), an Ephesian, set fire to the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, which had been begun by CHERSIPHRON, and completed by Demetrius and Paeonius.
It was burnt on the same night that Alexander the Great was born, B. C. 356, whereupon it was remarked by Hegesias the Magnesian, that the conflagration was not to be wondered at, since the goddess was absent from Ephesus, and attending on the delivery of Olympias: an observation, says Plutarch, frigid enough to have put out the fire.
The stroke of genius in question, however, is ascribed by Cicero, whose taste it does not seem to have shocked, to Timaeus of Tauromenium. Herostratus was put to the torture for his deed, and confessed that he had fired the temple to immortalise himself. The Ephesians passed a decree condemning his name to oblivion; but Theopompus embalmed him in his history, like a fly in amber. (Strab. xiv. p.640
; Plut. Alex. 3
; Cic. De Nat. Door.
2.27; V. Max. 8.14
. Ext. 5; Gel. 2.6