Temple of Hadrian

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This temple dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian is considered one of the best preserved and most beautiful structures on Curetes Street. It was constructed in the beginning of the 2nd century AD by P. Quintilius to celebrate Hadrian visiting the city from Athens.  Emperor Hadrian was considered one of the Five of Good Emperors. This term is used for the Roman emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. These men succeeded in winning the support and cooperation of the senate, something previous emperors had been unable to accomplish.

The name “Temple of Hadrian” is slightly misleading. The structure is more a monument than a temple, and it was also dedicated to the goddess Artemis and the people of Ephesus. The front section of the temple is what makes it one of the most elegant buildings in the city. The facade has four Corinthian columns that support a curved arch. In the middle of this arch is a relief of Tyche, goddess of victory. In front of the temple once sat copper statues of the emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius I, and Galerius. The pillars for the statues remain, but the originals statues have not yet been found.

The temple was reconstructed in the 4th century AD by Theodosius in honor to his father. Inside the temple above the door, Medusa stands with ornaments of acanthus leaves. On either side of the entrance are friezes depicting the history of the city. One depicts Androklos shooting a boar, another Dionysus in ceremonial procession, and a third the Amazons. A fourth frieze portrays the god Apollo and goddess Athena along with Androkles, his wife Herakles, and several members of Theodosius’s family.

The main section of the temple was called the Nao. This would have been a small room made up of small stones and a large entrance door. The beams of this door were decorated in elegant fashion with figures of pearls and eggs.

The Temple of Hadrian has recently been renovated. The statues and friezes have been replaced with replicas of the originals. The originals have been removed and are currently on display in the Ephesus Museum.

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