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AWchapterIVPhilipandAlexander8x11nowatermark

AWchapterIVPhilipandAlexander8x11nowatermark

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Published by mileslegionis

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Published by: mileslegionis on Jul 01, 2011
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Chapter IV
Philip II and Alexander III
 Artemis’ Absence
 
Two very famous things happened on the night of July 20
th
, 356
BC
. First, an arsonist,wishing to have his name live forever, set ablaze one of the seven wonders of the ancient world:the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus. That very same night, as the temple was being consumed inflames, Alexander the Great was born.Little remains of the Temple of Artemis todayexcept a single column, restacked in the marshy swampwhere the temple once stood. Located on the westerncoast of Turkey, the city of Ephesus pre-dates Christianity byover 1,000 years, and was an Eastern outpost of Greekculture in Ionia.
Older than Apollo’s shrine in the nearby city of 
Didyma
itself a place of pilgramage and worship to theGreeks, the Temple of Artemis was finished in the 6
th
 century
BC
, when that land was controlled by the kingdomof Lydia. It was re-built many times over the course of thenext few hundred years, and was in its fourth version (calledtemple D) when Alexander was born in 356
BC
. A staggering220 feet wide and 425 feet long, the temple was enormous, supported by 127 columns thatstretched like a forest of tall trees, 60ft up into the sky. To put it in more American terms, thetemple was 1 ½ football fields long, 2/3 of a field wide. If the columns were laid flat, they wouldstretch from the end zone to mid-field. It was not only the largest temple in the world, but italso exerted significant political and financial influence in Ephesus.
 
 
On that fateful night in 356
BC
, an arsonist named Herostratus set ablaze the greattemple, wishing to have his name live forever by commiting this act of intentional destruction.As the later Roman historian Valerius Maximus said:
 A man was found to plan the burning of the temple of Ephesian Diana (Artemis)so that through the destruction of this most beautiful building his name might bespread through the whole world.
(Valerius Maximus, VIII.14.ext.5)In their hatred, the Ephesians ordered Herostratus put to death, andanyone who spoke his name to share the same fate as the arsonist.In the aftermath of the destroyed temple, the Ephesians decided yetagain to rebuild the famous temple. The re-building of the temple was notpurely for religious reasons. It must not be overlooked that the temple wassacred
and 
a money maker for the Ephesians. Worshippers and admirerescame from all over the Greek world to see this amazing sight, and thebusiness it created for the local economy was immense. Rebuilding atemple
even a modest one
w as never a quick process, and the Temple of Artemis was stillunder reconstruction when Alexander marched through with his Macedonian army twenty-twoyears later in 334
BC
. He even offered to pay for its rebuilding, with an eye probably towardsthe public relations gain of such a gesture. However, they politely refused his offer, andcontinued on their own, finishing it eleven years later.For another three hundred and fifty years people came to Ephesus to see the Temple of Artemis. Then, in the first century
AD
of the Roman Empire, the Apostle Paul stopped atEphesus to preach the gospel. The Temple of Artemis supported a bustling local business iniconography
1
, which is described in the Biblical chapter titled
Ephesians
. Paul feared going intothe city because a local silversmith, Demetrius, had stirred up resentment to Paul and hismessage. Changing to a different faith meant a cut, if not elimination, of the local merchants
livelihood, since they relied on selling the iconic images of the Temple of Artemis
those lovelytrinkets all tourists and would-be pilgrims pick up from famous sites. In other words, Demetrius
was an early advocate for “been there, got the t
-
shirt.” Paul’s companions, Gaius and
Aristarchus, were shoved into the theatre (Paul himself dared not step foot inside the city
1
Iconography in Ephesus was the business of selling images of the Temple of Artemis.
 
 
because of the mob’s anger). Once inside, they faced the real possibility of being killed by the
enraged merchants. However, a town-clerk managed to calm the crowd, and eventuallyeveryone dispersed.A legend arose the night the temple burned: it was said that the goddess Artemis, whoalways
watched over her temple’s safety, left her beloved sanctuary and traveled across the
Aegean to witness the birth of Alexander. In her absence, Herostratus found everlastinginfamy.
Theatre of Ephesus
 Achilles’ Fate
As the fire burned through the wooden timbers and brought thetemple roof crashing down, so too did the birth of Alexander begin a firethat would spread across Asia. Alexander was the son of twenty-year-oldOlympias (375-316
BC
), a princess from the kingdom of Epirus, and PhilipII (382-326
BC
), the twenty-six year old king of Macedonia. The youngAlexander spent his childhood
hearing the stories of Homer’s
Iliad 
, andthe tales of the gods on Mount Olympus. To him they were real.

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