Greek Colonies in Turkey and their development
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Ephesus

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Brief History:

Many legends have been created around who was the founder of Ephesus, although according to most historians and tradition, Ephesus was founded by Androklos, son of King Kodros. Despite Ephesus  had been invaded firstly by the Cimmerians (7th Century BC) and later by the Lydians (550 BC), it initially became member of the Ionic confederation, and after it turned into one of the most important trading centres in the Mediterranean. In the 6th century BC, Ephesus went under the dominion of the Kingdom of Lydia: luckily for both peoples, Ephesians and Lydians had extremely cordial relations. In 334 BC, Ephesus was conquered by Alexander the Great, who had the genial idea to promote the reconstruction of the temple of Artemis, burned years before. In 356 BC, with Alexander’s death, Ephesus was in the hands of Lysimachos, Alexander’s lieutenant. Lysimachos had the great insight of moving the city on the Northern slopes of Mount Koressos and on the south western slopes of Mount Pion.  He also built a 10m large city walls, to protect Ephesus from invaders. This is why the archaeological site of Ephesus rises far from the sea. Lysimachos, foreboding the great strategic importance of Ephesus and to guarantee the growth of the city, forced the people of Kolophon and Lebedos (two neighbouring cities) to inhabit in Ephesus. In the Hellenistic period, Ephesus was controlled by the Seulicids until 190 BC, and by the Kingdom of Pergamon until 133 BC, with the advent of the Romans. Even though during Julius Caesars’ reign Ephesus was profoundly taxed, things drastically changed with Emperor Augustus: for the next two centuries, Ephesus would have reached the zenith of prosperity, so much that it would have been referred to as the metropolis of Ionia.

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                                                                                                  Ephesus, the Theatre:

The theatre of Ephesus, of impressive and outstanding dimensions, was initially built in Hellenistic times, but it underwent important enlargements during the Roman times. Its auditorium has a capacity of 24,000 people. Something which makes the already extraordinary construction of the theatre even more majestic is the fact that it leans against Mount Pion: in this way, even from kilometres away (coming from the direction of Kusadasi), the theatre is noticeable. Originally, the theatre was entirely covered in marble. The theatre of Ephesus is a perfect example of how a typical Greek theatre looked like. Something very important to the Greeks was in fact  the environment and nature. This is the reason why almost all ancient Greek theatres had a nice view on naturalistic elements such as trees, rivers, lakes, seas. In the theatre of Ephesus this is clearly spottable: the view from the theatre is outstanding: there, you can see a multiple of trees, hills, and even the sea (which is 8 km away). The fact that the theatre was placed against a mountain helped this purpose, but it also had another function: to improve the acoustics of the theatre. Thanks to its shape, the sound was trapped into the theatre and therefore even the last person on the upper row could hear extremely well the actors. The reasons why this happened was because Greeks built their theatres mainly not on plane surfaces, so that the 'Theatron' (where the audience sit) was slightly tilted.

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                                                                                                       Celsus Library:

The other building which you will never forget in your life if you go to Ephesus, is its library: the Celsus Library. The facade, extremely well preserved, contains niches with Statues of wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valor (Arete). The facade had two stories: four pairs of Corinthian columns on the ground, while the three entrances could be reached with a nine-step stairway. Still in the facade, three windows are visible: those were used to let the light come in for the reading area of the library. In its interior, the Celsus Library presents many innovations for its time in which it was constructed: even though today only two niches are visibly, originally there used to be a third one. Each of those three niches contained small shelves, in which parchments and volumes were stored. Behind those shelves, a long corridor 1 meter wide assured the correct circulation of air. The second and third row of niche could be reached thanks to a two-levelled staircase.

The floor of the library was entirely covered with marble, while on the outside, a wall surrounded the Library, guaranteeing great insulation to the building: this was done to prevent volumes and  parchments to be badly affected by the effects of humidity. In total, the Celsus Library could contain 12,000 volumes of scrolls.


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