The Museum of Ephesus is in the district of Selçuk. Artifacts found in the excavations in Ephesus are displayed in a contemporary style in the halls of the museum according to the places where they were discovered. The first hall contains the findings relating to houses. Here are displayed artifacts found in the excavations carried out in the houses in Ephesus for nearly thirty years. Although the duration of the excavations was long the number of houses excavated was small. These were the houses standing on the slopes facing the Curetés Street.
The houses on the east were first excavated and the materials like frescoes and mosaics found there were taken from their places and brought to the museum. Later it was understood that this system was not right and from then on the houses were put under protection as they were.
Portable small objects found both in the earlier and later excavations are displayed in this hall of the museum called the Hall of House Objects. Copies of a part of the artifacts were put in their original places. In the first showcase on the right small bronze artifacts found in the houses are on display. The first artifact is a cruet known by the name of Oinoche which actually was a wine holder. From the figures at both ends of its handles the cruet was dated back to the 5th century BC. next to this are displayed a sitting Zeus of small dimensions, an Isis and small artifacts used for daily needs. These artifacts were for the most part made in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries BC, the brightest period of Ephesus.
The headless marble statue standing next to this showcase is the god of healing, Asclepius. A snake curving around a stick which was his symbol was broken. The statues of the Emperor Tiberius and his mother Livia standing in the next wall showcase are among the rare artifacts found intact and in good condition in Ephesus. As both these statues are part of the exhibition sent around the world into different countries with a view to making Anatolian civilization known, they are at present not displayed here. The bronze statue of a snake standing between the two reflects the tradition of keeping pet snakes in houses. In the Ancient period, this species of snakes which were not poisonous were regarded as the protectors of the house and the destruction of them was strongly opposed. In fact pet snakes were useful animals in that they ate the small and harmful animals like mice in the house.
After these, the artifacts displayed in showcases near the middle of the hall are a part of those used for daily needs. The glass bracelets in this showcase were for children. As glass ivory objects and marble busts and portraits. The most important artifact in the second showcase is a yellow marble head of Ganymede, the wine giver for the god Zeus. Among the objects in the same row the bust is one of the rare busts of Menander, the comedy writer. The head next to it belongs to Socrates. It was found with the nose and a part of the face broken and missing and was cheap the bracelets were made for children, whereas for adults valuable metals were preferred. Other artifacts in the showcase are small later restored in conformity with the type of the Satyr Silenus which Plato mentioned in his dialogues. One of the beautiful artifacts found in the houses on the slopes of Ephesus is the Eros with a rabbit. This small size artifact represents a boy of the type of Eros trying to prevent his dog from getting at the rabbit he holds by the legs. Only a small part of the rabbit and nothing but the feet of the dog have remained.
The frescoes in the corner are of the artifacts found in the early excavations in Ephesus and transported here as they were. The statue in the niche is Artemis as huntress, and the fresco on the right, as understood from its inscription, is Socrates, represented draped in a peplos and sitting on a couch. Of the two artifacts displayed in the showcases standing in the middle of the hall one is a marble head of Eros. The original of this work was the bronze statue of him holding a bow in his hand made in 330-320 BC by the famous sculptor Lysippus. The marble head of Eros we see is a copy made in the 2nd century AD.
The other object is a statue of an Egyptian priest with an inscription in hieroglyphics on its back made in the 6th century BC. Commercial relations between Egypt and Anatolia went on for years intensively. The statue of the Egyptian priest came to Ephesus
In the showcases on the left side of the hall small objects are displayed. Among these the dark blue plate is from iznik. Furthermore, the statue of Artemis the huntress holding her bow stretched is among the beautiful statues of the museum. Following the fashion of the day this piece was executed in an archaic style.
The second hall of the museum is the Hall of the Fountains in which the artifacts found in the monumental fountains (Nympheum) in Ephesus are displayed. The first piece on the left is a head of Zeus dated back to the 1st century BC. The torso of aphrodite next to it, although lacking most parts, is one of the best proportioned Aphrodites in the museums of the world. The pieces displayed in the semicircular niche at the left corner are related to the statues of the Polyphemus Group as also mentioned in the chapter on the State Agora in this book. Odysseus, the hero of the epic the Odyssey by the famous author Homer, lived through a series of adventures lasting for many years on his way home after the Trojan war. One of these took place on the island on which Polyphemus, a notorious Cyclops, lived. When Odysseus and his companions from the ship came to Polyphemus' island, he caught them all and imprisoned them in a cave and he devoured several of the sailors. Then Odysseus offered the wine he had found to the Cyclops.
The companions of Odysseus, using a plank the end of which was sharpened into a point, blinded the eye of the Cyclops who had become drunk after drinking the wine. Thus they escaped from the cave. The group of statues is displayed in succession. These pieces which formerly decorated the pediment of the Temple of Isis located in the middle of the State Agora of Ephesus were taken from there when the temple was destroyed later and placed on the edge of the pool of the fountain of Pollio on the east side of Domitian Square. The original position of the statues at the pediment of the temple are to be seen in the garden of the museum.
On the wall facing the statues of the Polyphemus Group are displayed the statues of the fountain built for the Emperor Trajan. The naked man with the bowed head is Dionysus, the god of wine. Next to it in a half-lying position is a satyr. The statues following these belong to the imperial family. The original places of the statues were drawn on the panel on the wall. The statue standing next to the panel is Androclus, the legendary founder of Ephesus. Next to it the statue with the shell at its waist, as seen also from its style, is Aphrodite. At the left hand corner of the hall are displayed portraits and idealized heads, and at the right hand side pieces of sculpture from the Fountain of Q. Laecanius Bassus situated to the east of the Temple of Domitian. This fountain is not restored yet. The most beautiful pieces of the fountain are two statues of nymphs resembling naked Aphrodites. These were modeled as if dressed in wet clothes. The dedicatory inscription of the fountain is also in this hall.
From the Mall of the Fountains one passes to the Hall of Recent Discoveries. In the room at the west end of this hall are displayed the coins found in Ephesus. These are displayed in chronological order and the ones with bees on them are Ephesian coins. Enlargements of two of these are hung on the wall and the minting of an Ephesian coin is described on the panel nearby. On the wall to the left of the door are shown tragic masks found in the Theatre. Where the masks were displayed in the theatre is shown on the panel. In the Roman theatre the players were all men and they used masks when necessary. Therefore the players are shown with masks in their hands in the drawing.
After the masks there is a display of Ephesian lamps. All through ancient times the Ephesians had exported lamps to all the Mediterranean countries so that the Ephesian lamp was well known. The manufacture of a lamp is shown in the display.
The bust standing in the niche of the narrow wall on the street side is of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The bust of the emperor was found in recent exavations put away to keep it from harm during the reparation of a house. Therefore it was very well preserved. There are many copies of the bust in the museums around the world. The ivory frieze on display in the long showcase in the same row is unique among museums. This frieze was found burned and broken in the houses on the slopes and was restored by years of labour. Its subject is related to the wars the Emperor Trajan fought against the Parthians. The bearded men are the Parthians and the others are the Romans. The figure standing out in front is the Emperor Trajan. The artifact displayed in the little showcase on the other side of the hall is a reliquary in the form of a small tomb.
It was found in an excavation at the west end of the harbour of Ephesus and was dated back to the 9th century AD. In the showcase next to this are exhibited wine holders and the hardened wine found in Ephesus in a vessel.The wine holders were dated back from the 6th century BC to the end of the Hellenistic period.
The marble font for baptismal service standing in the middle was dated back to the 11th century. The Eros with a dolphin standing next to this was used as a tap for the pool of a house. The Eros holding a mask in his hand near it was found at the edge of the pool of another house.
In the last showcase in this row it is shown how the decorations of flower bouquets on a wine holder termed a Skyphos were made by reproducing by means of moulds. The positive mould is original and a rare artifact.
On the right, the artifact in the shape of a rather big triangular plate is a fragment of an ambo. It was found in the excavations of the Church of St. John. On it there is a scene showing the Prophet Abraham sacrificing his son Ishmael. Abraham has a knife in his hand and Ishmael has a band over his eyes. The hand of God reaches out from the corner to stop the sacrifice.
The statues of Eros on a dolphin of the pool in the middle are original pieces and were used for the same purpose in unidentified pools in Ephesus. Both works were dated back to the 1st century AD frorn their workmanship. On the south side of the garden examples of hundreds of capitals found in Ephesus are displayed in chronological order. The first capitals are in the Ionic order and were dated back to the 6th century BC. They were found in the excavations of the Temple of Artemis. The one with the bulls head belongs to the Basilica adjacent to the State Agora.
On the pediment above the area where the capitals are exhibited there is a representation of the statues of the Polyphemus Group as they stood in their original place, the pediment of the Temple of Isis. The darker statues are the ones displayed in the Mall of Fountains of the museum and the white ones are the fragments that could not be found in the excavations. Stelae of offering and tombs standing at the west wall of the garden date from the Hellenistic to the end of the Roman period. Of the figures on the stelae those shown lying or naked represent the deceased, the ones near them the relatives, and the smaller ones the slaves. The intact sarcophagus in front of these is known as the Sarcophagus with the Muses because of the reliefs of Muses around it. It was found accidentally in the necropolis outside the walls of Ephesus.
Excavations in the necropolis are not yet begun in Ephesus. The sarcophagus was used twice as understood from its inscription. The lion headed griffins exhibited in the middle are a part of the decorations of the Monumental Tomb of Belevi. In the village of Belevi which can be reached by a road forking out after 15 kilometres from Ephesus on the way to Izmir, there is a tumulus and a monumental tomb with a pyramidal roof like the mausoleum in Halicarnassus. A sarcophagus of fine workmanship found in the monument for which there was no knowledge as to whom it belonged is also on display here. The many lined inscription behind the sarcophagus was originally in the harbour of Ephesus and in the Byzantine period it was taken from there and used as part of an ambo in the Church of St. John. The inscription is a very important document concerning the harbour laws. It is therefore also known as the Monument of Ephesus.
A part of the artifacts found in the tombs around Ephesus are on display in this hall. On the panel to the right of the entrance of the hall are shown examples of the tombs in Anatolia. In the showcase on the left are displayed pots from the Mycenaean tomb found accidentally during the arrangement of a car park for the Church of St. John. These artifacts dated back to the 13th and 14th centuries BC are the earliest pieces in the museum. The larger bowl was probably a wine holder and is decorated with figures of octopi. In the showcase next to this, small tomb gifts dated back from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD are on display. The marble tomb stele in the same row was dated back to the Hellenistic period.
The sarcophagus of baked clay iin the showcase is o the Clazomenae type. Uncovered in the excavations of the Mercantile Agora of Ephesus, it is one of the rare archaic artifacts in the city. The sarcophagi called the Clazomenae type were given this name because they were first found in the city of the same name situated 60 kilometres to the west of Ephesus. In the sarcophagus there were also messages as gifts.
At the time of the burial, the relatives of the deceased would leave presents in the tomb according to their budgets. To put a coin between the lips of the deceased was also an important tradition. At the corner to the right of the Clazomenae sarcophagus are displayed the findings from the Cave of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.
One of these is an enlargement of a 16th century engraving kept at present in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art in Istanbul. The engraving shows seven persons in Islamic clothes sleeping in the cave and their dog Kitmir. According to the Mohammedan belief the sleepers of the cave have slept for three hundred and nine years. The other engraving is taken from the Calendar of Saints of Basileus II. In this one the seven young men sleeping in the same cave are shown in 9th century Christian clothing. According to Christian myths the youths who took refuge in the cave slept for two hundred years. For centuries the Cave of the Seven Sleepers was chosen as a place of burial by the Christians who wanted to be reincarnated and tombs were built almost everywhere around the church standing in the cave. The artifacts displayed at the corner are urns and osteothecas. One of these, of onyx much used in the area for touristic purposes, is in the shape of an amphora.
In the showcase for glassware are displayed the glass objects found in the excavations in Ephesus. These were used as jars to hold wine, medicines and perfume. The coloured ones are glass vessels of Phoenician type which people loved to use in the Hellenistic period. The bracelets were in general used as objects of ornament for children. The large tomb stele on display at the next corner, according to the inscription on it, belonged to Olympia, daughter of Diocles. The bust of Olympia in the stele which is of a very rare shape has a sad expression. The head, draped in a shawl, must have carried a golden diadem as understood from the hole on it. To keep the diadem from being stolen the upper half of the stele was closed by an iron frame. The top of the piece has the aspect of a Doric temple.
In the showcase at the last corner on the left there is again a display of tomb gifts found around Ephesus. Next to it the history and reliefs of the Mother Goddess Cybele, the most ancient goddess of Anatolia, are on display. The relief showing Cybele sitting in a niche, made in the 5th century, is of a well known type. The others are bas-reliefs. Cybele is shown in the middle with Zeus on one side of her and Attis, her high priest, on the other. On the panel above, the history and evolution of Cybele in Anatolia are explained by drawings and writings, and the imortant cult centres of the goddess are shown on the map of Turkey nearby.
The earliest reliefs of the mother goddess in Turkey are those found in Catalhoyuk near Konya. They were dated back to the 7th century BC. As it can also be seen from the drawings, these statuettes showed the mother goddess fat and fecund. At the present day, they are exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations of Ankara.
Three statues of Artemis found hidden in the excavation of the Prytaneum to the north of the State Agora of Ephesus and small artifacts presented to the temple are exhibited in this hall. The first exhibit on the left is a moulage copy the original of which is in the museum of History and Archaeology of Vienna. A fragment of the altar standing in front of the Temple of Artemis, it has reliefs of Amazons on it. In the big niche near it stands the famous Artemis of Ephesus.
Because of its large size it is also known as Artemis the Colossal. It stands calmly looking into the distance. She wears a long headdress decorated with reliefs of two rows of temples. The breastlike swells on her chest were first thought to be breasts, then bodies of bees (the emblem of Ephesus is a bee), but then the thesis that these were the testes of the bulls sacrificed to the goddess gained weight. Her arms are stretched forward. It is known that the earliest statues of Artemis were made of wood and that to keep them from rotting they were frequently smeared with sweet smelling oils and covered with coloured silk cloths. Apart from the face, the hands that remained uncovered were made of ivory or gold. It is understood that this tradition was continued also in the marble statues of the goddess. The hands are missing from the wrist out. It is certain that the wrists were not broken but made on purpose in this way to fasten on hands. The goddess has a richly decorated belt round her waist and lower down there are decorations of rows of animals, such as bulls, lions and griffins symbolizing her superiority, shown in partitions. The big reliefs of lions on her arms are strong evidence that the goddess was in the stage of transition from Cybele. In all the statues of Cybele there were lions at her side. The statue called Artemis the Colossal was made in the 1st century AD as the continuation of an earlier type.
A smaller statue of Artemis on display on the other narrow wall of the hall is know as Artemis the Beautiful. Indeed it was quite intact when found, particularly the face was untouched. It has the same form and posture. The goddess has stretched her arms forward as seen on coins. At her feet on both sides are her most sacred animals, the deer. On both sides of her head her sacred animals stand in a halo, round her neck she has a pearl necklace and at her sides are nikes, the symbol of her victory. The zodiac under the necklace shows the goddess' power over the heavens.
The traces of gilding on her neck are an indication that the statue was once completely gilded. According to its style, the statue called Artemis the Beautiful was created about fifty years after Artemis the Colossal. The marble block standing to the left of the statue of Artemis the Beautiful is a peace treaty between Ephesus and Alexandria in Egypt. On one side of the wreath in the centre there are the reliefs of Artemis of Ephesus and on the other those of Serapis. On the other side of the statue of Artemis stands another statue of her, a small and unfinished one.
The lead pipe in front of this belonged to the water duct extending to the Artemiseum. As a symbol of wealth it was made of lead with joints cut out of marble. The architectural decoration of classical design at the foot of the wall is of a fine workmanship. The horse near the same wall belonged to one of the quadrigae (chariots drawn by four horses) standing on one of the corners of the altar, a structure in the shape of an angular U, situated in front of the Temple of Artemis. The head and neck of the horse are particularly life like. The architectural fragments to the left of the exit door belonged to the temple. The lions heads were used as gargoyles. In the Byzantine period certain architectural elements of the temple were used in other constructions, and decorations were broken here and there. The frieze with the egg motif displayed here is one of these. The egg motif was broken and replaced by a cross. On the upper part of the wall near the Mall of the Tomb Objects there is a drawing of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world, and on the left corner a picture of the earliest excavations of the temple. In the showcase here a part of the gifts presented to the altar of the goddess are displayed. These are of valuable materials like gold and ivory as well as of bronze and marble. Glasslike small objects are of mountain crystal. It is not known for what purpose they were used.
Marble objects relating to busts and temples of emperors are displayed in this hall. The statue to the right of the entrance is that of the Consul Stefanos. It was found in the Curetes Street and was dated back to the 6th century. Stefanos who was a governor of Ephesus is shown with one hand lifted and about to drop a handkerchief. He was thus starting a game in the stadium or the theatre. The portraits of heads near the entrance belong to the period of the Holy Roman Empire. The one with the thick neck and small ears was probably a wrestling emperor. On the west wall of the hall, the marble frieze of the temple of the Emperor Hadrian is displayed together with a picture.
During the restoration of the temple the original was brought to the museum and a copy of the frieze was placed in the temple to avoid the decaying of the original under weather conditions. Androclus, the founder of Ephesus, the procession of Dionysus, and the Amazons are the main subjects represented on the frieze.
The last section of the frieze consisting of four parts differs in style from the others. The reason for this is believed to be that the fourth block of the frieze was damaged during the rebuilding of the temple which was destroyed in the earthquakes of the mid-4th century, next to the frieze of the Temple of Hadrian stands the altar of the Temple of Domitian. During the excavation of the temple the altar was found in fragments and was restored in the museum remaining true to the original. On the narrow face of the altar there is a relief showing a sacrificial bull in front of a smaller altar, and on the larger face reliefs of weapons and armours.
A head of a statue of monumentral dimensions displayed on the wall facing this altar is the Emperor Domitian. A part of the arms and legs of the statue were also found together with the head during the excavations. The statue of the emperor, believed to have stood between the temple and the altar in front of it, is supposed to have been 7 metres high together with its base.
The two statues standing to the right of the exit door are the Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia. These statues were found broken in the basilica near the upper Agora and were restored. Crosses were engraved on their foreheads when they were broken. Thus we can say that these statues were broken in the early Christian period.