Mercantile Agora & Gate of Mazeus

The gate standing near the library provided entrance to the Mercantile Agora of Ephesus and was known by the name of Mazeus Mithradates according to its inscription. Mazeus and Mithradates who were slaves under the {tip ::} Emperor Augustus {/tip} were given their liberty and in return they had built this gate to pay for their gratitude to the emperor and his family. This was written on the front walls of the gate, and the letters were in bronze. In the Byzantine period the bronze letters were torn away and only the trace of the writing remained on the marble.

The gate had three arched entrances of which the middle one was wider and higher compared to the others. In the walls of the side entrances there were semicircular niches. The inscription of the niche on the right read that it was forbidden to urinate there. The inscriptions in Greek seen in various parts of the gate related to the trade in the Agora. The gate was built at the beginning of the 1st century AD as seen from the inscription on it.

The Mercantile Agora of Ephesus was entered by the Gate of Mazeus and Mithradates. The Agora had two other gates besides this, one opening onto the west and the other onto the Harbour Street on the north. Of these the west gate was built much more ostentatiously. The sides of the Agora were 1 1 1 metres long each. It was first built in the 3rd century BC during the foundation of the city by Lsymachus, and it then underwent quite considerable changes. In excavations carried out in recent years on the west side evidence of early settlements belonging to Archaic Ephesus was found about 6 metres below the ground.

According to this it was believed that this could be the quarter of Smyrna mentioned in mythology. The inhabitants of Smyrna migrated from here to the locality known today as Old Izmir and founded the city of Smyrna. Smyrna was also the name of an Amazon.

A row of shops covered by vaults stood on each side of the Agora. Of these the ones on the south are in a much better preserved condition. In front of the shops ran a portico with columns. The sundial with inscriptions dated back to the period of the Emperor Caracalla which is on display in the Ephesus Museum was found during the excavations of the Agora.

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