Marble; H. 142 1/8 in. (361 cm)
Gift of The American Society for the Excavation of Sardis, 1926 (26.59.1)
Parts of this column were found during excavations conducted from 1911 through 1914 at Sardis, the ancient capital of Lydia, in southern Turkey. The fluted column, with most of the shaft omitted, was reconstituted from one or more similar columns and would have stood over fifty-six feet high in its original location. Of particularly fine workmanship is the carving of the foliate ornaments on the Ionic capital, as well as the scale pattern on the torus (foliated base).
This column was once part of the Temple of Artemis at Sardis, one of the cities of western Asia Minor in which Greek influence was continually interwoven with local tradition. After the conquest of Alexander the Great, Sardis became part of the Seleucid empire, which spanned Asia Minor, the Levant, Persia, and as far east as India. Consistent with the predilection for enormous scale already manifest in Archaic temples in western Asia Minor, for instance at Ephesus and Didyma, the one at Sardis ranks among the seven largest of all Greek temples.