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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.


Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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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; $2700.00 (€2295.00)
 


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.
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; $1150.00 (€977.50)
 


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; $720.00 (€612.00)
 


Ephesos(?), Ionia, c. 245 - 202 B.C.

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Unpublished but there are seven examples, including this coin, on Coin Archives. The attribution to Ephesus and the date are less than certain. Lacking a legend, this rare issue has been attributed to Ephesos, likely because similar Artemis and stag types are typical of Ephesos. We feel this coin is from the most attractive die pair of all the examples on Coin Archives.
GS85902. Silver obol, SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Kayhan -; SNG Mun -; Klein -; BMC Ionia -; cf. CNG 161, lot 64 and Mail Bid Sale 75, lot 374, VF, attractive style, well centered, toned, lightly etched surfaces, weight 0.390 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos(?) mint, c. 245 - 202 B.C.; obverse bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder; reverse forepart of stag left, head reverted; ex Savoca Numismatik, auction 14 (23 Apr 2017), lot 190; very rare; $230.00 (€195.50)
 


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; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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.
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, Phrygia, 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; $195.00 SALE PRICE $176.00 ON RESERVE


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, Phrygia, 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; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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.
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, Phrygia, 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; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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, Phrygia, 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; $90.00 (€76.50)
 







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Thursday, December 13, 2018.
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Ephesus