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Ephesus Terrace Houses

Terrace House wall fresco, Ephesus

As if the ancient Roman city of Ephesus wasn’t already amazing, there is a separate museum within the site that lovers of art and history must see.  The recently excavated and partially restored Terrace Houses are located in the center of the site.  Homes of some of the wealthiest citizens were built on this valuable real estate (ie. across from the ancient public toilets!) which is evident today in the extensive mosaic floors and frescoed walls.  The artwork dates from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD with several homes torn down and combined into a small basilica during the later part of that period.  Remnants of indoor plumbing throughout the homes are also visible.

Terrace House, EphesusI was shocked how few people visited the Terrace Houses.  If anything, it is a nice shaded and cool respite from the mid-day heat.  There is a separate 15TL ($7.5) entrance fee but this is completely justifiable to see more intimate domestic spaces amid the marble and stone monuments of Ephesus.

Terrace House wall fresco, Ephesus

Terrace House floor mosaic, Ephesus

Terrace House, Ephesus

Terrace House fresco ceiling, Ephesus

Cupid, Terrace House wall fresco, Ephesus

Terrace House frescoed room, Ephesus

I particularly liked one room which was decorated with images of the Muses.  Below are Thalmia – Muse of Comedy and Euterpe – Muse of Lyric Poetry/Song.  Besides the name labels, you can identify them from the comedic mask and two flutes they hold respectively.  I’m not sure if the branching from the flutes is meant to illustrate music (since the Greek altos instrument didn’t have keys) but this imagery is consistent with other Roman iconography.

Thalia, Muse of Comedy, Terrace Houses, Ephesus

Euterpe, Muse of song and poetry, Terrace Houses, Ephesus

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Awesome entry, Shtina !! Thank you so much!

    Elliott (


    October 11, 2012
  2. Reblogged this on Art History Ramblings.


    October 11, 2012
  3. Never heard of Ephesus before but the ancient ruins look spectacular. You are so lucky to be there.


    October 12, 2012
  4. Great post! I totally agree about this exhibit- one of my favorite parts of Ephesus.


    October 15, 2012
  5. João Bogalho #

    Hello. Great images for my students. thank you.


    October 24, 2012
    • Thanks João! Where is your school and what level or courses do you teach?


      October 24, 2012

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  1. A Slow Travel Guide to Ancient Ephesus | Daydream Tourist

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