Artemis Of Sardis

temple-artemis-lydia-sardis

Spherical pano Artemis Of Sardis

At the present day village of Sart, in the Turkish province of Izmir (Smyrna), are found the ruins of the temple of Artemis Of Sardis. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the wild animals, the twin-sister of Apollo, who is the god of the domesticated herds, siblings of Zeus and Leto. This holy place was part of the former capital of the Iron Age kingdom of Lydia, which last ruler was the proverbially rich Croesus, defeated by Cyrus the Great from Persia around 2500 years ago, after the Delphi oracle had ambiguously foretold that if he attacked the Persians, a great empire would be destroyed.

In Lydia, coins were invented by Croesus’ father Alyattes, made from electrum, an alloy of gold and silver found in Sart Çayı (River Pactolus) flowing through Sardis, in which king Midas, according to legend, had once bathed to get rid of his golden touch. The construction of the temple of Artemis, the fourth largest ionic temple in the world, started around 300 BC and continued until 150 AD in Roman times. Buried by a landslide, it was Howard Crosby Butler who started serious excavation just before World War Ionly quite recently continued, presently managed by Nicholas Cahill, leaving the underlying great prehistoric mysteries still to be unearthed.

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