The history of the city of Ephesus can be traced back to at least 1044 BC. That is three thousand years ago. So Ephesus would have existed as early as the time of king David. Ephesus was conquered by the Romans in 190 BC but was not fully subjugated to Roman rule until 41 BC by Mark Antony, lover of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and close associate of Julius Ceasar. During the riegn of Ceasar Augustus Ephesus began to flourish. Ceasar Augustus is the man named in this familiar verse found in Luke 2:1: "And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Ceasar Augustus that all the world should be registered."
So in early Roman times Ephesus became a proud, rich and busy sea port. But this was not to last. I have wondered sometimes what happens at the ocean where rivers like our own Peace River enter. What happens to all the silt in the muddy waters that enter the ocean? Well it builds up and builds up until eventually the shoreline is increased. This happened in Ephesus until they could no longer clear the silt away enough for ships to dock. This had already happened to Miletus, a city not too far away and now happened to Ephesus. According to the ancient writer, Pliny, the sea used to wash up against the temple Diana. If that is correct, silting has moved the shoreline out four to five miles.