Artemis Temple

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Ancient Ephesus was known across the Greek world for its devotion to the goddess Artemis and for its monumental temple dedicated to her. Greek Artemis was a goddess of virginity, women’s concerns, the hunt and the underworld (1). She was also the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin of Apollo. To her dedication, The Temple of Artemis was built, which is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Iconic Temple of Artemis resides in the ancient city of Ephesus which is now Turkey, was a place made for the worshipers of the goddess. She presided over the transition of a woman from virgin (parthenos) to married woman (gyne) and protected the virginity of those who were unmarried or wished to remain virgins (2). Artemis also oversaw marriage, childbirth and assisted with child-rearing (3). Virginity was especially emphasized in the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus: only virgins and men were allowed access and married or sexually active women were excluded under penalty of death. Artemis is commonly regarded as a fertility goddess, mostly because of the multitude of ‘breasts’ that cover her cult image (4). This essay will discuss three aspects of the Ancient Temple of Artemis, the style, the restoration of its architecture and its importance. The temple of Artemis was built around 550 BC and was the first temple to be entirely of marble and the largest temple ever built.  The temple was financed by the wealthy king of Lydia and was designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron. Marshy ground was selected for the building site as a precaution against future earthquakes. The foundation was laid on a bed of packed charcoal and sheepskins, the column drums and architraves moved from the quarry, relates Vitruvius, by fitting them with large wheels and then, like rolling axles, having them pulled by oxen (5). It resembles the classical Greek temple: a stoic rectangular structure with mighty columns (6). The temple measured 350 by 180 feet and from the outside,...
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