This was the largest theater in Ionia, the part of ancient Greece that was in Turkey. Paul the apostle had a gig here that did not go well.As a change of pace, Paul was chased out of town by an angry mob of pagans rather than of Jews. It seems he violated the precept set out best by Guido the killer pimp in the movie “Risky Business” (played by the great Joe Pantiolano): in uncertain times never fuck with another man’s livelihood. Here is Pauls account, from Acts. (I have a long book report on Acts of the Apostles here .)
19:23 About that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen, 19:25 whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth. 19:26 You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands. 19:27 Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships.”
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19:28 When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 19:29 The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel. 19:30 When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn’t allow him. 19:31 Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater. 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn’t know why they had come together. 19:33 They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people. 19:34 But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
19:35 When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, “You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 19:36 Seeing then that these things can’t be denied, you ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rash. 19:37 For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 19:38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another. 19:39 But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly. 19:40For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning this day’s riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we wouldn’t be able to give an account of this commotion.” 19:41 When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
20:1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, took leave of them, and departed to go into Macedonia.