21 Jul: Herostratus: Burning Ambition

The fire that destroyed the second Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world – was supposedly set on the day Alexander the Great was born: 21st July, 356 BC. The story goes that the arsonist, Herosratus, was simply seeking notoriety.

Herostratus was captured and tortured on the rack, where he confessed to having committed the arson in an attempt to immortalize his name. To dissuade those of similar intentions, the Ephesian authorities not only executed Herostratus, but attempted to condemn him to a legacy of obscurity by forbidding mention of his name under penalty of death.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider herostratic fame as a live issue when it comes to school shooters and terrorists; take a peek round the ancient Temple to see if it would have been worth a trip; and consider whether its successors deserved their places in the subsequent ‘Seven Wonders’ lists… 

Further Reading:

• ‘21 July: On this day in history’ (HistoryExtra, 2022): https://www.historyextra.com/on-this-day/21-july-on-this-day-in-history/

• ‘Monumental Fury – The History of Iconoclasm and the Future of Our Past – By Matthew Fraser’ (Prometheus, 2022): https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Monumental_Fury/FVV-EAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=herostratus&pg=PA35&printsec=frontcover

• ‘The Temple of Artemis and Herostratus | Legendary Wonder of the Ancient World Destroyed!’ (Because It’s Interesting, 2019): 

#Turkey #Greece #Crime #Person #BC #Strange