Fountain of Pollio

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The Pollio Fountain is located just to the south of the State Agora, directly across the Domitian Square from the Odeion. It was built in 97 A.D by C. S. Pollio and his family in memory of Sextillius Pollio, the builder of the famous aqueduct which carries water to all the fountains in the city. In the years following the initial construction, an arch and several statues were added to decorate the original structure.

Water was brought to the fountains of Ephesus from the Kencherios at Kuşadası, 42 kilometers away, the Çamlık village stream at Marnas, 15 kilometers away, and the Cayster River, 20 kilometers away. Water was delivered through aqueducts and distributed to the fountains via a branching system of baked clay pipes. Water was delivered to the city free of charge through these public fountains.

The Pollio Fountain hints at the lavish nature of ancient Ephesus’ fountains and indicates the city’s great wealth. It has a wide and high arch facing the temple of Domitian that is visible from different sites of the city. This arch supported the triangular pediment and its small pool. Water would fall into the pool through a semi-circular apsidal wall. It was decorated with a number of statues, including one of the Head of Zeus and a themed group statue of the adventures of Odysseus which was excavated from the fountain basin. The group statue depicts the Trojan War hero’s adventure with Polyphemus, son of Poseidon.

Some of these statues were thought to have been redistributed from the pediment of the Isis Temple after its collapse. They were probably brought to repair the fountain after earthquake damage. The Head of Zeus, and the Odysseus and Polyphemus statue group have been moved from the site and are now displayed at the Ephesus Museum.

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