The area encircling Ephesus has an 8,000 year history! Human traces have been found from the Neolithic Age (6000 BC). During the Bronze Age, female warriors (Amazons) created the Kingdom of Arzawa. In the 10th century BC, Androklos, the prince of Athens, formed an Ionian settlement. After King Croesus of Lydia conquered the city in 560 BC, he built the second Temple of Artemis. The Persians ended his rule 13 years later and Alexander the Great conquered them in 334 BC. The Ionian’s prosperity was then thwarted by the silting of the harbor. In 287 BC, King Lysimachus flooded out the residents, forcing them to move to the present location of ancient Ephesus. The new city exchanged hands several times for about 150 years until the Roman Empire took control in 129 BC. Now Ephesus began to flourish in population, wealth and world trade. The pinnacle was under Augustus (reign 27 BC to 14 AD) when he made this the capital of Asia Minor. Many of the ruins you see today stem from this era and the following century. The decline began in 262 AD when the Goths destroyed Ephesus. Although there were periods of renewal, the deterioration was hastened by a series of attacks, earthquakes and the unstoppable silting of the harbor. Ephesus was finally abandoned in the 15th century. Why wasn’t the city looted for its abundant building materials? Malaria. The retreating harbor became a swamp filled with disease-carrying mosquitoes.