Octagon in Ephesus


On the northwestern corner of the Terrace Houses part II in Ephesus the Octagon locates front of Curetes Street. It was proven that the building was a monumental tomb for Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe IV, who was murdered in 41 B.C in Ephesus. A vault and the skeleton of a 15-20 year old woman in a marble a sarcophagus was found in this building.

The Austrian Academy of Sciences had claimed that the the building was the burial chamber of Arsinoe IV of Egypt, the youngest daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes and the stepsister of famous Cleopatra VII. The skeleton was identified the gender and the age of the woman when she died, the bones dates back to 200-20 BC.

The Octagon had an octagonal shape on top of a pedestal of a tetragonal shape. It was surrounded by coloumns and the parts close to the roof were decorated with garlands frieze. The frieze is unusual: upright acanthus leaves alternate with palm leaves and griffins. The top of both the leaves and the heads of the bird griffins supported alternating block-shaped and curved consoles. A roof in the form of an octagonal step pyramid may be assumed from the finds of numerous stone steps cut to match an octagon.

It is recorded in the Latin inscription on the left side that “The division of the monetary help to the cities after the earhtquake”. The inscription on the right side of Octagon in Greek is about, “ providing the funding for the State Festival Games by the four cities”.

The Fountain of the Vity-Founder Androklos: It is a fountain building which was erected in honor of King Androklos, mythological founder of Ephesus and is situated in the north of Curetes Street. It consists of Ionic style at the upper level and Doric style in lower level. Some reliefs of the roof and frieze pieces were found in the excavations and the pieces show that the building was built in the 2nd century B.C. The water which is called as Hypelaia is inside this structure. The marble in the Byzantine period were covering the facade of building therefore it is also called the Byzantine Fountain.

Octagon Picture Gallery