The ancient city o Ephesus is 550 km from Istanbul (8 hours drive by bus) and 65 km from airport in İzmir. It’s around 17 km from the port in Kusadasi.
For the cruise travelers you may be interested in Ephesus excursion here with shuttle and private guiding service from the port. So far you don’t need to think about cruise schedule or being late.
By the way Ephesus is not such a museum I would advise you to see without a local guide. You’ll miss a lot otherwise.
Daughter of Zeus, twin sister of Apollo, city of Artemis. The city I am talking about here was established by Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in about 300 BC. And so it belongs to Hellenistic Age.
The city is laid out in grid plan, shaped according to Roman architecture and with a degree of organisation rarely seen even today.
The location of Ephesus changed 4 times during history because of disease, for economical reasons or natural disasters. The area of Ephesus ancient city today is the third Ephesus settled area of the town.
The city was orıginally located in what is now town of Selçuk. Lysimachos wanted to move the location to this area, closer to the harbor, and he started to construct the the new city. But the people of the town refused to leave their homes. So Lysimachus had the sewage system of old town blocked up and the citizens were obliged to move to the new settlement.
Ephesus became the biggest and the leading metropolis of Asia Minor and population rose to more than 200.000 people. The city was an important center for science, education, medicine and culture as well as politics and the economics.
Two factors that added to the importance to the city were the proximity to the temple of Apollo at Klaros the most respected oracle of region and having the temple of Artemis which was one of the 7 Wonders of ancient world.
The town has one of the 7 Churches of Revelation mentioned in the Bible and was an important settlement during the spread of Christianity.
John The Evangelist lived here and he is said to have brought Virgin Mary to the city later in her life.
Here are some good organized tours combining Virgin Mary’s House together with Ephesus.
This area can be defined as the government district where affairs of state were performed and only Roman citizens under nobility were allowed access. If you look opposite you can see the baths, the odeon and the municipality building from right to left.
The baths were built in the center of the town next to the administration buildings. They indicated a developed culture both in architectural and social, cultural aspect.
In Rome, the day used to begin with the sunrise and was divided into 12 equal parts each about one and a half hours long. At the 6th and 9th sundials, between 2pm and 6pm, the politicians and the notables of the town used to come together. And they discussed many subjects including politics and philosophy at the baths which served as the social center of the town.
The baths were heated from below by a system known as hypocaust. Around the baths there are buildings like water tanks and fountains known as water palaces.
Ephesus, whose water sources was highly developed, was fed by aquaducks from Şirince, Marnas, Değirmendere and Kayapınar sources. The longest one of these channels was the 43 km long Aqua İlliu channel coming from Değirmendere. All the channels were brought together at the central reservoir and delivered to the town with the help of terracotta pipes in three lines.
These lines went to public fountains, state buildings and houses. And if there was an emergency such as war or drought, the line going to the houses and sometimes to the state buildings could be cut off and the water sent to the public fountains first. If you look carefully at the sides of the roads you can see terracotta pipes which were used for water delivery and the sewage system.
In this area you’ll see one of two biggest agoras of the city of Ephesus. This large area is opposite the baths, the odeon and the municipal buildings. And here large buildings for political meetings and religious ceremonies were constructed. For example; in front of the odeon, which served as the courthouse, there used to be a basilica of which only the pillars can be seen today. There also used to be a temple dedicated to the emperor Augustus in the middle of the Agora. On the temple there’s two group of statues showing Odysseus, the epic hero of Homer, blinding Cyclop Polyphemus, the the one eyed giant. This magnificent statue is now displayed in the museum of Ephesus in Selçuk.
Sometimes known as the bouleuterion, the Odeon was used for meetings of the Ephesus city council. They had a bilateral parliamentary system and daily issues such as commodity prices were discussed there. So it was constructed close to the state Agora and governmental institutions. The people’s assembly formed by representatives of citizens met in that area to deal with the laws enacted by the Senate. Bouleterions lost their function with the empowering of central government and became instead small theatres and concert halls more usually called odeons. This structure, constructed by Publius Vidius, was originally covered with a wooden roof to protect the audience from sun and rain. As many as 1,400 people could be seated there.
Prytaneums can be considered as the city hall but also functioned as a symbol of religious and independent existence of the city. Thus it was the heart of the city. In the ancient period the buildings essential to the establishment of a city were firstly the prytaneum then the Agora and a theater. Religious officials known as prytans were responsible for keeping the fire constantly as a symbol of independence of the within the Prytaneum. And if the fire went out bad luck was sure to follow. Prytans carried out this work on behalf of Hestia, the goddess of hearth and family. And the prytanity was the highest religious and official job of the city.
The fire of Hestia was meaningful also for the ordinary People. citizens brought fire for their houses from that Holy area in order to demonstrate their commitment to the goddess. The interior of the hall was ringed by sculptures of gods and emperors. Names of religious officials of the pyrtans and some religious texts can be observed on six doric columns erected in restoration works.
The building was first constructed by Lysimachus in the 3th Century BC.The remains found today date back to the first century. Prytans were known for their loyalty to the religion, with the arrival of Christianity people distanced themselves from their old gods and damaged their sculptures. Thereupon prytans collected the sculptures from public spaces and buried them around the prytaneum. That is why the world famous sculpture of Artemis was found in that area during excavation work.
The sacred area was the starting point for Holy Processions and festivals every year. Before the holy procession started prytans and the other priests of the temple assembled here to make their final preparations.
Between prytaneum and the square of Domitian is known as the sacred way. This street was important because it faced towards the holy cities Ortygia and Delos . Ortegia was accepted as being the birthplace of Artemis. Delos, one of the islands of Greece, was mentioned in the foundation legend of Ephesus. Androclos, who first built Ephesus city, was given the inspiration to build Ephesus from the oracle at the Temple of Apollo in Delos.
In the ancient period a hero and a prophecy were required for the foundation of a city. And Androclos, the son of the king of Athens, was told that a pig and a fish would show him where to build the city by the priests of the temple at Delos. Androclos entered the Ephesus site from the harbor with some soldiers and while they were camping they were attacked by a wild boar. Androclos killed the animal and then he saw that the soldiers were fishing to eat and he interpreted these events as the signs of prophecy to build the city around where the gymnasium area is seen today. So Ephesians celebrated this every year by passing along that road making ceremonies and sacrifices.
So when you look carefully you will see two basements one at right and one at left at the end of this slobe. The relief of Hermes, the messenger of Zeus can be seen on the surface, is facing to the square. Hermes was the god of transitions and border crossings and accompanied souls to the other world. Hermes was depicted naked holding a sheep by one hand and his caduceus in the other hand. Although it is said that reliefs on the faces of basements were the symbols of the god of medicine asclepius actually they display emblems of the legions of the general Sulla.
This Monument was established in memory of Memmius, grandson of General Sulla. Sulla was a hero for the Ephesians. In a conflict with Mithridates, who was King of Pontus(Black Sea area), had occupied Ephesus. At first there had been no resistance because of the high taxes previously imposed by the Roman Empire. However, the Ephesians later resisted against Mithridates who had declared himself as a God and demolished the sculptures in their temples. General Sulla managed to stop Mithridates who put 80,000 Ephesians to the sword in a massacre. The victory of Sulla was immortalized in this Monument.
We can see descriptions of Memmius, his father Caius and his grandfather Sulla as soldiers on the marble reliefs located between the columns of the two-story building. On the Eastern side of the structure was written in both Greek and Latin languages Gaius Memmius, son of Gaius and Grandson of the hero Sulla.
The capital city of Asia Minor, Ephesus was a city of great Prestige and had the authority to build a temple dedicated the Roman emperor out of its own budget. Ephesus had this honor twice with the temples of Domitian and Hadrian. This Temple was constructed on a vaulted on arch structure, built with bricks and mortar. There was a seven-meter sculpture of Domitian in front of the structure whose head and arm are exhibited in Ephesus Museum today.
After the death of the emperor and edict was issued to demolish his sculpture and erase his name from the inscriptions because of his excessive cruelty. Later the temple was dedicated to Vespasian, father of Domitian. With the spread of Christianity the temple was demolished completely. About 300 inscriptions have been discovered in the vaults of the temple. These inscriptions praise emperors and their families and their memory. The arched structure at the left of the temple is known as the Pollio fountain. Pollio was one of the wealthiest men. He built Many important structures for the water supply of Ephesus. Behind these structures you can see a water palace constructed by basius.
The Nyke relief symbolized Victory. Nyke was a goddess who flew very fast and brought victory from the sky and was the sister of Zeus. In the relief Nyke is flying with a palm branch in her right hand and a laurel leaf in the left hand. The victories she brought to Ephesus are depicted. The goddess Nyke is a figure often seen on monumental structures and ornamental objects in these ancient cities.
The hydration, a monumental fountain facing the Memmius monument, must surely be a fountain built for the use of the nobles. Because ordinary citizens could not enter this part of the city. It was built in the period of Augustus and the sculptures of Roman emperors Diocletian, Maximilian, Constantine and Galerius were placed in front of it. This area, that the sculptures occupied to symbolize the unity of the emperors, was a memorial and resting place for Ephesian nobles while they were passing through the state Agora. Some sculptures were also placed a little further on in front of Hadrian’s Temple.
The Hydreion Fountain was one of the most important fountains of the city with its associated significance. This fountain structure had three different water pools and was in those days quite magnificent. Four Corinthian Roman columns can still be seen standing proudly in front of the pool.
Curetes Street is the only street of the city that does not conform to the formal gridal plan. It took its name from Curretes, the protectors of Artemis. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. Hera, the wife of Zeus, sends the dragon phyton after Leto to prevent her birth. Thus Leto could not give birth at any place where the sun reached. When the time came for the birth. The Curates is topped the hill called Koresos Mountain and started to make noise with their weapons to distract python. Meanwhile Leto gave birth to one of her twins Artemis under the woods of Ortygia region about a kilometer behind Celsus Library. Than she escaped to Delos again with the help of Curetes and gave birth to the second of her twins Apollo. Because of their help the Curetes were granted semi-divine features by Zeus. And then this name was used for the priest class of Ephesus.
The Curetes were a group of nine people connected to the Temple of Artemis and became important religious officials selected from prytans in the Roman period. This street was used for parades in the ancient times.
There was an improved sewage system under the marble covered Street. There were galleries built for resting on both sides of the upper part of the street and public and monumental buildings on the lower part. Facades of many buildings faced onto this sacred Street.
The existence of stairs of the entrance of the gate indicates that the street was closed to traffic from this point upward. only nobles could pass beyond there. Heracles gate separated official and public buildings in the upper part of the city from a social buildings in the lower part. The sculptures of Heracles, Hercules in mythology, draped in lion’s skin were described on reliefs over both columns of the gate.
Heracles is the son of Zeus who fell in love with Alkemene, daughter of Mycenaean King, but she was married. So Zeus disguised himself as her husband and they had a baby who was Heracles. When Hera learnt that Heracles was the son of Zeus she attempted to kill him, but she was unsuccessful in her attempts to kill with semi-divine Heracles. However Heracles later married Megara and had three children. But Hera drove him insane and he killed his wife with children. Heracles entered under the order of the Mycenaean King to redeem himself. The Mycenaean King wanted him to manage 12 difficult tasks. The hardest one of these was to kill The Nemean Lion whose skin could only be pierced with its own claws. Heracles killed the lion, skinned the beast and wore its skin.
Continuing down the street the sculptures of citizens who donated or brought honor to the city were placed at the right. Looking at the sculpture next to the gate we see a Roman noble wearing a toga. The toga was a type of cloth only Roman nobles could wear and was formed of 7 or 8 metres of textile. The words of Huule, Agatha and tyke were written under the sculptures here. Huule meaning the noble was a member of the council. Agatha tyke means good luck in the other life and indicated that the sculpture was erected after his death.
Most of the buildings that we see today in Ephesus were built in the 2nd century AD. Christianity started to spread at that period and people stopped using the temples. This was a threat for the emperors who declared themselves to be semi-divine. Because the temples functioned as banks where governments could borrow money for the years of war and famine. People and nobles placed donations of money inside marble sarcophaguses in the temples. And city administrators might borrow this money in times of hardship from the temple priests.
The emperors Trajan and Hadrian built many fountains and temples in the city to attract people there. Trajan’s Fountain was one of the three most magnificent Fountains of the city within the scope of prestige. Fountains also had a function to honor the cities that are in competition. These fountains located at the center of the city were the most magnificent structures of the period with their columns and rich reliefs. A marble sculpture of Trajan about 4 meters high was located in the middle of the fountain. Today only a part of a sphere and foot of the sculpture can be observed. The sphere under the foot of Trajan symbolizes the world and dominance of the emperor over the world.
One of the largest baths in Ephesus is the baths of Varius. This bath was located on the slopes of Pion Mountain, at the highest point near the main gateway of the city. This point is possibly the place that was described as upper gymnasium. Baths on the inscriptions the large sculpture inside the bath belongs to a rich woman called Scholastica.
The bath was first built by the governor of Asian provinces, Asclepius, in the second century AD and was enlarged with decorative additions in Roman and Byzantine periods.
Findings in the area indicate that the toilets and baths were constructed in the first century BC. In the 5th Century AD one of its rooms was covered with mosaics and the Byzantine effect was reflected in its inner decoration. Besides this the famous Sophist Flavius Damiano’s and his wife provided financial support for the construction of this bath and built a room for himself and his wife. It has been suggested that these baths were built as gymnastic halls. The square in front of them was undoubtedly the exercise area of the gymnasium.
40 meter high colonnades surrounded this mosaic covered area. The caldarium of the bath was excavated close to a big rock on the slope. This structure which was constructed from limestone in accordance with the plans of classical Roman baths had three main sections; the caldarium or hot section, the tepidarium or warm section and the cold area called the frigidarium. In addition there was apedeterium; dressing rooms and sudatorium; perspiration room as well as resting, reading and sitting rooms inside this Roman bath. A hypocaust system was used to heat especially hot and warm sections of the bath. This system is formed by a high floor and distribution of heated air under the floor of the rooms and also through vertical pipes inside the walls.
Like Domitian’s Temple the Temple of Hadrian was built from the budget of Ephesus on behalf of the emperor. Ephesus took the title Neo- crossed twice with this temple. The sculptures of Diocletian, Maximilian, Constantine and Galerius were located in front of the columns of the temple as a symbol of the unity of Emperors. The bust of Tyke; goddess of luck, attracts our attention on the arch of the temple facing the street. On the second pediment inside Hadrian’s Temple a Medusa figure was described but unlike most depictions of Medusa it is not snake-haired. Recent researches indicate that this figure was dedicated to the secret love of the emperor; Antinous.
When we look closely friezes of the temple formed by figures and scenes come to our attention. These are the replicas of the original friezes exhibited in Ephesus Museum. The founder of Ephesus; Androclos, while he was hunting for wild boar, is seen on the friezes at the left. The war between Heracles and Theseus is described on the second friezes and the war between Amazons and gods on the third friezes at the right. On the fourth friezes emperor Theodosius who rejected Pagan religions was surrounded by his family, Athena, Apollo and Androclos, Heracles and Artemis. It can be said that this friezes describes the change of religion at Ephesus.
This area located below Varius Baths and Hadrian’s Temple was a public lavatory for the city. Natural needs and nakedness were not considered shameful in the Roman period. The lavatory was built to be used by many people at the same time. And there were no barriers between the toilets. It’s understood from the traces on the thresholds and the side walls that it had access to the wastewater of the lavatory and Varius Bath and transported to the port through a duct which is located under the toilets. A water channel located in front of the seats was used for cleaning the person. And this was also connected to the drain water system of the bath. The latrine had a roof, its floor was covered with mosaic and there was a square shaped pool in the center.This area located below Varius Baths and Hadrian’s Temple was a public lavatory for the city. Natural needs and nakedness were not considered shameful in the Roman period. The lavatory was built to be used by many people at the same time. And there were no barriers between the toilets. It’s understood from the traces on the thresholds and the side walls that it had access to the wastewater of the lavatory and Varius Bath and transported to the port through a duct which is located under the toilets. A water channel located in front of the seats was used for cleaning the person. And this was also connected to the drain water system of the bath. The latrine had a roof, its floor was covered with mosaic and there was a square shaped pool in the center.
This was an eight-sided Mausoleum standing on a square base. It was built to commemorate a young girl who was a member of the Ptolemy family who were the kings of Egypt. It said that this Mausoleum was built for Arsinöe the half-sister of the famous Cleopatra. The Egyptian king Ptolemy XII Auletes divided his dynasty in two parts and gave half to his daughter Cleopatra, the other half to her brother Ptolemy the XIIl. However, Ptolemy the XIIl eliminated Cleopatra and got the dynasty to himself. So Cleopatra made an alliance with Rome and started a war against her brother. Cleopatra and Caesar, the winners of the battle, predicted the unity of two civilizations but this was just submission to Rome according to her brother. Arsinöe also opposed this Unity. So she was exiled to Ephesus as a punishment.
Later Cleopatra killed her sister as a rival for the affections of Mark Antony and she built this octagonal mausoleum on behalf of her sister. A few years ago a skeleton was found in a tomb located in the middle of the structure. It was determined to be that of a 15 to 16 year old girl. Although DNA tests have not given an exact result it is believed that the mausoleum did indeed belong to Arsinöe due to its architectural structure which resembles the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
You have to pay an extra charge to enter this part of the city. The Terrace houses almost unique examples of late Hellenistic and Roman architecture. So a visit is strongly recommended. The houses are fine structures that reflect the life of rich families in Ephesus. The open top part of the left is called Terrace Houses 1 and six story houses were located there in an area of about 3,000 square meters.
The protected part on the insular at the right is called Terrace Houses 2 and the two-story houses spread on an area of about 4,000 square meters.
Terrace Houses 2 especially reflects the architecture of the Roman period uniquely and these are particularly well-preserved and vibrant today. It can be said that this is the most attractive part of Ephesus. These houses belong to a rich and elite class of Roman citizens. The houses were constructed in peristyle form. There the rooms were placed around a courtyard. Although the exterior appearance is simple inside the structures there were special ornamentations and great comfort. As in the bath complexes hypocaust, underfloor heating systems, were used in these houses.
In the excavations it’s been revealed that some Terrace houses were used for their pools on the ground floor. Terrace houses were used continuously from the first century BC until the great earthquake in 262 AD. After the earthquake these were partially used for another 400 years. Following typical Roman art style the roofs of the houses were generally covered with black and white geometric design mosaics. There were also colored mosaics that had figures of Mythology. The walls were ornamented with mythological scenes and theater masks.
The Gate of Hadrian was built between the terrace houses and Celsus Library. The construction of This Magnificent three storied structure was probably started in the period of Trianus and rebuilt after the earthquake in 262 AD. Its magnificence suggests that it was a passageway to another holy building. The top story is similar to a Hadrian’s Gate built in Athens.
The gate was designed with three passages, The middle being larger than the others, this feature enabled the horse cards and pedestrians to pass at the same time. Sculptures of Artemis, gods and the emperor’s family were located on the column sections of the second story. The road at the right of the gate continued to the Temple of the Egyptian god Seramis. This Temple is not open for visiting because the excavations are not yet complete.
Julius Aquila, the son of Roman Consul and Asian Governor Tiberius Julius Celsius wanted to build a grave for his father within Ephesus in 110 AD. However, the law forbade the burial of corpses within the city limits. So he built a library dedicated to his father and designed a grave inside the library to perpetuate the family name and thus succeeded. This library as a public building was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. It’s estimated that there were 12,000 books inside it. The books were protected as scrolls in wooden cabinets.
Son Celsus donated 25,000 denari money inherited from his father to the library for the purchase of books. On the inscription inside says “Julius Celsus Polemianus established the celsus library together with its decoration books and artworks by his own wealth”. There are four sculptures standing at the entrance of the building the originals of which are in Vienna Museum today. These sculptures describe the virtue of Julius Celsius.
From left to right Sophia for wisdom, Arathe for self-confidence, Annoye for power of reasoning and Epistomy for learning.
An inner wall made of brick separated by a meter outer wall was built inside the library in order to protect the books from humidity. The sarcophagus of Celsus is still under the building. The library continued to function for a bout a 150 years. It was damaged by an earthquake in the 3rd century and possibly demolished completely by an earthquake in the middle ages. Restoration works were completed in 1978 when it regained this magnificent appearance.
This wide gate enables us to pass through to the trade agora from the library. It was constructed as a triple passway like the victory monuments of Rome. In Roman times slaves did not have a name and had no rights. Their owners could even kill them if they felt it necessary and they were not accountable for the murder. The slaves could have their freedom only when the owner permitted. Mazeus and Mithridates built that gate on behalf of Emperor Augustus. And dedicated it to Augustus, his wife Livia, daughter Julia and her husband Agrippa. Because they had been granted their freedom by Augustus and his family.
On top of the gate was written in Latin with bronze letters” Mazeus and Mithridates while they were slaves of Emperor Augustus and his family, their freedom was endowed so they built this gate with permission of Augustus and dedicated it to Augustus, his wife Livia daughter Julia and her husband Agrippa “. On the section where Latin and Greek inscriptions were found there were sculptures of the imperial family. The structure was called a Triandos; three way and a relief of Hekate; the goddess of three-way separations, was carried in procession on the outer walls of the passage. There were also many inscriptions about the city’s grain situation prices and other issues related to city development plan on the structure.
Curses were inscribed on the right section of the structure in the direction of the Agora entrance. These were to discourage people from using the place as a toilet, which became a habit for certain sections of the community in the ancient period. One of these curses reads” who pisses here will be judged in the court”.
The four-cornered Agora was designed as a marketplace, but it was also an important meeting place where people came together. In this area of agora, also known as the port, various shows, sporting activities and entertainments were organized. Especially in the Roman period a variety of temples’ monuments and sculptures were constructed inside the Agora in the middle of the square. There was a water clock and a sundial which are exhibited in Ephesus Museum today. The agora was reconstructed in the first century after being damaged by earthquakes but continued in use until as late as the 7th Century AD. Remains of a village were found in the middle of the Agora during recent excavations. This village was called Smyrna like Izmir. It is thought that the village belonged to local people of the area who lived here even before the establishment of Ephesus.
This giant theater, capable of holding 25,000 people, formed the most active area of the city together with the trade agora. It was Hellenistic in style with its location leaning against the slope and had a Roman architectural effect with staired and arched entrances on both sides. It’s scene or stage building rose to three stories and the cavea or audience area was designed with a radius more than a 180 degrees to provide optimum acoustics.
Theaters had a special importance as places of entertainment but also for political meetings and other social activities that concerned society. Theater players of the period wore wooden clogs with very thick soles to raise their height. Also according to the roles they played they would wear masks on their faces and through the mask. They could portray more than one role in a play. However in time theaters lost their religious function and started to have more political importance. As a result theaters were transformed into an important public space where speeches were made to the public to influence them. Politically it is thought that Saint Paul preached in this theater during the period of the early spread of Christianity. In the Roman period some additions were made to the theaters for gladiator fights and animal fights. Indeed these activities were the biggest propaganda tools expressing the power of the empire.
The Arcadian Street 11 meters wide and 500 meters long was also called Harbor Street due to its connection with the port. It took the name Arcadian after the emperor Arcadius repaired the street in the 5th Century. In that period, with the spread of Christianity, four sculptures of apostles were built independent from each other on the street. Arcadian Street was one of the first lighted streets in history
The sewage system of Ephesus passed under the road and was evacuated to the sea at the port . The harbor baths were at the end of this street forming the largest bath complex in Ephesus. The street also opened to the agora and theater from the port. It was the most active street of the city and there were shops all along its length.
In this gymnasium close to the great theater citizens engaged in theater training as well as physical and mental activities. It was a kind of school of that period. Greek origin of the word gymnasium is gymnos meaning naked since Greek and Roman athletes raced and competed quite naked. The sports hall or palaestra had a raised area or tribune where wrestling and boxing might be practiced. Hot water pools are believed to have been situated in the central area, dressing rooms were located on the narrow area outside the palaestra.
When we look at the gymnasium the stone columns and blocks that stand behind us are actually Milestones. The regions outside Rome were known as Barbaria in the Roman period and the milestone showed their distance to the Rome city. The names of Roman emperors and governors were written on some of the milestones. The measurement unit used on the milestones is a stad and one stad is about a 185 meters. The word stad was used because the length of standard stadium was a hundred and eighty five meters in the Hellenistic period. So for example, we can speak of measures of land. There were 2 Stadium lengths or 5 stadium lengths.
The Church of Mary should not be confused with the house where she is thought to have lived late in her life, which is located 8 kilometers up the hill south of Ephesus. This church also known as The Double Church was built as a magnificent cathedral in the 5th Century on a Roman Basilica that was abandoned in the 3rd Century . The church became famous after the first Ephesus Council or 3rd Ecumenical Council held here by Emperor Theodosius II. The council assembled in 431 AD to lay down the general principles relating to Christianity and discuss the assertion of Constantinople patriarch Nestorius that Jesus was not the Son of God, merely the son of Mary. After discussions lasting three months Jesus as the Son of God was decided upon and Nestor was banished as a heretic.