Ephesus, Artemis, and Local Identity, Judah Ivy
Ephesus and Artemis
Defining Local Identity
What makes a city unique? What gives it its “local” identity? How is an element chosen
to represent a culture? Is it chosen to meet the expectations or demands of outsiders? Isit chosen as a rallying point for resistance? Or chosen as an assessment from inside based
on the community in question‟s pre
-existing local values?The monograph of Tim Whitmarsh is very helpful as a starting point to ask thesequestions about Ephesus. I hope to detail in this paper how Ephesus retained (more thandeveloped) their sense of locality by means of the ancient and enduring cult of Artemis of Ephesus.
Whitmarsh‟s thesis suggests a different path t
o local awareness:
“The idea of the local is, after all, obviously created by supralocal perspectives…
aphase of rapid globalisation will also see an intensification of consciousness of localism; and perhaps also an increased awareness of, even questioning of, thepower dynamics between the local and non-
Whitmarsh here indicates that a consciousness of “localism” is a result of “supralocal perspectives”. The distinction between “Us” and “Them” arises only when there iscontact with “Them”.
Ephesus, however, had a local flair before the Roman or even the Persian conquests.I suppose that it is true, insofar as it goes, that a consciousness of localism is enhanced bycontact with the other, but that it is a very rare culture that exists in absolute andprolonged isolation. This is definitely the case for Ephesus, where its location at acrossroads guaranteed contact with the outside from the moment it had occupants