Ephesus History;
According to legend, Ephesus was founded by the Amazons and was named after the tribe’s queen. The Carians and Lelegians are said to be have been the city’s first inhabitants. A second legend claims that after the city fell, Androclus, the son of Codrusof Athens, reestablished it in a location shown to him by a fish and a boar.
In the 7th century BC the region was devastated by Cimmerian invasion. The defeat of the Lydian King Croesus by Cyrus, the King of Persia, allowed Persia to advance on Ephesus. The Ionian cities rebelled against Persia, but Ephesus quickly dissociated itself from the others and therefore escaped destruction.
In the 3rd Century BC Alexander the Great tried to drive the Persians out of Asia Minor. Alexander’s rule ushered in fifty years of peace. When he died, Lysimachus, who had been one of the twelve generals to become ruler of a state decided to develop the city. He constructed a new harbor, built defense walls, and shifted the entire city a few miles south-west of its original location. When he The Ephesians weren’t willing to leave, Lysimachus had the sewage system blocked so it would flood during a storm and make the houses uninhabitable. In 281 BC the city was re-founded (again) and became one of the most important commercial ports in the Mediterranean.
In 129 B.C. the Romanstook advantage of the terms of the will of the King of Pergamon which left the province of Asia to be ruled by the Roman Empire. At this time Ephesus had over 200,000 citizens and was one of the largest cities in the world.
In the 1st century BC, heavy taxes from Rome lead Mithridates to start a mutiny against Roman authority. Three years later Sulla led a massacre of the city and brought it back to Roman rule.
It was from the reign of Augustus onwards that most of the buildings we admire today were constructed. An earthquake in the 1st century AD led to a major rebuilding. Ephesus again became a very important center of trade and commerce and a leading political and intellectual center.
From the 1st century AD onwards, Ephesus was visited by Christian disciples attempting to spread the Christian belief. Ephesus was a major point that helped connect many people between East and West. It also had an exceptionally fine climate and the city was the center of the cult of Artemis. The city, with its highly advanced way of life, its high standard of living, varied demographics and polytheistic culture would have been an ideal place for the Christians to work on conversion.
Both St. John and St Paul came to Ephesus during their travels. St. Paul clashed with local silversmiths on his third visit to the city. The craftsmen brought thousands of Ephesians to the theatre where Paul was preaching to booed and stone the Apostle. Paul was tried and imprisoned before being forced out of the city.
Legend has it that St John the Evangelist also came to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary in his care. During his time there he built her a house and some believe this is where he wrote his Gospel. In 269 AD Ephesus was sacked by the Goths. The temple of Artemis was destroyed. The temple way closed down permanently by order of the Emperor Theodosius.
The sheltered harbour in the middle of the Aegean trade routes combined with the land location at the western edge of a great land trade routes helped the city prosper. However, the harbor that initially brought the city such success was also a major part of it moving and eventually being abandoned. By the Middle Ages the harbor showed signs of neglect. The heavily silted water caused isolation from the trade that had helped the city flourish. It also brought malarial sickness. By the time of the Byzantine era the harbor would have been impassable.
The new spread of Christianity led to the abandonment of all buildings with polytheistic connections. Two Ecumenical Councils took place in the city and from the 6th century onwards the Church of St John was an important place of pilgrimage. Shortly afterwards, the Church of the Virgin and other places of worship were destroyed in Arab raids.
In the 7th century the city moved to the area now occupied by the town of Selçuk. During the Byzantine era Ephesus gradually grew up around the summit of Mt Ayasuluð. During the middle Ages the city ceased to function as a port. It was abandoned and finally buried by the natural landscape.
In the early 1900s archeologists looking for the Temple of Artemis begin unearthing the city. Several major sculptures and pieces of art were taken to the London Museum or the The Austrian Archaelogical Institute. Excavations continue to this day with artifacts being taken to the Museum of Ephesus not far from the site.
So history of ephesus is not a short history.