuluk (Hagios Theogolos) by the Turks (Aydınogullari).

The population of Ephesians living on Ayasuluk Hill has decreased a lot and is as small as a small town. Turkish commander Çaka Bey easily seizes this tiny town of Ephesus (1304 AD). (Isa Bey Mosque – 1375 AD) The city of Ephesus was included in the territory of the Ottoman Empire by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and has continued to live as a small garrison city since then.

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