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Fountain of Trajan

The "Fountain of Trajan" in Ephesus has long been considered as one of the early examples of public fountain architecture in Roman Asia Minor that features a monumental aedicular façade. Discovered by the former excavation director Franz Miltner in 1957, this building is prominently located in the middle section of the Curetes Street in the city center. The importance of the Nymphaeum Traiani lies not in its function as a fountain. It rather represents a celebration of its benefactors Ti. Claudius Aristion and Iulia Lydia Laterane. The architectural form of this structure, especially its aedicular façade, is hardly necessary or suited for the withdrawal of drinking water. Instead, its architectural form provides an excellent venue for the purpose of self-representation of the Roman elite in Asia Minor. In short, the Nymphaeum Traiani is a monument that can be seen as a dedication to the honor of its donors and their contribution to the city of Ephesus as well as their ties to the Roman emperor.

A research project on the Fountain of Trajan was conducted at the Institute for Cultural History of Antiquity at Austrian Academy of Sciences, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF, Projekt No. P 17617) from 2004 until 2007. The final publication in the series "Forschungen in Ephesos" represents the first detailed analysis of this structure, and with this new study, architectural questions and peculiarities posed by the earlier schematic reconstruction have now been resolved.


 (Quatember 2011, pl. 110)



  • U. Quatember, Das Nymphaeum Traiani in Ephesos, FiE XI 2 (Wien 2011)


C. Reinholdt, Gnomon 85, 2013, 167–172

L. Cavalier, REA 115, 213, 306–308

J. C. Balty, AntCl 83, 214, 570 f.


  • U. Quatember - A. Waldner - M. Aurenhammer - M. Pfisterer, Die Grabung des Jahres 2005 beim Nymphaeum Traiani in Ephesos, ÖJh 77, 2008, 265–334.
  •  U. Quatember - W. Prochaska, The Analysis of Sinter Samples and Hydraulic Mortars from the Nymphaeum Traiani at Ephesus, in: G. Wiplinger (Hrsg.), Cura Aquarum in Ephesus. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress on the History of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in the Mediterranean Region, Ephesus/Selçuk, Turkey, October 2-10, 2004, BABesch Suppl. 12 (Leuven 2006) 509–513.