SPECIAL TOPIC: EPHESUS
This was a large commercial city in western Asia Minor. After the harbor at Miletus was destroyed by silt from the Maeander River, the commercial trade moved up the coast to Ephesus, which also had a natural harbor. By the NT period the best days of Ephesus had passed. It was still a large and influential city, but nothing like its past glory.
1. It was the largest city of the Roman province of Asia Minor. It was not the capital, though the Roman governor lived there. It was a commercial center because of it excellent natural harbor.
2. It was a free city, which allowed it to have local government and much freedom, including no garrison of Roman soldiers.
3. It was the only city which was allowed to hold the bi-annual Asian games.
4. It was the site of the Temple to Artemis (Diana in Latin), which was one of the seven wonders of the world of its day. It was 425' x 220' with 127 columns, which were 60' tall; 86 of them were overlaid with gold (see Pliny's Hist. Nat. 36:95ff). The image of Artemis was thought to have been a meteor which resembled a many-breasted female figure. This meant that there were many cultic prostitutes present in the city (cf. Acts 19). It was a very immoral, multi- cultural city.
5. Paul stayed in this city more than three years (cf. Acts 18:18ff; 20:13).
6. Tradition asserts that it became John's home after Mary' death in Palestine.
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