The Temple of Artemis was a place of prayer, built in a swampy area of Ephesus city and was dedicated to Artemis (Lady of Ephesus), a Greek Goddess. Artemis was also known as the Goddess of nature, birth, virginity, and fertility. She was known as the Goddess of fertility and was covered with symbols of fertility.
The Temple of Artemis was destroyed as many times as it was built, but was built at the same place over and over again. The physical appearance of the temple was extraordinary, but it did not stand a chance of existence. Perhaps, no other holy place or temple is as unfortunate as the Temple of Artemis. The temple was destroyed by people such as Herostratus, Croesus, the Goths, and St. John Chrysostom. When the temple was constructed earlier, a part of a meteoroid from Jupiter was enshrined. It was eventually constructed in a rectangular form.
Construction and Destruction
An architect by the name of Theodorus constructed the temple that was 300 feet long and 150 feet wide. The temple was first destroyed in 550 B.C. Chersiphron, who was the architect and designer of the temple ordered all the stone pillars that were to support the ceiling to a place where they were to be erected. As the temple was being constructed in a marshland, it was impossible for the pillars to be carried in carts to the place where the pillars would stand.
Again in 356 B.C., Herostratus, who was an Ephesian, burnt down the temple to earn fame. People were furious and decided not to speak to him, and if one did, he would be killed. Alexander the Great also offered some financial help for the rebuilding of the temple, after he heard the news of its destruction. However, the Ephesians refused to accept the help from him.
Unfortunately, in 262 A.D., the temple was attacked by the Goths who destroyed it by fire. In 401 A.D., the temple was again destroyed by St. John Chrysostom and his followers, and the stones of the temple were used to construct other buildings.
In 1869, the remains of the temple were discovered by John Turtle Wood and his team, in a campaign that ended in 1879 and was supported by the British Museum. He had to overcome many hurdles and problems in the discovery. Later in 1904-06, D.G. Hogarth, who was a British archaeologist also found some remains of the temple.
Some of the discovered remains of the sculptures that were used to build the temple over and over again at the same place, are exhibited in the Ephesus Room, which is in the British Museum.
The temple does not exist today but a pillar does in the marshlands of Ephesus, and reminds visitors of a place where one of the seven wonders of the ancient world stood. Recent discoveries include gifts of the people that were offered to the Goddess when the temple existed. The temple is well known for the fact that it was built many times on the same site.