The city of Ephesus on the southern coast of Asia Minor had many masters: Lydians, Persians, Seleucids and, finally, the kingdom of Pergamon, before incorporation into the Roman Empire. By the 2nd century CE, it was a substantial city with a population of c. 100,000, a provincial capital and major commercial centre. From the harbor, a colonnaded main street, the Arcadiane, led to the main marketplace, the commercial agora. Nearby, reflecting the city’s cultural diversity, stood the Temple of Serapis, established by Egyptian merchants. The Library of Celsus, built in honour of a 2nd-century governor of the city by his son, was the third largest library of the empire. The inhabitants were health-conscious, with numerous baths and gymnasia complexes and the Palaestra, a public place for physical training and exercise. Ephesus was sacked and burned by Gothic invaders in 263 CE, never recovering its former eminence.
— OR —