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Temple of Artemis

a Pleiades location resource

Creators: Jeffrey Becker, Joel Michael Kent
Contributors: Adam Rabinowitz
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Jun 19, 2020 11:03 AM History
The Temple of Artemis, the central element of the extramural sanctuary of Artemis at Ephesus, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.


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Generic OSM Accuracy Assessment

  • Archaic (Greco-Roman; 750-550 BCE/BC) (confident)
  • Classical (Greco-Roman; 550 BC-330 BC) (confident)
  • Hellenistic Greek, Roman Republic (330 BC-30 BC) (confident)
  • Roman, early Empire (30 BC-AD 300) (confident)
  • Late Antique (AD 300-AD 640) (confident)


The goddess Artemis was known for her virginity; oversaw childbearing, marriages and child-rearing; and was the goddess of the hunt and the transition into manhood. Many figurines representing the goddess in her Ephesian incarnation have been recovered from this site. Common aspects of these characteristic figurines include the goddess's outstretched arms, the two animals at her sides, and the iconic globular clusters around the body (what these represent has long been debated by scholars).

The massive Archaic and Hellenistic temple, built in the Ionic order, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The magnitude of the temple was an homage both to the deity and to the 6th-century BC King of Lydia, Croesus, who contributed to the construction of the temple's Archaic iteration.This earlier temple was decorated with bulls, lions, elaborately-dressed women, and armored warriors throwing spears and on chariots. It is suggested that a battle scene recovered depicts the Trojan War, and other sculptures may represent  the adventures of Herakles are depicted. Also present were Harpies and Gorgons.

A man named Herostratos burned down the temple in the 4th century BC in a bid to become famous. A new version was constructed on the same spot from the late 4th century on. Sculptures from the temple of the Hellenistic period and later are more complex and elaborate than those of the earlier temple. In addition to Artemis, the gods Hermes, Pluto, and Aphrodite, the Muses, and Herakles were represented.