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Home > Coin Collecting Theme Galleries > The Pantheon - Gods, Goddesses and Personifications

Artemis, (Diana of Ephesus), in her Temple
TI. CLAVD CAES AVG. Claudius bare head, facing left. / DIAN-EPHE Cult statue of Diana (Artemis) of Ephesus inside a tetra style temple, set on three tiered base; pediment decorated by figures flanking three windows.
RIC I 118; RPC I 2222; BMCRE 229; RSC 30; Sear Millennium 1839. Ephesus ca. 41-42 AD.
(25 mm, 11.14 g, 6h)

The statue of Artemis (Diana) at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Depicted on this coin, which was minted shortly after Claudiusí accession to the throne, there remains no trace of the statue, or the temple that housed it, other than some recently stacked column remnants to mark the location. Pliny The Elder described the temple as 115 meters in length, 55 meters in width, made almost entirely of marble; consisting of 127 Ionic style columns 18 meters in height. The original temple, which stood on the site from about 550 BC, was destroyed by arson in 356 BC. It was rebuilt around 330 BC in the form depicted on the coin, only to be destroyed by the Goths in 262 AD. Again rebuilt it was destroyed for the final time by Christians in 401 AD. The columns and marble of the temple were used to construct other buildings. Some of the columns found their way into the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Istanbul).

The site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869 by an expedition sponsored by the British Museum, but little remains to be seen today. A Christian inscription found at Ephesus reads Destroying the delusive image of the demon Artemis, Demeas has erected this symbol of Truth, the God that drives away idols, and the Cross of priests, deathless and victorious sign of Christ. This Christian zeal explains why so little remains of the site despite its repute in the ancient pre-Christian world.

This coin is rare with a few dozen examples known. In contrast to most examples, which show a four tiered temple base, the reverse of this coin shows a three-tiered temple base. The rectangles on the pediment of the temple are frequently identified as tables, or altars. However, it is more likely that these are windows in the pediment to facilitate lighting of the statue in the interior of the temple. The Ionic style of the columns, as described by Pliny, is clearly visible in the reverse image.
File information
Album name:Lloyd T / The Pantheon - Gods, Goddesses and Personifications
Keywords:Claudius Ephesus Diana temple Tetradrachm
File Size:49 KB
Date added:Apr 01, 2012
Dimensions:690 x 336 pixels
Displayed:137 times
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Charles S  [May 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM]
splendid monumental reverse with excellent detail