You can’t go to ruins in America, mostly due to the fact that the country is only 200 years old (but also because we’re a super destructive society). I’ve always wanted to see Greek ruins, and somehow, the fact that we’re going to was completely off my radar. So of course, I researched it, using actual books. I feel like I should get some brownie points.
Ephesus has a long and complicated history (Do you see a theme?). It was first established on the shore of a bay and the base of Mt. Pion. It was later pushed by a very rude river to southwest of the mountain. The oldest information found about the city goes back to the 7th Century BCE. Their neighbors, The Cimmerians, tried to capture it, but were unsuccessful. Some neighbors they were.
During the first years of the Ionian Revolts (499-493 BCE), it was used as a base for the Persians. A sort of peace with the Persians lasted 50 years until Xerkses I, the king of Persian c.486, looted the temples; he left the Temple of Artemis (the patron goddess of the city) untouched though.
The city soon came under Athens’s protection and they supported the Spartans in the Peloponnesian War. They then revolted against Athens in 412 BCE, and bounced between the Persians and Spartans till they were captured by Alexander the Great in 334 BCE. After he died, Lysimachus, (Sometimes spelled Lysimachos, which I like better because it’s spelled like nachos) a general to Alexander, became the ruler and moved the city. He also renamed the city after his wife, but it didn’t stick. He should have just bought her diamonds.
The Hellenistic period came and brought a golden age. Then the Romans just gave the city to King Perganese, and then it was given back to the Romans after he died in 133 BCE. (It seems the city was like the Christmas present you get from that one weird aunt that you later regift, because what are you going to do with popcorn machine?)
Then Christianity nosed itself into the city, but was rejected. When St Paul came to preach, he was protested against, and imprisoned, by the Pagans and Jews. Then the Goths came and burned all the Pagan temples (Including the Temple of Artemis) and destroyed the city like the douches they are. The city never recovered and it was completely uninhabited by the 14th Century CE.
In lieu of Kewl Facts (that’s what I’m calling it now), we’re going to explore a few of the ancient ruins, because I have the soul of a tour guide.
The Celsius Library
One of the most well-known ruins is the Celsius Library. When Tiberius Julius Celsius, the General Governor of the Asian providence died, his son, Tiberius Julius Apuila, commissioned a library be built over his grave. When he died, the library may have been continued by Apuila’s son in 125 CE. If I don’t get a library built over my grave I will come back and haunt all of you.
The library held 12,000 roll books that the Goths promptly burned #NONINTELLECTUALS. Athena stood inside with Sophia, Arête, Eunomia, and Episteme outside to represent wisdom, knowledge and virtue. The library was restored in 1970-1978 (I don’t know how you restore a ruin, but to each their own)
The Grand Theatre
I like to think that the ancient Romans performed RENT in their free time.
Yes I included the theatre, it took everything I had not to sing The Newsies in there. The first enlargement of the theatre was during the Hellenistic Period, and I guess they just kept expanding. The theatre has 24,500 seats divided into three sections with two passages in between and 22 raw seats in the passages. The orchestra is a semi-circle with channels to let rain water out. The theatre was used for both Gladiator fights and Artistic performances (just imagine RENT with togas).
The Church of the Virgin Mary
One of the most important churches in the Catholic faith, The Church of the Virgin Mary is also called the Council Church, due to the Ecumenical councils held there in 431 and 439 to discuss the Virgin Mary, Christ and whether he was the son of God. The church was also the first church built in the name of Mother Mary. The council ultimately decided that Christ had one personality and two identities and Mary was his mother. It later became a training center for priests.
And that’s your dose of HistoryLily, ya junkies.
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