In ancient antiquity, Ephesus was a very diverse and prosperous city. City life and the workplace were always booming. Education was always at an all-time high. Out of Ephesus came great philosophers, architects, painters, musicians and doctors. Ephesus was known as being a center for education, social matters, and religion. The Ephesians attributed all of this to one being, as shown by this quote: In such prosperous times, it was not difficult for its citizens to maintain that it was the Great Artemis of The Ephesians who protected them, gave them their well-being, and offered them continuity between the past and future. (Strelan, 43)
Artemis was the Great Mother to the Ephesians. (Ogilvie, 21) The Ephesians claimed that Artemis was born in Ephesus and that is where she stayed her time. They were very proud to call her one of their own. She was referred to as Artemis Ephesia, for the sake of her home. She was also attributed the namesake parthenos because she was a goddess of chastity and fertility. She was also known to help pregnant women and to help in childbirth. But, Artemis was not only looked upon for the life change from the womb to birth, but also childhood to adulthood, and virginity to marriage. (Strelan, 51)
She was the great protector of the city. The Ephesians looked to her for help and support in any life crisis or city crisis. They said that it was all her handiwork when things went well. They praised her for watching over her citizens and for keeping the city together and at peace.
It was made apparent to every person how important Artemis was to Ephesus and her citizens. From birth, children were learning about Artemis through myths and legends. Stories were told day and night, all year round, showing how magnificent she was and showing all that she could do for the city. Festivals were held for Artemis, and word of these festivals spread far and wide. People from all across the empire came to Ephesus to interact with the great Artemis Ephesia and her magnificent temple. (The details on these festivals come later.) The truth is that without Artemis, the Ephesians would have had no political center, no economy, no social life. Life in Ephesus centered on Artemis and her temple.
The temple of Artemis was the focal point of all religious and political meetings. Emperors and politicians focused all politics inside or around temple of Artemis. One such politician, Salutaris, tried very hard to make sure that all citizens of Ephesus knew how faithful he was to Artemis and her cult. He wanted to have them understand that he was still in full support of the gods and that he was a very religious person. His hopes in doing so were to combine the cult of Artemis with the imperial cult. He more than likely wanted the imperial cult to take over the cult of Artemis. He wanted to combine politics and religion. It seemed that he wanted to be deified. (Rogers, 21-2) But the temple and the rulers of the cult of Artemis superceded those of ...