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City at the mouth of the river Caÿster on the west coast of Asia Minor, which rivalled and finally displaced Miletus, and owing to the silting up of both harbours since antiquity has itself been displaced by Izmir (Smyrna) as the seaport of the Maeander valley. Ephesus was founded by Ionian colonists led by Androclus son of Codrus. It had little maritime activity before Hellenistic times, when it was oligarchic in temper and open to indigenous influences. The city maintained itself against the Cimmerians and also Lydia until its capture by Croesus, who contributed to the construction of the great temple of Artemis. Under Persia it shared the fortunes of the other coastal cities; it was a member of the Delian League, but revolted c. 412 bce and sided with Sparta. The Archaic Artemisium, burnt down in 356 bce, was rebuilt in the 4th century bce, the Ephesians refusing Alexander (3) the Great's offer to fund the cost (Strabo 14.1.22). The city was replanned by Lysimachus, considered one of their city-founders by later Ephesians, and passed with the kingdom of Attalus III to Rome in 133 bce. An enthusiastic supporter of Mithradates VI (88–85 bce), it was deprived by Sulla of its free status. Under the Principate it eclipsed Pergamum as the economic and administrative hub of provincial Asia (see portoria). Seat of Roman officialdom and one of the province's original conventus centres, it was also its chief centre for the (Roman) ruler-cult and thrice neōkoros by the early 3rd century ce. Acts of the Apostles ch. 19 gives a vivid picture of the Artemisium's religious and economic importance for the Roman city. As seen today, Ephesus is the product of the prosperous centuries of late antiquity, when it was the seat of the governor of Diocletian's reduced province of Asia and a metropolitan archbishopric. Among urban developments was the creation of the Arcadiane, a major colonnaded thoroughfare with street lighting, dominated by statues of the four evangelists. Several important Christian shrines include the tomb of St. John, where Justinian built a major basilica, round which the Byzantine town grew after Arab attacks in the 7th century. Ephesus again became an administrative centre in the 8th century, and remained important until captured by the Turks in 1304.


Bammer, Anton, and Ulrike Muss. Das Artemision von Ephesos: Das Weltwunder Ioniens in archaischer und klassischer Zeit. Mainz: P. von Zaberg, 1996.Find this resource:

    Foss, Clive. Ephesus after Antiquity: A Late Antique, Byzantine, and Turkish City. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1979.Find this resource:

      Oster, Richard E. A Bibliography of Ancient Ephesus. Philadelphia: American Theological Library Association, 1987.Find this resource:

        Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut, ed. Forschungen in Ephesos. Vienna: A. Hölder, 1906–2014.Find this resource:

          Parrish, David, and Halûk Abbasoğlu, eds. Urbanism in Western Asia Minor: New Studies on Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Hierapolis, Pergamon, Perge and Xanthos. Journal of Roman Archaeology 45. Portsmouth, RI: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2001.Find this resource:

            Rogers, Guy MacLean. The Sacred Identity of Ephesos: Foundation Myths of a Roman City. London: Routledge, 1989.Find this resource:

              Rubinstein, Lede. “Ephesos.” In An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis, edited by Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen, 1070–1071. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.Find this resource:

                Scherrer, Peter. Ephesus: The New Guide. Istanbul: Ege Yayinlari, 2000.Find this resource:

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