The Gates of Mazaeus and Mithridates

This was at the end of Kuretes Street, by southern gate of the northern agora in the Library Court, which was calledn Triodos in antiquity. It was first constructed as a triumphal arch but then after the reign of Emperor Augustus was converted into the entrance gate of the Agora. Between 1979 and 1988 the missing parts of the gate, which was still in part standing, were restored and completed with modern replacement parts by the Excavations Directorate. Both Mazaeus and Mithridates were slaves of Emperor Augustus and his heir Agrippa. Emperor Augustus set them free and sent them to Ephesus as officers in charge of maintaining the properties belonging to the Roman Empire in Ephesus. Mazaeus and Mithridates constructed this monumental gate in appreciation of their former owners: it was constructed in 3 B.C. in honor of Emperor Augustus, his wife Livia, his son-in-law Agrippa who had died and his doughter Julia. The inscription on his building is in two languages. It was written in full detail in Latin on the sides of the Attica and an extract in Greek was placed in the middle section at the back. The inscription in Latinon the left record that it was constructed for “the son of Caesar, Augustus, who was chosen for the 20th time as the perfect head of the people’s assembly, the 12 times Consul and High Priest, and his wife Livia” and, on the right, that it was constructed for, “the son of Lucius, Agrippa, who was chosen for the 6th time as the perfect emperor of the people’s assembly, the 3rd time as Consul, Julia, doughter of Caesar Augustus, the former masters of Mithridates and the people”. The monumental gate of Mazaeus and Mithridates Consisted of three arched gates. These arched gates ended by the side of the Tetragonos Agora in the same line, whereas the middle facade of the arched gate of the Library Agora was slightly recessed. The gates were connected to each other by richly decorated doorposts. There are two round niches in the outer walls.

The roof of the gate consisted of an architrave in three ornamented sections, a frieze adorned with vines and a dentil border. The attica on the entablature with the inscription was bordered by a cornice molding on the top and interlaced moulding on the bottom. There were the statues of the family of the Emperor on the attica. There is a relief of Hecate, the God responsible for crossroads on the outer walls of the gate. On the architrave on the southeastern niche are courses on those people who choose to relieve themselves in this place. Futher, all th ewalls of the gate were filled with notices concering the grain supply to the city, price announcements, orders concerning other issues and environmental plans. The original appearance of the northern front of the gate was ruined during the course of modifications carried out in the 1st century A.D., According to a notice, in order to prevent rainwater running down Kuretes Street form overflowing into the Agora, the ground level of the South Gate was rised, to let the water accumulate in the channels. There were two storied wing structures on both sides of the gate, probably containing the tombs of Mazaeus and Mithridates, when it was first constructed. The eastern wing was pulled down during modifications made to the Agora and the western wing, which contained the tomb of Mazaeus, was pulled down, at the latest when the library was constructed.