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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ Ionia ▸ EphesusView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Ephesos, Ionia

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.


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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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.
SH85434. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Sutherland Group VI, RPC I 2215, RIC I 479, RSC I 33, BnF I 922, BMCRE I 694, BMCRR East 262, SRCV I 1587, VF, full circles strike on a broad flan, light uneven toning, light encrustations, small closed edge crack, weight 11.660 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, c. 24 - 20 B.C.; obverse IMP CAE-SAR (counterclockwise below), bare head right, linear border; reverse garlanded and filleted altar of Diana (artemis, ornamented on the front with two hinds standing confronted, AVGVSTVS above; $1200.00 (€1020.00)
 


Ephesos, Ionia, c. 500 - 420 B.C.

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In 479 B.C., the Ionians, allied with Athens and Sparta, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. In 478 B.C., the Ionian cities entered with Athens and Sparta into the Delian League. Ephesus did not contribute ships but gave financial support.
GS86219. Silver drachm, SNG Kayhan 140, SNGvA 7819, SNG Cop 210, SNG Tübingen 2758, Traité II, p. 1090, 1867 & pl. CLII, 12); BMC Ionia -, SNG München -, Choice gVF, toned, well centered on a tight flan, weight 3.343 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 500 - 420 B.C.; obverse EΦ-EΣI-O-N, bee seen from above; reverse quadripartite incuse square, divided by thin raised bands, incuse quarters rough; rare issue with full ethnic; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


Ionia, Persian Satraps, c. 394 - 334 B.C.

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A. Johnston in "The Earliest Preserved Greek Map: A New Ionian Coin Type," in Journal of Hellenic Studies (1967) identified this reverse type as a relief map of the hinterland of Ephesos and presented aerial photographs of likely matching terrain.
GB85954. Bronze unit, Johnston Map 1 - 4; BMC Ionia p. 324, 8; Klein 366; Babelon Trait II p. 132, 79bis, pl. 89, 13, VF, dark patina, scratches, earthen deposits; c/m: VF, weight 2.594 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, Ephesos(?) mint, uncertain satrap, c. 350 - 334 B.C.; obverse Persian king in kneeling-running stance right, spear in right hand, bow in left hand, quiver over shoulder, BA behind; c/m: star with eight-point rays around a central pellet within incuse round punch; reverse irregular raised patterns within incuse square, believe to be a relief map of hinterland of Ephesos; rare; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77254. Bronze AE 35, Franke-Nolle, type VII, 743 (Vs. B/ Rs. 39); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Hunterian 1957; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, pitting, edge cracks, weight 14.402 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 180o, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AV• KE• - ΠOV ΛIK OYA/ΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis from which two snakes rise; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TΩN - K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, resting each hand on the head of a stag, one stag flanking on each side, NEΩ/KO/PΩ/N in four lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; big 35mm bronze; very rare; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

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Hierapolis (Greek: "Holy City") was located on hot springs in Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century B.C., with many patrons retiring or dying there. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi.
RP77261. Bronze AE 32, Franke-Nolle, type VII, 743 (Vs. B/ Rs. 39); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Hunterian 1957; SNG Righetti 1189, VF, large edge split, weight 10.357 g, maximum diameter 31.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AV• KE• - ΠOV ΛIK OYA/ΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis from which two snakes rise; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TΩN - K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, resting each hand on the head of a stag, one stag flanking on each side, NEΩ/KO/PΩ/N in four lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $220.00 (€187.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77249. Bronze AE 33, SNG Hunterian 1957 (same dies); cf. Franke-Nolle, type VII, 736 (Vs. A/Rs. -, unlisted reverse die); BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, large edge split, potentially active corrosion, weight 17.950 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 190o, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse A K Π Λ OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩ-N K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head, holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, with two supports, flanked by a stag on each side, NE/OK/O in three lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

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The curule chair was for senior magistrates including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, censors, and the curule aediles. As a form of a throne, it might be given as an honor to foreign kings recognized formally as a friend (amicus) by the Roman people or senate. Designed for use by commanders in the field, the curule chair could be folded for easy transport. It had no back, low arms, curved legs forming an X, and was traditionally made of or veneered with ivory.
RP84096. Bronze AE 25, Macdonald Hunter p. 330, 29 & pl. L, 17; SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Munchen -; SNG Tub -, SNG Leypold -, SNG Turkey -; SNG Hunterian -, RPC -, BMC -, VF, green patina, tight flan, corrosion, weight 12.463 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 30o, Ephesos mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse Antoninus Pius seated left on curule chair, laureate and togate, lituus in right hand; reverse EΦE/ΣIΩN in two lines within laurel wreath closed at the top with an annulet; ex Bankhaus Aufhäuser (18 Nov 1997); very rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Hierapolis, Phrygia, in Homonoia with Ephesos, 244 - 249 A.D.

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The reverse legend arrangement is bizarre and all the Ω's are upside down, appearing as U. Franke-Nolle lists two specimens from these odd dies. All the other examples referenced are the normal type.
RP77246. Bronze AE 23, cf. Franke-Nolle, type IV, 730 (Rs. B/Vs 32); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 261, 179; SNGvA 3662; SNG Cop 474; SNG Munchen 253; SNG Tubingen 4055, VF, well centered, corrosion, weight 5.838 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, time of Philip I, 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse ΛAIP-BHNOC, radiate and draped bust of Apollo Lairbenos right; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TUN K EΦECIUN NEOK/OPUN, clasped hands, OMO-NOVA in the lower field; extremely rare variant; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

Click for a larger photo
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77245. Bronze AE 32, Franke-Nolle, type VII, 743 (Vs. B/ Rs. 39); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Hunterian 1957; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, slightly ragged flan, potentially active corrosion, weight 10.522 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 180o, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AV• KE• - ΠOV ΛIK OYA/ΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis from which two snakes rise; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TΩN - K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, resting each hand on the head of a stag, one stag flanking on each side, NEΩ/KO/PΩ/N in four lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., with Agrippina Junior

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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 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.
GB85248. Bronze assarion, Karwiese MvE 5.2 Claudius & Agrippina O27/R70; RPC I 2624; SNG Cop 373; BMC Ionia p. 73, 205; Weber 2875; SNG München -; SNGvA -, F, dark green patina, weight 6.476 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 49 - 50 A.D.; obverse jugate heads right of Claudius, laureate, and Agrippina, draped; reverse stag standing right, KOYΣI/NIOΣ (Causinius, magistrate) in two lines above, o/T monogram left, ∆ right, EΦE below; $100.00 (€85.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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Ephesus