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Ephesos, on the west coast of Anatolia, was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. It was famous for its Temple of Artemis, completed around 550 B.C., one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The cult image of the Ephesian goddess has a mummy-like body with the feet placed close together, is many-breasted, and from each of her hands hangs a long fillet with tassels at the ends. At her side stands a stag raising its head to the image of the goddess. The usual symbols of this nature-goddess are the torch, stag, and the bee. Coins of Ephesos most frequently depict a bee on the obverse. The high-priest of the temple of Artemis was called the King Bee, while the virgin priestesses were called honey-bees (Melissae). Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John may have been written there. Ephesos continued to strike cistophoric tetradrachms from Augustus to Claudius. During his bid for the throne, Vespasian opened the mint for denarii (rare) and aurei (extremely rare) production from 70 to 74 A.D. Mintmarks: EPHE.
Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia
The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; SOLD
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.
The cistophorus was first struck by the Pergamene Kingdom was a tetradrachm (four-drachms coin) struck on a reduced Asian standard of about 3 grams per drachm. Its name was derived from the cista, a Dionysian cult snake basket that frequently appeared on the obverse. After the Pergamene Kingdom was bequeathed to Rome in 133 B.C., the Romans continued to strike cistophori for the Asia province, with a value equal to three denarii. The portrait of Augustus and later emperors replaced the cista on the obverse.SH87855. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2214, RIC I 481; BnF I 918; RSC I 32b; BMCRE p. 113, 697; BMCRR East 264, SRCV I 1586, Nice VF, handsome portrait, toned, very light marks and scratches, banker's mark, some die wear, reverse off center, weight 11.867 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, c. 24 - 20 B.C.; obverse IMP - CAE-SAR (counterclockwise below), bare head right, linear border; reverse six stalks of grain tied in a bundle, AVGV-STVS divided across field; ex Savoca Coins, silver auction 25, lot 465; SOLD
Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia
This issue celebrated their marriage and Agrippina Junior's elevation to Augusta. Julia Agrippina was a great-granddaughter of Augustus, great-niece and adoptive granddaughter of Tiberius, sister of Caligula, niece and fourth wife of Claudius, and mother of the Nero. She is described by the ancient sources as ruthless, ambitious, violent and domineering, but also beautiful and reputable. According to Pliny the Elder, she had a double right upper canine, a sign of good fortune. Many ancient historians accused Agrippina of poisoning Claudius. A soothsayer prophesied if Nero became emperor, he would kill his mother, Agrippina replied "Let him kill me, only let him rule!" Nero had her executed in 59 A.D.SH79841. Silver cistophorus, RPC I 2223, RIC I 117 (R), BMCRE I 234, BnF II 294, RSC II 2, SRCV I 1887, VF, excellent portraits, toned, nice surfaces, highest points flatly struck, reverse slightly off-center, weight 11.054 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesus mint, 50 - 51 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P X IMP XIIX (counterclockwise), laureate head of Claudius right; reverse AGRIPPINA AVGVSTA CAESARIS AVG (counterclockwise), draped bust of Agrippina Jr. right, hair in queue at back, hair in three rows of curls above ear and long curly strand below ear; rare; SOLD