Memnius Monument

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The Memmius Monument is located to the north of Curettes Road by the Domitian Square. It was erected in the 1st century AD under the reign of Augustus by Memmius, a prominent citizen of Ephesus. He was the son of Caius and grandson of the dictator Sulla of Roma.

Dictator Sulla was considered a Roman hero who emancipated Ephesus from the occupation of the Pontic armies that ruled the Black Sea Coast. In 87 BC Mithridates of the Pontic Empire staged a revolt in the city, claiming that taxes under Roman rule were too high and Asia was for the Asiatic. He and his army killed 80,000 Romans before taking the city from Roman rule and occupying it for three years. The Roman army, led by Sulla, conquered Mithridates and brought the city securely back to the empire. The empire rewarded Ephesus and other towns that had been loyal during the occupation.

The four sided victory arch was erected to celebrate this military victory and the liberation of Ephesus from enemy occupation. Though it is well documented that the monument was built by Memnius’s, many of the inscriptions were lost or removed when stones from the monument were used to repair surrounding buildings. The figures of his Memmius’s father and grandfather are still visible on the blocks today. Between the columns which hold the arch are three sets of stairs. The monument originally had four facades depicting Sulla’s soldiers and reliefs symbolizing the virtues of the dictator himself.

A square fountain was added on the northwest façade during the 4th century AD, 300 years after its initial construction. The fountain had four Corinthian columns, a long narrow pool, and four bases in front of the pool which held the statues of Roman emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius Chlorus, and Galerius. The statues help date the addition of the fountain.

Today the monument has been partially restored.

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