Thursday, May 13, 2010


Version at BMCR home site
Ulrike Muss (ed.), Die Archäologie der ephesischen Artemis: Gestalt und Ritual eines Heiligtums. Wien: Phoibos Verlag, 2008. Pp. 288. ISBN 9783901232916. €69.00.
Reviewed by Frederick G. Naerebout, Leiden University

[For a Table of Contents, see the end of this review.]

In Hellenistic days, the Artemision of Ephesus was included among the seven wonders of the world. Its reputation reached mythic proportions, also among modern era antiquarians and archaeologists, but for a long time its remains, if there were any, went unlocated. In 1863 the British architect John Turtle Wood set out to look for the Artemision, on behalf of the British Museum, and after seven years, on New Year's Day 1870, he managed to locate the temple. In the following years he uncovered what was left of the 4th-century building and its archaic predecessor. In 1904-1905 David George Hogarth came back to the site, discovered even older architectural remains and a wealth of movable finds, many of a unique nature. After a 60-year interval, the Austrians excavated the Artemision from 1965 to 1994, with particular attention being paid to the central part of the temple. Again, the finds were extremely rich. But only few have seen any of these riches. The objects discovered early in the 20th century, now in Istanbul, have not been on display for some 35 years, the more recent finds are in storage at the Museum of Selçuk. However, May 2008 saw the start of a travelling exhibition of choice objects from the Artemision. This occasioned the Austrian Archaeological Institute to gather together in a single volume the status quaestionis concerning many different aspects of this extremely important sanctuary. Apparently, judging from the editor's remarks in her acknowledgements (p.8), the volume was a long time in the making, and the publication delayed, but its contents repeatedly updated: indeed, the contributors to the book refer to publications up to and in a few cases including 2008.

The volume consists of 30 articles written by 23 different authors. It is not even 300 pages, so the individual articles are very concise. The book is beautifully produced with literally all illustrations, down to maps and plans, in full colour. This makes for a very attractive book, which even those with only a casual or amateur interest in the Artemision would like to leaf through--although if they tackle the text, they will find it tough going. The terseness of the contributions only contributes to this: the information density is extremely high. Add to this the detailed captions with every illustration. This is definitely not the coffee-table book that it might look at first sight, with its colourful cover and many images. It is rather a volume by specialists for specialists and for the persevering who are eager to know all there is to know--as yet--about this sanctuary. The conspicuous absence of footnotes is, again, no concession to a general audience; every article is provided with an exhaustive bibliography which more than any amount of footnotes would do, urges further reading. All articles are in German, with (usually very short) Turkish summaries only.

The contributions are divided into five sections. The first is entitled "Raum und Zeit" (Space and Time), and deals with "the placing of the goddess": the natural site and its changes over time, and the early development of the sanctuary. Concluding this section is a long-term history of the sanctuary, which also includes a discussion of the literary sources in which some mention of the sanctuary is made. The second section, "Die Göttin" (The Goddess), deals with the nature and the iconography of the divinity honoured at this site. The third section is the longest and carries the somewhat vague title "Archäologie und Ritual" (Archaeology and Ritual). It deals with all kinds of gifts for the goddess: the full range of small man-made objects found at the site, and the animal bones testifying about animal sacrifice. The fourth section, "Kultur und Identität" (Culture and Identity) seeks to position the Artemision in the context of Asia Minor and of the wider world of the Eastern Mediterranean. The fifth and last section is the second largest. It is entitled "Architektonische Gestaltung des Sakralen" (The architectural shape of the sacred), and obviously discusses the sanctuary's architecture, from the earliest buildings to the Christian church on the site.

The 23 authors have excellent credentials: Ulrike Muss, who edited the volume and wrote several contributions, and Anton Bammer, the most prolific contributor, have both been associated with the Austrian excavations for a great many years, and have published widely on their results, Bammer for almost 40 years, Muss for about half as long, but very actively. The two already gave us a general account of the Artemision in Antike Welt, Sonderheft 20, 1996. Bammer's main interest is the architecture, Muss's the Kleinkunst (terracotta, amber, bone, ivory), but both range widely across the archaeology and the religious history of the sanctuary. Also wide-ranging are Michael Kerschner, a ceramics specialist who has branched out into inter-ethnic relations, migration and acculturation, and Stefan Karwiese, in this volume restricting himself to the electrum coin hoard from the Artemision, but much referred to by the other contributors as the author of Gross ist die Artemis von Ephesos. Die Geschichte einer des grossen Städte der Antike, Vienna 1995. He also published on the Christian history of Ephesos, but that is here addressed by Bammer. Next we have a series of young scholars (actively publishing on Ephesian subjects for about a decade) who have been working on some specific category of artefact from the Austrian excavations: Gudrun Klebinder(-Gauss) on bronzes, Andrea M. Pülz and Birgit Bühler on gold objects, Birgit Pulsinger on pearls and beads, Martine Dewailly on terracottas (with Ulrike Muss). Aenne Ohnesorg has in the same period taken up the architectural research. These are all the ultimate specialists in their field, as testified by their authorship of (part of) a number of volumes of the series Forschungen in Ephesos (XII/3, Klebinder; XII/4, Ohnesorg; XII/5 Pülz). Andreas Pülz, not to be confused with Andrea Pülz, seems to be a new addition to the family of Austrian Ephesos specialists; here he discusses the relationship between Artemis and Saint Mary, specifically in Ephesos--he has been working in Meryemana, site of a Byzantine church associated with the Virgin.

Some others have contributed to this volume who have scholarly lives that range far beyond Ephesos, but nevertheless they have been involved in the Artemision excavations or the interpretation of its artefacts for many years. The animal anatomists and archaeozoologists Gerhard Forstenpointner and Gerald E. Weissengruber have been studying the animal bones from the Artemision excavations for at least ten years, and here summarize their findings. Kurt Gschwantler and Viktor Freiberger of the Wiener Antikensammlung share their specialist knowledge of the techniques of ancient metalworking and discuss the way the lion head fibulas were put together (probably assembled from elements made in dedicated workshops). Ulrich Schädler and Peter Schneider are both experts in roof tiles, especially archaic period ones; here they study a seventh-century tiled roof, most likely of the temple of the 8th and 7th centuries. Helmut Brückner, John C. Kraft and Ilhan Kayan have, in different constellations, been at the heart of the geological and paleogeographical study of the west coast of Anatolia/Asia Minor. Günther Hölbl, Egyptologist of very long standing, has been called in to take care of and comment on the Aegyptiaca found in the Ephesos area since 1978.

It is obvious that here we have articles by insiders, whose work certainly could not be bettered by any outsider, and certainly cannot be found fault with by me. All discuss material that they have been familiar with for years or even decades. Just one relative outsider has been asked to contribute: Sarah Morris of UCLA, whose work on Bronze Age religion will have led to her being asked to contribute on the prehistory of the sanctuary (although even she cannot be called a complete outsider: in 2001 in Der Kosmos der Artemis von Ephesos, also edited by Muss, she contributed a couple of pages on the same subject).

There is a lot to praise and very little to criticize about this volume. For those who are interested in the Artemision, and everybody who does research or teaches in the field of ancient religion should be thus interested, this is a indispensable volume, gathering in 30 concise articles all one should know, and giving access to a wealth of specialist publications in its bibliographies, some of them raisonnées. The high-quality images show objects not seen in museums, in some cases not even published or not accessibly so. Even for those without German, the bibliographies and the illustrations will have their use. English summaries would have come in handy--but it has to be said that without a proper knowledge of German one cannot truly study the Artemision; a few summaries will not make much difference.

If there is something to be criticised about this volume, it is the conciseness of the individual articles. Although in many respects pleasing (it shows that when authors are forced to tell their story in just a few pages, much unnecessary lumber is thrown out), it can have unwanted effects. For example: we get four lines (not paragraphs!) describing the Artemision from 263 A.D. onwards, to the visit by Ibn Battuta in 1333. In part of one of these four lines a mention of the apostle Paul gets squeezed in, rather distorting the chronology of the passage. The whole Ottoman period gets another two lines, and one closing line hints at the excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Seven lines for seven centuries is certainly a tour de force, but the result is also slightly ridiculous. When we get seven pages on lion head fibulas, and one and a half pages on the temple as rebuilt after the fire of 356 B.C. (the rebuilt temple that was the wonder of the world), that is not the right balance for what is not an excavation report but a general overview.

Not so much a criticism, as a regret I would like to express, is the somewhat parochial atmosphere surrounding this volume. I am not saying that the Austrians should not get the credit for all their years of very hard work. I am not saying that I would rather not see this roll-call of the real specialists, which I myself have described above as one of the strengths of this publication. But still, this strength is also a weakness. When one produces a book like this one, which wants to step back as it were and tries to paint the big picture, I think one should think big. Of course the newer, and lesser known, finds should get most of the attention, but those finds also need a proper interpretative framework and here one could think of historians of religion like Walter Burkert or Fritz Graf. They and many others like them -- I think of Gunnel Ekroth about sacrifice, or Jonathan Hall on acculturation, just two names that come to mind -- could have painted a wider picture in which to situate Ephesian Artemis and her sanctuary, wider in subject matter, wider in scholarly tradition. Three pages by Sarah Morris cannot do all that.

The volume's proofreading is okay (I happened upon p.171 Goldppliken = Goldappliken; p.239 Büblbüldag = Bülbüldag), but more uniformity in the bibliographies would be preferable: they seem unedited, with title formats as the contributors saw fit. Some titles are garbled. The absence of an index, however, is a rather more serious flaw. In conclusion, this might have been a better book. But until that better book materializes, this is certainly an indispensable book.

Table of Contents (Publisher's contents page, slightly expanded):

1 Raum und Zeit

1.1 Anton Bammer, Zur Geographie des Artemisheiligtums, p. 17
1.2 Helmut Brückner, John C. Kraft & Ilhan Kayan, Vom Meer umspült, vom Fluss begraben--zur Paläogeographie des Artemisions, p. 21
1.3 Gerhard Forstenpointner, Michael Kerschner & Ulrike Muss, Das Artemision in der späten Bronzezeit und der frühen Eisenzeit, p. 33
1.4 Ulrike Muss, Zur Geschichte des Artemisions, p. 47

2 Die Göttin

2.1 Sarah Morris, Zur Vorgeschichte der Artemis Ephesia, p. 57
2.2 Ulrike Muss, Kultbild und Statuetten--Göttinen im Artemision, p. 63
2.3 Andreas Pülz, Von Göttin zur Gottesmutter? Artemis und Maria, p. 67

3 Archäologie und Ritual

3.1 Anton Bammer & Ulrike Muss, Geschenke für die Göttin, p. 79
3.2 Birgit Pulsinger, Perlen aus dem Artemision--Mittler zwischen Mensch und Gottheit, p. 85
3.3 Ulrike Muss, Gold des Meeres: Bernstein aus dem Artemision von Ephesos, p. 95
3.4 Ulrike Muss, Elfenbein und Bein aus dem Artemision von Ephesos, p. 103
3.5 Martine Dewailly & Ulrike Muss, Tonfiguren aus dem Heiligtum der Artemis, p. 117
3.6 Michael Kerschner, Keramik aus dem Heiligtum der Artemis, p. 125
3.7 Stefan Karwiese, Das Artemision von Ephesos und die "Erfindung" der Münze, p. 133
3.8 Gudrun Klebinder-Gauss, Weihegaben aus Bronze, p. 149
3.9 Gerhard Forstenpointner & Gerald E. Weissengruber, Tierknochenfunde aus dem Artemision, p.157
3.10 Birgit Bühler & Andrea M. Pülz, Die Goldfunde aus dem Artemision von Ephesos und ihre Herstellung, p. 167
3.11 Birgit Bühler & Andrea M. Pülz, Typologie und Technologie der Raubvogeldarstellungen aus Gold, p. 173
3.12 Kurt Gschwantler & Viktor Freiberger, Goldschmiedetechnische Beobachtungen zu den Löwenkopffibeln aus dem Artemision von Ephesos, p. 185

4 Kultur und Identität

4.1 Gudrun Klebinder-Gauss & Andrea M. Pülz, "Fremdes" in der materiellen Kultur im Artemision von Ephesos, p. 201
4.2 Günther Hölbl, Ägyptisches Kulturgut im archaischen Artemision, p. 209
4.3 Michael Kerschner, Die Lyder und das Artemision von Ephesos, p. 223
4.4 Gudrun Klebinder-Gauss, Ephesos und seine Beziehungen zur phrygischen Bronzekunst, p. 235

5 Architektonische Gestaltung des Sakralen

5.1 Anton Bammer, Der Peripteros und sein Vorgänger, p. 243
5.2 Anton Bammer, Der sogenannte Hekatompedos und Tempel C, p. 251
5.3 Ulrich Schädler, Peter Schneider, Ein Tondach des 7. Jahrhunderts, p. 255
5.4 Aenne Ohnesorg, Neue Forschungen zum archaischen Dipteros, p. 263
5.5 Anton Bammer, Neues zum spätklassischen Weltwunderbau, p. 275
5.6 Anton Bammer, Der archaische und der klassische Hofaltar, p. 277
5.7 Anton Bammer, Die Kirche im Artemision, p. 285.

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