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Ancient Ionian Greek city; its ruins lie near the modern village of Selcuk in western Turkey. It was situated south of the Cayster River and was the site of the Temple of Artemis. Traditionally founded by the Carians, it was one of the 12 Ionian Cities and was involved in the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. It was taken by Alexander the Greatc. 333 BC and prospered throughout the Hellenistic period. It passed to Rome in 133 BC and under the emperor Augustus became the capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was an early seat of Christianity, which was visited by St. Paul; the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians was directed to the church there. The Goths destroyed the city and temple in AD 262; neither ever recovered. There are extensively excavated ruins at the modern site.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Ephesus, visit Britannica.com.