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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Anatolia| ▸ |Ionia| ▸ |Ephesos||View 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. The image on the right is the beautiful facade of the Celsus library at Ephesos. It was the third largest library in the Roman Empire. The interior of the library and its contents were destroyed in a fire that resulted either from an earthquake or a Gothic invasion in 262 C.E., and the facade by an earthquake in the tenth or eleventh century. It lay in ruins for centuries until the faade was re-erected by archaeologists between 1970 and 1978. Click it to see a larger image.Celsus library

Ephesos, Ionia (or perhaps Bargylia, Caria or Amyntas, King of Galatia), c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Ephesos|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia| |(or| |perhaps| |Bargylia,| |Caria| |or| |Amyntas,| |King| |of| |Galatia),| |c.| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.||trihemiobol|
The type is most often attributed to Ephesos, but the style and denomination/weight do not strongly support any link to that city. NGC tags for the type note the origin may be Bargylia, Caria. The style certainly fits Bargylia better than Ephesos. The consignor of this coin, a professional numismatist, believes it was struck under Amyntas, King of Galatia, 37 - 25 B.C. Amyntas also issued Artemis and stag types.
GS98643. Silver trihemiobol, cf. SNG Davis 270, SNG Cop -, SNG Kayhan -, SNGvA -, BMC Galatia -, aVF, toned, light marks and scratches, weight 1.337 g, maximum diameter 12.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse draped bust of Artemis right, quiver at shoulder; reverse forepart of stag right, head turned back left; extremely rare; $350.00 (353.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |17|NEW
At the beginning of the third century, Ephesus asked to build temples to Caracalla and Geta, brother-emperors and sworn enemies. Both agreed, but on separate temples. Caracalla allowed the honor of his to go to Ephesus' patron goddess Artemis. A new temple was to be built for Geta. Caracalla killed Geta and eradicated any sign of worship for the dead brother.
RP110650. Bronze AE 17, Karwiese MvE 5 465 (O9/R6); BMC Ionia p. 87, 280; SNG Mnchen 167; SNG Cop 424; SNG Leypold 580 , gVF, dark patina, light earthen deposits, weight 2.453 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, as caesar, 196 - 197 A.D.; obverse AYP ANTΩNEINOC, laureate head right; reverse EΦEC-I,ΩN (last two letters in exergue), boar running right, pierced by spear; $140.00 (141.40)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |37|
The reverse is copied from Judaea Capta types struck under the Flavian Dynasty. It may not refer to Judaea on this coin, but in ancient times the date palm was a symbol of Judaea. Date cultivation declined in Judea after the Roman period, especially during the Crusades, and completely collapsed due to climate change around the 14th century. The Judean Date Palm fell extinct. Excavations at Herod the Great's palace on Masada in 1963-1965 uncovered a cache of date palm seeds preserved in an ancient jar. Radiocarbon dating confirmed the seeds were from 155 B.C. to 64 A.D. In 2005, three of the seeds were planted. Eight weeks later one of the seeds sprouted. The palm, a male, named Methuselah, was grown from the oldest known successfully germinated tree seed. After that success, additional palms from were sprouted from the seeds found at Masada. A female, Hannah, was pollinated by Methuselah and the Judean Date Palm has been recovered.
RP110621. Bronze AE 37, Karwiese 5 p. 117, 513; Mionnet III p. 107, 349; BMC Ionia - ; SNG Cop - ; SNGvA -; RPC Online -, aF, well centered on a very large flan, weight 21.089 g, maximum diameter 36.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AVP ANTΩNEINOC, Laureate and cuirassed bust right, medusa on cuirass, paludamentum on left shoulder; reverse EΦECIΩN TPIC NEΩKOPΩN (Ephesos three neokorie), Nike standing right, affixing shield to trunk of palm tree; first specimen of this BIG 36.8 mm type handled by FORVM; rare; $110.00 (111.10)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |26|NEW
Ephesos, on the west coast of Anatolia, was famous for its Temple of Artemis, completed around 550 B.C., one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The usual symbols of this nature-goddess and the city 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 cited in the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John may have been written there.
RP110652. Bronze AE 26, Karwiese MvE 5 1084 (same dies); BMC Ionia p. 107, 386 (same dies?, no plate); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, light earthen deposits, scattered porosity, weight 7.251 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, obverse AVT KΠOΛIKI ΓAΛΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse EΦECIΩN A ACIAC, Artemis standing right, with right hand drawing arrow from quiver on right shoulder, bow in right hand, tree on far side with trunk to left, small hound (or stag?) at feet on right, seated left looking up at Artemis; $110.00 (111.10)


Ephesos, Ionia, 500 - 420 B.C.

|Ephesos|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia,| |500| |-| |420| |B.C.||tetartemorion|
Ephesos, on the west coast of Anatolia, was one of the 12 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 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.
GA110533. Silver tetartemorion, Karwiese series IV, type 2; SNG Kayhan 132; SNG Cop 211; BMC Ionia p. 50, 24, VF, toned, obv. off center, tight flan, weight 0.146 g, maximum diameter 7.3 mm, die axis 90o, Ephesos mint, 500 - 420 B.C.; obverse Bee seen from above, E-Φ flanking bee's head, front legs not visible, rear legs clearly articulated, wide-open slightly curved wings extending beyond border of dots; reverse head of eagle right, EΦ clockwise upper right, all within an incuse square; from the Rod Sell collection; ex Noble 85 (24 July 2007), lot 3376 (part of) ; $100.00 (101.00)


Ephesos, Ionia, 48 - 27 B.C.

|Ephesos|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia,| |48| |-| |27| |B.C.||AE| |24|
As the goddess of the hung, Artemis' most distinctive attributes were her bow, arrows and quiver, hounds and stags, but she was also called the torch-bearing goddess. Artemis was honored at Amphipolis with torch-races called Lampadephoria.
GB110655. Bronze AE 24, SNGvA 1870; SNG Cop 339 var. (M above); BMC Ionia p. 69, 179 var. (A above); SNG Tbingen 2800 var. (same), aF, green patina, scratches, earthen deposits, weight 7.088 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, 48 - 27 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver on shoulder behind; reverse forepart of stag right, looking back left, flaming long torch behind, Θ above, E-Φ flanking stag's neck, ∆HMTPIOC (magistrate) below; $45.00 (45.45)







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