Ephesus guides The Roman Population
Ephesus guides – Once Ephesus was called Lumen Asiae, The Light of Asia. The city of Ephesus, with a population of 300,000, was the chief commercial city of the province and the center of the mother goddess worship of western Asia. In the New Testament era it was the fourth greatest city in the world, after Rome, Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch of Syria.
Until recently the population of Ephesus in Roman times was estimated to number up to 225,000 people. More recent scholarship regards these estimates as unrealistic. Such a large estimate would require population densities only possible in modern times, or extensive settlement outside the city walls. This would have been impossible at Ephesus because of the mountain ranges, coastline and quarries which surrounded the city.
Ephesus guides – Lysimachus wall
The wall of Lysimachus has been estimated to enclose an area of 415 hectares (1,030 acres). Not all of this area was inhabited due to public buildings and spaces in the center and the steep slope of the Bulbul mountain; which was enclosed by the wall. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor uses an estimate of 345 hectares (850 acres) for the inhabited land.
Using an average population density of 400 to 500 per hectare, he calculates that Ephesus would have had a population between 138,000 and 172,500, with a preference for the higher figure. J. W. Hanson estimates the inhabited space to be smaller at 224 hectares (550 acres). He argues that population densities of 150 or 250 people per hectare are more realistic, which gives a range of 33,600 to 56,000 inhabitants. Even with these much lower population estimates, Ephesus was one of the largest cities of Roman Asia Minor; ranking it as the largest city after Sardis and Alexandria Troas – Ephesus guides.