Curetes Street Ephesus

The sacred street running round Mount Pion is called the Curetes Street between the Domitian Square and the Celsus Library. The Curetes were the semi gods famed in mythology by the noise they made. Later an order of priests was created by the same name in Ephesus. These would come out of the Prytaneum in ceremonial costume and in procession (possibly making noise), would reach the square in front of the Celsus Library which marked the end of this street, then passing through the Gate of Hadrian they would go along the skirts of Mount Coressus to Ortygia (8 km), the mythological birthplace of the goddess Artemis. Their mission here was to represent dramatically the birth of Artemis.

The Curetes Street was paved with regular marble blocks. This paving and the columns on the sides of the street were repaired lastly in the second half of the 4th century. At a time when Ephesus was weak economically existing pieces were made use of and no new marble cutting material was used. Until the middle of the 4th century the street had on both sides a covered portico with columns, but these porticoes were destroyed at later periods. Behind the porticoes were shops of which only the ones on the library side have been excavated. The statue bases visible in front of the columns were for the statues and busts of the persons who had done useful deeds for the city.

Lower down the street the shops of which the excavation was completed provided entrance to the houses on the terraces by the stairs at their back. As is often the case today also the house was at the back and the shop in front. In this section some of the mosaic paving of the floor of the portico has been repaired. The narrow side streets opening onto the main street extend as far as the hills on either side.

The statue on the base found at the beginning of the Curetes Street, as seen from its inscription, belonged to the physician Alexandras .At the bottom of the street there is a wide sewer. The divisioned circles on the marble pavings were used to play checkers as well as used as sundials.

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