Today in World History: July 21st

The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world, was burned down on this day in 356 B.C.E. by a man named Herostratus, who sought fame at all costs. The temple, dedicated to the Greek goddess of the Hunt, the Moon, archery, forests and the wild, was located in Ephesus, modern day Turkey. The temple was first rebuilt in 550 B.C.E. after being destroyed in the 7th century B.C.E. by a flood. Upon Herostratus’s act of arson, the Greeks executed him, forbidding anyone from speaking his name again. However, a Greek scholar named Theopompus was able to record Herostratus’s deeds before he was killed. The temple, destroyed around Alexander the Great’s birth, was almost rebuilt by Alexander during his campaign, but the populace of Ephesus declined his help. When Alexander died, work began on a third temple. In 323 B.C.E. Ephesus began construction, finishing after many years a larger temple. Unfortunately for Ephesus, the temple, which was a religious and cultural center for them, was destroyed more about 600 years later, when in 268 A.D. Goths, a tribe from modern day Germany, raided the city, most likely destroying the temple. The Temple of Artemis would only be rebuilt again in modern times, when one of the seven wonders of the world would be rebuilt in Istanbul.

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