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Ephesus The state agora

Ephesus The state agora

The ruins that can be seen today, one of the two most important rendezvous spots in Ephesus, were once the state agora, dating from the first century. After the severe earthquake in 17 CE, the city had to be rebuilt from the ground up. In this next phase, the state agora formed the midpoint of political life. It was also planned to accommodate assemblies, and was constructed as a unit with the structures in its immediate surroundings. During the excavations that took place between 1960 and 1970, remains of Hellenistic buildings from the Temple of Artemis to Panayır Dağı, and graves from the seventh to sixth centuries BCE ( the archaic necropolis, or cemetery, of Ephesus). A few sarcophagi (stone coffins) today stand in front of the site. The rectangular Roman agora measured 160 by 56 meters. A small temple was located almost in the middle, as was the custom at other ancient sites, such as Priene or Magnesia .

Only the foundations of this small temple, which had ten columns on the long side and six on the short, are still visible. In the middle once stood a fountain. In the excavations, votive offerings for the Egyptian goddess Isis were found. The structures facilitating a water supply also indicate a temple of Isis. In recent years , however, the hypothesis has been gaining ground that this temp le was dedicated to the emperor Augustus. The mythological statues of Polyphemos and Odysseus that belonged to the temple were later incorporated into the Pollio fountain situated to the west of the agora. This statue group is now on display in the Ephesus Museum.