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IONIA, Ephesus. Hadrian. AD 117-138. AR Cistophorus (27mm, 10.37 g, 12h). Struck after 129 AD. HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right / DIA-NA across field, EPHESIA in exergue, cult statue of Diana of Ephesus within ornate tetrastyle temple set on three-tiered base; pediment decorated with figures flanking a central table with disk above, two recumbent figures in angles; decorated acrostolium. Metcalf, Cistophori 8 var. (O29/R-; unlisted reverse die); RPC III 1332 var. (rev. pediment); Pinder 70; RIC 475a. Old cabinet tone with golden iridescence around devices. Good VF. Very rare variety.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 87 (8 October 2015), lot 242; Gorny & Mosch 133 (11 October 2004), lot 317; Triton VII (12 January 2004), lot 964; Gorny & Mosch 112 (17 October 2001), lot 4210.

Diana is the Roman version of the Greek goddess Artemis; she is normally depicted as a young huntress, dressed in a short chiton, carrying a bow and quiver of arrows, and accompanied by her hunting hounds. A distinct form of Artemis / Diana was worshipped in Ephesus, where an immense temple complex, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was devoted to the goddess. The famous cult statue housed in the temple was distinctly Anatolian (i.e., non-Greek) in form: mummiform in shape and covered with a multitude of breasts that signify the original association of the goddess with fecundity. With the arrival of the Greeks, the popular tales of Artemis were transferred to this mysterious Ephesian goddess. Hadrian visited Ephesus during his imperial tour of AD 128-134, arriving at the city in March of AD 129, where he is sure to have made a pilgrimage to the great temple and gazed upon the statue.