Ephesus Marble Road

Marble Road: Connecting Culture & Commerce in Ephesus

The Marble Road is one Ephesus’ two main thoroughfares, the other being Curetes Street; both were part of a sacred path that led to the Temple of Artemis. It connects the Theater with the Celsus Library. The road was originally built in the 1st century AD but was continuously repaired throughout its useful life, through the 5th century, as chariot wheels eventually wore grooves into the solid blocks of marble. While only chariots traveled on the paved part of the road, pedestrians walked under Nero’s Stoa, a covered walkway on top of the wall that ran along the western side of the Road. This Stoa separated Marble Road from the Commercial Agora on the other side. Additionally, statues and busts of important people from throughout Ephesus and the Roman Empire lined the streets.

The Marble Road also served as a public forum on occasion. Letters from the Roman Emperor would often be carved into the marble for all passersby to read. There a several other carvings still visible in the marble today. A carving, one of the world’s earliest advertisements still lies etched into the Marble Road. It is an advertisement for the Brothel, with symbols to indicate what the business was, where it was located, how much it cost, and how old you had to be to buy the women’s services.

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