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About Ephesus, Ephesus Prytaneon

In addition to its religious purpose, the Prytaneion was an important civic building and it was where official guests to Ephesus were received by the religious and civic leaders of the city.
The cult of Hestia Boulaea was abandoned in the 4th century AD.

In Hellenistic and Roman times, Hestia, the sister of Zeus and Hera, goddess of the hearth, was honored not just in temples but in every home. Hestia's sacred fire in the Prytaneion was never allowed to go out, and it was the job of the priests there to tend it. Besides, the Prytaneion was an important civic building and it was the place where official guests to Ephesus were received by the religious and civic leaders of the city. A building existed on this site from the refoundation of Ephesus in the 3rd century BC, but the structure being in ruins today dates from the reign of Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD).

The cult of Hestia Boulaea was abandoned in the 4th century AD. The Prytaneion was a large hall in form of a Temple fronted by a Doric courtyard surrounded on three sides by a colonnade. The courtyard was paved with a mosaic depicting the shields of Amazons. Two of the pillars that have been re-erected bear inscriptions with the names of the Curetes. Scholastica took columns and other materials from the Prytaneion for the construction of her baths on Curetes Street in the 4th century. Two statues of the Ephesian Artemis were founded n the Prytaneion and are now displayed in the Ephesus Museum.

The larger statue was in the hall. The other had been carefully buried in a small room in the sanctuary. Behind the basilica is the Prytaneion, where religious ceremonies, official receptions and banquets were held. The sacred flame symbolizing the heart of Ephesus was kept constantly alight in the Prytaneion. The four-cornered pit in which the sacred fire is burned is a relic from the reign of Lysimachos. The front of the building is four columns, beyond the columns is a courtyard surrounded by a portico, and on the north is the center of the building, the ceremonial hall, and its side rooms. The eternal flame was here in the center of the ceremonial hall, the red color on the floor determined the location of the flame. Towards the back, there was a large area with wooden roof, the base of an altar is still recognizable today.

1. Harbor Street 8. Hillside houses. 15. Trajan's Fountain. 22. Freshwater pipes.
2. Theater  9. Public toilets  16. Curetes Street. 23. The Fountain of Pollio.
3. Commercial Agora.   10. Latrina  17. Hercules Gate. 24. Prytaneon.
4. Library of Celsus. 11. Scholastica Baths  18. Memmius Monument. 25. Odeon.
5. Gate of Mazeus and Mithridates  12. The Mosaic - Paved sidewalk  19. Temple of Domitian. 26. Isis Temple.
6. Marble Street  13. Entrance Scholastica Baths. 20. An altar. 27. Stage Agora.
7. Brothel  14. Hadrian's Temple. 21. The list of Curetes. 28. Baths of Varius.


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