Ephesos Diobol 387 - 295 BC

Obv: Bee with straight wings. Rev: Letter E F (in Greek)above forefront of two stags facing. Metal: Silver 1 grams, 10 mm diameter. Condition: F.

History of Ancient Ephesos

The oldest legend of Ephesos is that a temple to the mother goddess was first established here by the Amazons (about 2000 BC). When Croesus, the king of Lydia, invaded the area there was a temple to the mother goddess or goddess of abundance here with a great wooden statue. The temple was ruined during the invasion. The unnamed mother goddess or goddess of abundance was identified as Artemis and Croesus had a great stone temple built for her. In 356 BC, the day Alexander III was born in Pella, a madman named "Herostratus" burned the temple down in order to become famous. When questioned, he asked "Why couldn't your goddess protect her temple from destruction by fire". The reply "because our goddess has gone to Pella to be present at the birth of the Great Alexander" - Alexander was not yet known as the "Great" at this time. The temple (one of the 7 wonders of the world) was rebuilt by the most famous architects of the time. The temple was rebuilt to the original size (425 feet long by 220 feet wide by 60 feet high) with 120 columns. The statue of Artemis, ornamented with gold and brilliant marble, used to blaze in the night. In 334 BC, when Alexander came to Ephesos he gave a parade with great pomp dedicated to Artemis and the temple and offered to pay all expenses of Artemis. The proud citizens of Ephesos did not want to lose control of their temple and cleverly replied "it would not benefit a deity like you to build a temple to another deity". When St. Paul came to the city and stated that idols made by man could not be gods, the artisans (souvenir sellers) of Artemis created such an outraged crowd that St. Paul was compelled to leave the city. The temple was sacked by the Goths in 263 AD. By this time, Christianity had a strong hold on the city and the temple was never rebuilt. In the 6th century AD, the remaining columns were sent to Constantinople with many being used in the construction of St. Sophia.