Ruins of the Roman Senate (Odeon, or small theater) in Ephesus. The city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, was originally Greek, but later became part of the Roman Empire. In Roman times it had a population estimated between 250 and 500 thousand, making it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world. Ephesus was partially destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 614. The city's harbor thereafter slowly silted up causing its commercial importance to decline.