In Ionia the “Lady of Ephesus”, a goddess whom Hellenes identified with Artemis, was a principal deity. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was probably the best known center of her worship apart from Delos. In Acts of the Apostles, the Ephesian metalsmiths who feel threatened by Paul’s preaching of the new faith, jealously riot in her defense, shouting “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
The Temple of Artemis (Artemision) – A column and scanty fragments strewn on the ground are all that remains of the Seventh Wonder of the World. According to Strabo, the Temple of Artemis was destroyed at least seven times and rebuilt just as many times. Archaeological findings instead attest to at least four rebuilding of this temple, starting in the 7th century B.C. Chersiphone and Metagene erected an Ionic dipteral temple in the 6th century B.C. and its building required was set on fire by Herostratus; the successive majestic structure, built entirely of marble, was begun in 334 and was finished in 250 B.C. it aroused the admiration of even Alexander the Great who would have liked to have taken charge – at his own expense – of the continuation of the work. Among others, Scopas and Praxiteles worked there, while the design is attributed to Chirocratus.
The Hellenistic temple was built on a podium, to which one ascended by a plinth formed of thirteen steps. A double colonnade encircled the peristyle and the inside space (105x55m). The relief of the columns were believed to be the work of Scopas, while Praxiteles worked at the realization of the altar. The decadence marked by the Goths (3rd century) continued in the Christian era, when materials for the nearby Basilica of St.John and for is left of numerous works of art which at one time used to adorn it, although interesting tokens are kept at the local Museum at the British Museum in London.