The Temple of Artemis was first built around 800 BCE
in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, located on the coast of what
is now modern day Turkey.
The temple was destroyed several times. It
was rebuilt several times, always on the same site. It was rebuilt
more impressively than the temple that had been destroyed before it.
The first temple
was destroyed in war around 550 BCE. After the war, the townspeople
Some years later
it was burnt down by a man who wanted his name to be remembered
forever. (The townspeople created a law that said anyone who mentioned
his name would be put to death, so his plan did not work very well,
although he did successfully destroy the temple.) Coincidentally,
it was burned down on the same day that Alexander the Great was born.
The temple was
under construction (again) when some years later Alexander the Great
visited the town. Alexander was so impressed with this famous temple
that he offered to give the town enough money to finishing building it
if they would put his name on it. The town did not want to do that,
but they did thank Alexander very nicely. (You would too if you were
facing Alexander's army!)
had seen many beautiful buildings in his travels, but this temple was
so beautiful that it impressed even Alexander the Great.
The temple in
Alexander's time was highly decorated and very spacious. It was 425
feet long, 225 feet wide, and 60 feet high. 127 columns supported the
For a while, a
constant stream of visitors came to see the temple. To take advantage
of this traffic, various townspeople built shops around the temple.
Some shops sold little replicas of the temple for tourists to take
home. The town of Ephesus boomed for a while. But it didn't last. The
temple was destroyed (again) around 200 CE by the Goths.
This time, it
was not rebuilt. Construction costs had increased considerably. There
was not enough money in the town treasury to rebuild the temple to its
former magnificence. The pieces that were not taken for new
building projects slowly sunk in the marshy field until the ruin
disappeared from sight altogether.
years later, in the 1800's, the British Museum sent a team to search
for the fabled Temple of Artemis. By then, no one had any idea where
the temple used to stand. Short of digging up the whole town and the
surrounding countryside, the first team found themselves rather stuck.
Another team, sent out a few years later, got lucky. While digging in
a field, they found the remains of 5 temples, one built on top of the
other. They believed they had found the Temple of Artemis.
Today, in the
ancient town of Ephesus, all that remains of this incredible structure
is a single column in the middle of a marshy field, left to mark the
spot where the famous Temple of Artemis once stood.
of Artemis in PowerPoint format (pppst)
Temple of Artemis
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