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Seven Wonders of Ancient Words/Temple of Artemis

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The story of this wonder of ancient world is rather intricate and turbolent and it was born from far away. First temple was peripteral with stone cell and it was built around the second half of XIII century b.C. and then go to ruin and to be rebuilt in XII century b.C. All story of Temple of Artemis is a continuous recostruction after periods of abandonment and ruin or after destruction of different sorts.This ancient and lost wonder stood in Ephesus,in the modern Turkey,and it was an Ionic temple dedicated to the Greek goddess of hunting Artemis.    

As i said during the centuries have come and gone several reconstructions of such temple that every time was rebuilt more and more bigger and richer.The first great temple in marble was built between 560 and 546 b.C. during the kingdom of Croesus, last ruler of Lydia. This temple also  called temple of Croesus had short life since it was burned by a shepherd called Herostratus that aimed to make history for his criminal act! Fortunately this was not the end of Temple of Artemis since thank to fundings obtained from donations of citizens of Ephesus it was rebuilt on same plan of temple of Croesus, thus being reborn from its own ashes! The new temple was built on a stylobate that is the plan on which rested columns which was raised to around 2.68 meters and that were accessed thanks to around 13 steps. This temple rebuilt after the fire was called temple“late-classic”and it reached in size and decoration wealth the highest level of brightness which earned it the title of wonder of world!

Ruins of Temple of Artemis

Several ancient historians have taken care to describe and mention Temple of Artemis among which Pliny the Elder,which relates that temple was built over a very long period of time equal to some 120 years and that each of 127 columns of which it was made up were donate by a different king. Pliny relates even that Chersiphron of Knossos was the architect who designed the temple but according to Vitruvius he was helped by other architects as Metagenes,Demetrios and   Paeonius of Ephesus which probably contributed to the reconstruction after the fire.

The most famous ancient evidence of Temple of Artemis is due to ancient greek poet and scholar Antipater of Sidon espacially known for the most ancient drafting about seven wonders of world which reached us so far; he wrote the following verses:

“…but when i saw the sacred house of Artemis that rise to the clouds everything else fell back in the shadow and i said: You know, apart from Olympus, the sun has never yet contemplate nothing comparable”

These verses let us understand how great was amazement and astonishment in those who had the opportunity to admire such magnificent work that unluckly did not last long.

Despite bad luck Temple of Artemis resisted to another fire during the age of Roman emperor Augustus and even to the invasion and looting of Goths in 263 b.C. After such looting precious marbles of temple were reused to build church of Saint John in Ephesus and church of Saint Sophia in Constantinople.

Despite its fearless and strenuous resistence unluckly the fate of temple was already sealed with the advent of Christian religion which gave it the final blow! The ancient sources indeed narrate that Temple of Artemis was razed to the ground by order of the bishop of Costantinople John Crysostome; time and earth buried into oblivion Temple of Artemis until british archaeologist John Turtle Wood found it,in 1869, starting escavations to bring back to light what was once one of wonders of ancient world destined to exist for a short time  but thankfully never forgotten and that will live for ever in history books as well as in the imagination of people.  

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