For over a thousand years, Ephesus, on the Aegean coast of what is now modern Turkey, was a thriving city. It was the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, and a destination for religious pilgrimage long before the advent of Christianity. In the first century CE, St. John and St. Paul introduced Christianity to Ephesus, where it survived its turbulent beginnings and hosted, in 431 CE, the God-defining Council of Ephesus.
Life and Death in Ephesus is a collection of stories about major events in the history of that ancient city. Characters appearing in these stories include Herostratus, first to commit a “herostratic crime”; Alexander, the warrior king; Lysimachus, his lieutenant and later his successor; Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, both conquerors of Cleopatra; Heraclitus, the philosopher who said, “You can’t put your foot in the same river twice”; St. Paul, persona non grata in Ephesus; Nestorius, whose characterization of Jesus split the Eastern and Western church, and others, also important, whose names I have had to make up.
The archeologist Hilke Thür the has said of these stories, “Life and Death in Ephesus will be a delightful and enjoyable accompaniment to the many available guidebooks. Not just tourists, but anyone interested in history will benefit from reading them.”