Ephesus was the most important city of the Roman province of Asia. The Apostle Paul preached here longer than any other city, working here three years during the Third Missionary Journey (Acts 20:31). The message of the gospel radiated out from this principle city: “…so that all who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:10).
The church in Ephesus was one of seven churches specified in Revelation 2-3 as recipients of letters from the Lord. It is sobering to realize that a church that had such a promising beginning, and continued to have such good traits, had in fact left its first love (Rev. 2:4).
Ephesus today is a remarkable site; so much excavation has been done, and there is so much to see. We want to share some photos in today’s post, as well as others to follow, from last month’s visit to Ephesus.
The seating of this small theater, the odeion, is 1400-1500. It was built by Publius Vedius Antoninus ca. A.D. 150. It was used for concerts, and as a meeting place for the city council meetings.
Next we make our way to the prytaneion.
The prytaneion was the government agora, the town hall. There was a courtyard in front of the building. There is evidence of a former temple of the Egyptian god Isis on the western side. Lance Jenott, University of Washington, says further of this site, “This Agora (usually translated as “market place” but in this case more of a “town square”) was built in the first century CE under the Flavian Emperors as the site of the Roman state cult. In the middle of the State Agora sat the temple of Divius Julius (Divine Julius Caesar) and Dea Roma (the divine personification of the Roman Empire).”
More to come!