Friday, 5 December 2014

Temple of Artemis and Basilica of St. John

The Seven Wonders of the World refers to remarkable constructions dating back to classical antiquity
Only one, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders, remains relatively intact
The location and fate of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is unknown, the Colossus of Rhodes, Lighthouse of Alexandria and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus were destroyed during earthquakes, and the statue of Zeus and Temple of Artemis were deliberately destroyed. 

"I have gazed on the walls of impregnable Babylon along which chariots may race, and on Zeus by the banks of the Alphaeus. I have seen the Hanging Gardens and the Colossus of the Helios, the great man-made mountains of the lofty pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus" - Greek Anthology lX.58
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Artemis was one of the most venerated of the Ancient Greek deities, her Roman equivalent being Diana. She was the daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo

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Over the centuries the Temple of Artemis was destroyed by fire, reconstructed, destroyed by earthquakes, rebuilt, and finally looted by Goths.
Sadly all that is left is just one single forlorn column made up of fragments remaining on the site near Ephesus where the great sacred building stood. It is thought that Emperor Justinian reused many of the huge columns in St. Sophia, Istanbul and in the Basilica of St. John which is the ruined building you can see immediately behind the column 
Entrance to the Basilica of St. John
For centuries early Christian tradition held that St. John moved to Ephesus living there before and after his exile to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelations. Upon his return to Ephesus, he wrote the Gospel of John. He died in Ephesus in or around 100 AD. A tomb, discovered in the 4th century, was thought to be his, and a modest church was built over it. Emperor Justinian and Queen Theodora then built a sumptuous basilica over the church during the 6th century. 
The church attained the status of a "Church of the cross" and played an important Christian pilgrimage role during the middle ages. 
 
I touched several of these marble pillars in St. Johns in case they had been reused from the temple!
It is generally accepted that St. John came to Ephesus together with the Virgin Mary, and it is where they both spent the final years of their lives. 
I personally have seen the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the spot where the mighty Lighthouse of Alexandria was plunged into the sea during an earthquake. Looking upon the site of another of the 7 wonders of the ancient world was a moment when I pondered how it might have looked. Built in 550 BC this Hellenistic temple had a marble podium with thirteen steps leading up to a double colonnade which completely encircled the peristyle. It is considered to have been the very first marble building ever to have been constructed. The Temple was 150% larger, 50% longer and 50% wider than the impressive Parthenon in Athens, its Ionic columns were 25% taller - it was massive. 
As you can probably imagine the British Museum has a collection of beautiful pieces from the temple courtesy John Turtle Wood's excavations in the 19th century!

27 comments:

  1. Dear Rosemary,
    such beautiful photos - and you see & learn so much!
    But thanks to you I knew when somebody yesterday spoke of the Rock Tombs( of Caria realm?) what she was speaking of and said happily:" A Blogger-friend has just posted about it!"

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    1. Dear Britta - I am pleased about that - isn't it often the case that once you hear about something or somewhere it will invariably crop up again in conversations, you will read about it, or maybe see it on the TV?

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  2. Hello Rosemary, It's too bad that so many monuments can only be built at the expense of older ones. Still, reuse of materials, such as classical stonework reused in the Basilica of St. John, does create its own type on continuity. I can imagine that it all adds to the aura when visiting such a site.
    --Jim

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    1. Dear Jim - Today we are so much more mindful and aware of protecting ancient monuments from all around the world, but even so it is a fairly recent development that we now show more respect for our cultural past. The area of Ephesus is a World Heritage Site so nothing will ever be reused from that area again.

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  3. Artemis has always been close to my heart. I have a reproduction of that statue in my collection of Goddess statues. I hope the column you touched was indeed once part of her ancient temple.

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    1. That is interesting Debra - glad that I happened on a favourite Goddess for you♡

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  4. Dear Rosemary,

    Thank you for sharing this evocative site with us, and again, it looks as though you had Ephesus pretty much to yourselves. When I'm in places like that, I often think to myself that I am but one dimension away from historic moments. It can be an eerie feeling, too!

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    1. Dear Mark - you would be surprised at the antics I get up to prevent having people in my photos - hiding behind pillars and rocks, waiting patiently for others to move on and quickly snap before someone else appears. I confess that in one of my photos showing the small Odeum theatre at Ephesus someone would not go on their way and they weren't sufficiently near the edge of the photo for me to crop them out so I have covered them up with a stone!!!
      However, at the Basilica of St. John it is correct that there were not many people around.
      I do like people but not in my photos.

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    2. I am exactly the same way, and have done a lot of waiting, too.

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  5. Your photos bring back so many good memories. We've spent a lot of time in the Church of St. John. Did you go up to Mary's House?

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    1. Glad that this post brought back your own memories - yes, we did visit Mary's house which I showed on the post I did on Ephesus.

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  6. I know that I always say that I love your posts - because I do! - but this is yet another amazing post. So interesting. You know that I love history, and I always learn so much from you about places that I may never visit but get to feel that I know just a little of through you. Thank you a million! xx

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    1. Dear Amy - reading this has made my evening. I am always worried in case I make a post too long and also boring, so thank you very much for saying that you enjoyed it. Thank you a million in return♡

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  7. Like the first collage.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  8. Hi Rosemary,

    Have just gone back and looked at all your wonderful photos - what an amazing trip you must have had.
    Been able to touch the old marble pillars and walk around there must have been special.
    Thanks for showing us your photos and wishing you a great weekend
    hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Dear Carolyn - thanks for visiting and glad you enjoyed seeing the posts from Turkey - it is a country that has so many interesting things for the visitor to see

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  9. I find what you have written very interesting Rosemary. So much to still learn and retain in the brain :)
    Regards,
    Margaret

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    1. I remember learning about the seven wonders of the classical world when I was at school so it was good to have this experience in Turkey it all becomes much more meaningful.

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  10. Another interesting post about your journey to Turkey, thank you Rosemary. The Temple of Artemis must have looked amazing, and I like that you touched some pillars, to connect with the past. (I did the same thing in Rome recently). I particularly enjoy your information about the history of the early Christian church.

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    1. We have visited Turkey three times now - the first being Istanbul. We have seen so many remarkable things there, much of which was completely new to me. Only one more post to go. I am pleased that you have enjoyed them.

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  11. Stunning place and spectacular ruins.

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  12. Every time I visit I learn something new - it is like having a personal history tutor. Thanks Rosemary.

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    1. If you found it of interest then I am delighted - thank you Elaine

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  13. Only remnants, but such historic and evocative ones. My mind is boggling at the size of the lost Temple of Artemis, Rosemary.

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    1. Mine too Perpetua - what fantastic architects and builders were those ancients

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